Aaron is here not as a representative of his employer but as an individual who loves games, fought his way into the video games industry and today is an Associate Producer, working on some of the best known games out there.
Careers Out There Host Marc Luber: Our guest today is Aaron Roseman, and he’s a video game producer with one of the top video game developers in the world. Aaron, welcome to Careers Out There.
Video Game Producer Aaron Roseman: Marc thanks for having me on your show.
Careers Out There Host Marc Luber: Absolutely. Thanks for being here. Let’s get to what I think so many people want to know – which is how do you break in?
Careers Out There Host Marc Luber: Let’s get to what I think so many people want to know – which is how do you break in?
Video Game Producer Aaron Roseman: I’d say the best way to do it is to apply for a job as a video game tester.
Luber: As a tester!
Aaron: Start in QA and work your way up from there.
Luber: QA is quality assurance?
Aaron: Yes, QA stands for quality assurance and that’s essentially a video game tester. The greatest job on the planet guys – and girls!
Luber: So you sit and play and complain about what’s not working right essentially?
Aaron: I wouldn’t say complain. You find bugs in a game. There’s a million games out there people – there’s so many games – and there are testers for everything. If you’re gonna become a tester, don’t always think that you’re gonna become the tester on the world’s coolest game and you’re gonna get on Halo and be on that team playing multiplayer all day. Yes, you do that and you play a lot of multiplayer but as a tester there’s a lot of bug writing – a lot of form filling – a lot of late hours and a lot of sitting in front of a TV not moving and playing the same game for several months on end – it’s not 1, 2, 3, 4. It’s like 5, 6, 7 months, depending on the project and what you’re doing. It can be a really tedious job at times but it is probably the best way to get in to the industry.
Luber: And what does someone have to do to get that job? Can they be anybody? Do they have to have worked in the video game world in some way?
Aaron: Great question Marc! In my experience anybody can be a tester. Just have a resume, have basic computer knowledge, shower – showering is a plus – that’s always a plus in QA – you’ve gotta know how to play videogames. You’ve gotta know how to play games. It’s their job to break the game, crash the game, see what sort of weird graphical issues they can occur, making sure that the lighting looks well, the characters don’t run into walls, the game doesn’t crash, that everything sounds well. It’s kind of like a movie production, Marc. You’ve got your lights, your camera, gotta make sure the camera works, gotta make sure the lights work. The controls are responsive. And it’s QA’s job to look out for all these things. They’re hired because they’re supposed to be the best of the best game players.
Luber: And so then someone does that and then they prove themselves by taking the job seriously, then they can move up?
Aaron: Exactly. But it’s not just that – it’s – a QA is kind of like a make-or-break position as well. The truth is it’s a really serious position and from production, personally, I expect the best out of my testers but if you stick to it and show a real dedication to just like loving games, you know, good things – good things can happen – just be enthusiastic, be happy about it, don’t be a giant kiss-ass.
Luber: If getting into QA is the key thing and people want to break in, how can they get in to QA in the first place/ What’s the best way for someone whether they’re sitting in Iowa or Nebraska right now or they already live in NY, or LA or Austin, TX. What can they do to do that role?
Aaron: Oh man. A lot – you could do – to do that role essentially – to get into QA – have a resume and go to a publisher or developer’s website and see if they have positions open. That’s what I did. I went for interviews and I totally bombed the interviews and I never got those jobs in QA and I was so upset. I was so disappointed. But I just kept persisting. Don’t give up – and even if you can’t get in as a tester, my best advice is just somehow try and stay involved in the games industry. My knowledge was then expanded when I worked at a game shop. Like at this mom and pop store – the Games for Less. I’d get paid to sell games and play games.
Luber: So would you recommend to a kid in high school right now who’s a big gamer but not quite probably able to get that QA job, he or she should start in a store?
Aaron: I definitely recommend starting in a store – if there’s a store that’s hiring, get a job there – the people who work in a store are always a colorful cast of characters – it’s always so much fun. I recommend if you can do it go to the mom and pop store – because usually they don’t sell just the new games they sell games from all generations and if you’re in a store like that you have the opportunity to play – like I said – everything. The other thing that I did – when I was younger – when I was like 12, 13, 14- what I would do is I’d go to different software developers whether it was Microsoft or some small game studio and then I’d literally just look for an email address or see if they had any type of beta center or some sort of testing. In the case of the game studios, I actually got a couple of betas for these cool games that never saw the light of day. You just email somebody there and be like, “hey I’m really interested – I saw your website – I saw this small game you’re working on – if you need somebody to help test It, I’m your man – I’ll help you write these bugs – I’d love to do this.” Just try and get your hand in there or your foot in there anyway you can – just get experience.
(C) 2010 Careers Out There