This 1996 Sega Test training video highlights the not-so-glamorous side of game testing

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,593   +124
Staff member

In the mid-90s, Nintendo, Sega and Sony were locked in a heated battle for video game supremacy – at least, in North America. This was well before the Internet enabled public beta testing which meant game developers and publishers like Sega had to do all of their own testing.

Getting paid to play video games for a living in the mid-90s sounds like a dream job for many, but as this Sega Test “trainumentary” highlights, it’s not quite as glamorous as you’d think. Don’t believe me? How do 100-hour, caffeine-fueled work weeks sound?

This 30-minute nostalgic gem has it all – ‘90s hair, rad clothing, food trucks, smoke breaks and a sweet soundtrack (thanks, Pearl Jam). If you long for yesteryear, you’ll no doubt love it… unless of course, you were a Nintendo gameplay counselor.

Found is a TechSpot feature where we share clever, funny or otherwise interesting stuff from around the web.

Permalink to story.



Posts: 323   +100
Sounds no worse than any other job with the same hours where you look at the screen - at least you don't have some **** in a suit screaming for his powerpoint <insert bane of your job here> etc

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,483   +5,990
I did testing for Microsoft for awhile many, many, many years ago. At that time it was rigorous and every bit a full time job and, not surprisingly, most of our first releases were very good. The occasional bug, but rarely anything more than an annoyance. Now days .... well, it certainly makes me appreciate "the good old days" a lot more!


Posts: 2,060   +851
Game testing? Who does game testing?
I tested a game for EA a number of years ago over the course of the summer and it was a pretty terrible job, you get told to look for specific things they usually already know to be issues, your told to ignore a lot of things because it takes too much time to fix, they already knew the games was pretty broken and knew the multiplayer side was never really going to be anything. Technically I worked for another company that managed all of EA's testers so when EA didn't like your opinions they could just send you back and get another tester, which is what happened to me after submitting too many bugs that they couldn't fix. The room we worked in had a lack of AC, was packed full of people running multiple developer consoles, Xbox 360 and fatty PS3s, plus a computer to record everything that was going on. The hours were not as bad as they appear to have been in the 90s but by the end of the day you wanted to go home and get some air pretty badly.

This was almost 10 years ago now however and it would really seem games now don't even have this level of testing but they probably still do, just more major issues, and a lot of smaller things will fall through the cracks. If games had zero testing they would be unplayable at launch, from when I started to when they gave me the boot the game went through nearly daily builds, even multiple times in a day to implement fixes for game breaking issues at times, it's just today they rely too heavily on the community to do the final stages of testing generally because they have deadlines to meet to appease the stock holders sadly enough and can't risk delaying the game. But also because EA.

Comparing this to a real desk job that required you to more or less spend the whole day looking at a screen I would never go back to testing, out of all the jobs I've had it was easily one of the worst, perhaps in other testing environments where they actually give a crap about the game and not the potential profit margins it would be different, but I'm too old to give it another try. The lead testers looked terrible for their age, EA had sucked their souls dry and likely these pour bastards will never be able to work anywhere else other then stay in the industry.