I've seen a job offer as game tester. Does this offer look good?

So this game offer is as game tester for Nintendo in Germany.

But it’s not Nintendo who’s hiring. Instead, you work for a personnel agency with a permanent contract.

This is the job description, taken from the agency’s website:

These job conditions are fixed, there will be no exceptions.[ul]
[li]40 working hours per week (Monday to Friday, 8 hours each day)[/li][li]Shift work could be possible[/li][li]Wage: € 1.200 net (after taxes) per month[/li][li]Overtime hours will be paid[/li][li]Health and social insurance guaranteed (inclusive)[/li][li]Permanent contract with alpha, not Nintendo[/li][li]Holiday privilege (24 days per full working year, 2 days a month given - regulated by the German working law system)[/li][li]Holidays can be taken in accordance with Nintendo and alpha[/li][li]No holiday privileges during project periods[/ul]As for any other job you need to have some skills, that are:[ul][/li][li]Good knowledge in English (spoken & written) - Please note: English is the company language[/li][li]One of the following languages needs to be your mother tongue: Spanish, UK-English, Italian, French, German or Dutch[/li][li]Very good experience in playing computer games of every genre[/li][li]Having fun playing videogames[/li][li]Readiness to work in an international environment[/li][li]Age: over 18 years (younger people are not allowed to work in accordance to the German law system)[/li][li]Readiness to work and live in Germany over a period of months/years - Please note: Working from home is not possible! There will not be any exceptions![/li][li]Valid passport[/ul]First of all, we need your application. By clicking on “your application” you can submit your application. [/li]We need the following documents:[ul]
[li]CV in your mother tongue (Spanish, Italian, German, French, Dutch or UK-English)[/li][li]CV in English[/li][li]A completely filled personal data sheet (see in upload area)[/ul]Please note: Only complete applications will be regarded![/li]We will check your documents and we are going to call you a few days later for an interview by phone. There you have the chance to ask all the questions you may still have.
Afterwards you will receive an e-mail with 2 test sheets attached: one in your mother tongue and one in English. You will have to send those back via e-mail.
Please do not use any aids or ask for advice from someone else to fill the test - be honest with yourself, as there will be a second test on the same level here in Germany.
If you pass the test, you will be invited for an interview here at our office as well as at Nintendo‘s office. Both interviews will take place on the same day.
Coming to Germany:
We will meet here at our office (if you come by train/plane, you will be picked up at the station/airport for free). There will be a short interview at our office before you will be visiting Nintendo with us. Only if you pass this second test in your mother tongue, you will be interviewed by Nintendo.
Our company will receive the test results within one week and we will tell you as soon as possible if you get the job as a videogame tester.

Does this sound alright? Is there a huge disadvantage in not working directly for Nintendo? The hiring process seems a bit like a PITA…

On the application form they ask three questions to which I’m unsure what the best answers would be:

-Why do you want to work as a videogametester? : I’ve heard that at some companies the wrongest answer is “because I love games”. Is this true? Because that’s basically the reason… Or what’s a good answer?

-How many games have you ever played? (first to last level) : I must have played hundreds of games, but finished maybe only a dozen or so. Should I say a couple dozen, or more like “100 plus”?

-How many hours/week do you usually spend with playing games? : I’d say 15-20 hours/week is the time I do spend. Is that too low for a tester? Should I answer 20-25, or maybe even 50?

Also, googling for “become game tester” there are a lot of links to articles by some Sean Saunders who claims to be a pro tester (and wants to sell you info or a book on how to become one yourself). This guy says it’s a good idea to mention things like “I read a lot of game forums”, “I always read gaming related sites” and stuff like this when putting together your cv. Is that a bunch of BS or is that actually something to put on a resume’s letter?

On the other hand, I’m invited for a job interview on monday, as a passenger check in agent at the Frankfurt airport. That’s probably a lot more stress and headaches, but on the bright side, I guess that job pays a bit better, I dunno. Not sure what do to if on monday the passenger handling company says “we want you”. Because on one hand I think I’d prefer the tester job, but on the other hand I’m afraid to ask for a week of thinking time, because that might piss them off, and I wouldn’t want to lose a bad “yes” for a good “maybe”. Hmmm…

Yeah that’s definitely the wrong answer. I think the job is more akin to something a beta tester would do… go through functions of the game in a certain way, map out exactly what was done when things worked, map out what was done when things didn’t work, try to reproduce the bugs that caused things not to work, and document everything in detail. I’d say the process is akin to organization and patience. Loving games has little to do with it.

How many games have you ever played? (first to last level) : I must have played hundreds of games, but finished maybe only a dozen or so. Should I say a couple dozen, or more like “100 plus”?

I’d probably just lie and say 100+

How many hours/week do you usually spend with playing games? : I’d say 15-20 hours/week is the time I do spend. Is that too low for a tester? Should I answer 20-25, or maybe even 50?

20 hours a week is like 3 hours a day. I’d probably say 25-30.

I don’t see how it’d hurt to mention your general gaming interests through forums and online gaming sites and things of that nature.

Err, the question was how many games have you played, not how many games you have finished. 100+ wouldn’t be a lie =) I don’t think they really care that you didn’t manage to beat ganon on that last zelda game.

