05-04-2019, 03:47 AM
Hello! I briefly worked as a game tester for PoleToWin and Namco-Bandai a while back and thought I'd share my short experiences working for these two companies. I hope this doesn't come off as frivolous, as I'd imagine there are a lot of testers who have shared stories like these. I'm not a developer and had no real influence on any end product minus a small amount of QA and spelling/grammar checking, so I have nothing interesting or juicy to tell. Also I signed NDAs for this stuff so I'm going to impart less of the specifics and more of the basic feeling of what I got out game testing. I hope I can keep this all vague and general enough to not break any NDAs, but if I do just let me know and I'll remove the offending material immediately. Everything published here is done so with the explicit intent to share the general experience of the story.

About midway through 2012 I was living in San Jose, CA for college and on a whim decided to answer a few craigslist ads looking for game testers. One of the emails worked out and I was hired at Pole To Win America a little later in the year. I remember their offices pretty well; a 15-20 minute light rail trip from downtown San Jose to an antiquated 70s/80s office park (lots of these in San Jose). The office felt a little cramped and small-ish in places, with about maybe a dozen or more desks for testers to sit at and various smaller offices spun off from the main bullpen. I remember starting off doing very basic QA and script checking for some cheap-looking facebook RPG game, and mostly dealing with titles so finished or QAd that often I'd have little or nothing to report.

Eventually I moved onto Crimson Shroud for the 3DS, doing pre-release QA on what I assume was the final game. The only notable change I remember suggesting was changing the word "staffs" to "staves", which I felt to be slightly more appropriate for the fantasy setting, but I doubt this was implemented so close to release. I hope that's benign enough to not cross into NDA-breaking territory. After Crimson Shroud I remember doing QA for a few Android-based dating sims for the female market. A few grammar suggestions there but not much to mention.

After a short while with the dating sims, I was transferred to Namco-Bandai Entertainment America, which was also conveniently a 10 minute light rail trip away. This time I was getting dropped off on the opposite side of a newer industrial park with large, tall office complexes and broad parking lots, the latter of which took a good 5 minutes to cross. We'd usually all enter through the front corporate lobby of one of the larger complexes there, with the building bearing the Namco-Bandai logo (they were the largest tenant, not the only tenant), and after an elevator ride higher into the building we'd arrive at Namco-Bandai. The offices were bright and open, with spacious windows and about what you'd expect from Namco-Bandai's offices; lots of posters and promotional material decorating cubicles, cardboard standups from some Bandai-Namco games, and lots of Pac Man. It was a wonderful atmosphere. Unfortunately I did QA for one and only one game while there: Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for the 360. At this time the game had already been released and we were testing the DLC and extra content/etc. And by testing I again mean working on a virtually complete game with little to report outside of maybe a few situations that would slightly drop some frames. Doing QA for fighting games was not fun.

My strongest memory from Namco-Bandai was probably sitting on the loading dock during breaks. It was a pretty and clean loading dock, next to the parking garage and surrounded by heavy swathes of office park greenery. Everyone smoked cigarettes on their breaks so I eventually started smoking again too. A dumb decision in hindsight but it gave me some good memories.

And that's pretty much it. The patches or DLC or whatever got released and that was the end of my contract. I spoke with my recruiter (who initially got me hired at Pole To Win) and was told they might be transferring some of the people that got moved to Namco-Bandai back to Pole To Win, but nothing ever came of it and a few of us (myself included) were never transferred back. Oh well. I probably wasn't that good at QA either ;)

Sorry there's nothing new there. I really don't have anything else to share, maybe minus... I still kept my internal memo from GameStop instructing employees on how to deal with Battletoads callers, if no one's uploaded that. Thanks for reading!