Yeah that’s definitely the wrong answer. I think the job is more akin to something a beta tester would do… go through functions of the game in a certain way, map out exactly what was done when things worked, map out what was done when things didn’t work, try to reproduce the bugs that caused things not to work, and document everything in detail. I’d say the process is akin to organization and patience. Loving games has little to do with it.

Hmmm, that’s probably a very good description of what a game tester does. Now I have to package the statement that this appeals to me into a one-line answer. Hmmm, task one of the job!

I agree with your other tips. 25-30 hours/week sounds like a good balance of having a life and enjoying games, and finishing 100+ games certainly sounds reasonable. Hopefully, I won’t have to describe the last level or outro of those games. I’ll have to pull a “oh, crap, Alzheimer!” if I’m asked to do that.

They did ask for games played first to last level. That would be a small list in my case, but I guess a good dose of exaggeration won’t do any harm ;)

Doing the math on that salary, I would ask about prospects for advancement. Oftentimes QA testers look to move to design; being outsourced that would likely not be possible.

It might. The people in there surely know games. They might ask you some questions about the end of a game you claim to have completed.

The original question tells them something about your perseverance and patience. Both are needed in spades in testing.

For an another question, saying you want to participate in the making of games and want to make games have better quality and thus be a better experience for the player might be a good answer, but only if you mean it. Don’t say it if you don’t really feel it, it shows.

No, that is true, but at least it would be a first foot in the door. From there on, who knows?

Yes, that would really be embarrassing. I might cheat by reading a few dozen plot summaries on wikipedia, I guess…

The original question tells them something about your perseverance and patience. Both are needed in spades in testing.

I would have to work on that. But of course I’d approach a job in a different way than my free time.

For an another question, saying you want to participate in the making of games and want to make games have better quality and thus be a better experience for the player might be a good answer, but only if you mean it. Don’t say it if you don’t really feel it, it shows.

This I could say and it would be honest, yes. I’ll work that into the motivation answer.

I wouldn’t say that answer is wrong, they do even list “Having fun playing videogames” in their “skills” section. Just don’t make that your COMPLETE answer. It should be more something like, I love games and I’ve always been fascinated by the process in which they are made and blah blah blah, perhaps highlighting how you’ve always enjoyed attempting to break game systems just to see how they react (which many people who aren’t pro game testers do enjoy). You might want to work in how you enjoy playing favorite games over and over and over and over and over trying new things, since that’s what you’ll be doing (with the exception that the games probably won’t be your favorites and they’ll be in shitty unplayable states by released game standards, of course).

Why do you want to work as a videogametester?

Because you love challenges, are determined to get your foot in the door in the videogames industry, and want to help make their games even better.

Auto-admit.

Thank you, CCC, that sounds really good. I hadn’t even thought of the “breaking the game” aspect, which I actually do enjoy!

Because you love challenges, are determined to get your foot in the door in the videogames industry, and want to help make their games even better.

Auto-admit.

I like that!

How detail-oriented are you? How good are you at not just breaking a game, but explaining in text exactly what you did to break it? Do you have the patience to do it 10 times in a row to make sure all your steps are necessary and see how often it breaks that way? Can you keep your cool if your bug comes back with a tirade from a developer who is having a bad week? How willing are you to dig in to the base cause of a bug or do you just want to ship off a superficial report the first time you notice something? Do you have obligations outside your job that could prevent you from doing long hours at the drop of a hat?

A few considerations to make. Whether or not you like games is pretty immaterial to the job itself. When I think about the best testers I’ve worked with, and the traits I worked on myself in order to excel at my job, I thought about attention to detail, communication, diplomacy, and ability to hold my ground.

I don’t see why they care how many games you finished. You weren’t testing those games so it’s a totally different context - I.E. you were playing for enjoyment.

They probably think they can see how “hard core” I am that way.

One other thing I noted is that on the application form on their web, they ask for the date of birth, which is illegal in the EU.

Angie, thanks for your thoughts. I really appreciate them.

What Angie said.

Many years ago I did testing for a few companies, in particular on some Gary Grigsby SSI wargames and some David Landry stuff, amongst others. David formed a company that did testing for SSI and some other companies, and he and I used to chat a lot. (For you youngsters, David was an outstanding wargame designer.) He told me that he got a lot of people who wanted to be testers, thinking it would be cool playing games and getting paid for it, and 80% quit because the job is getting an unfinished piece of code, testing it in every way possible, finding bugs, reproducing them and documenting it well, etc. In fact, for many of the games for which I was a tester, the game was pretty much ruined for me by the time we got done testing it and it was released. I was just sick of it, plus I’d seen so much of how the sausage was made.

That said: you probably want to differentiate yourself from all the applicants who think playing games and getting paid for it is cool. They’ll be overwhelmed with kids telling them they play 10 games a week, play 16 hours a day, etc. Differentiate yourself by being more about the profession: tell them you are fascinated by the process of game design, you are turned on by tearing a game apart in a systematic manner, you want to be able to help game designers produce more robust products by digging into the functions of the game in meticulous detail, etc.

Wage: € 1.200 net (after taxes) per month

Can you afford to live on that? Also, game testing is a good way to grow to dislike gaming. You start seeing games as a series of formulas, systems, and processes, rather than as games. It’s sort of like having a magic trick explained to you.

Very true. It generally takes me about a year of not working on a game of a genre to be able to enjoy any games in that genre again.