My Experiences: EA Sports Tester

easports

It was early 2004, I had just finished graduate school at UCF and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  Typical.  My savings was starting to dry up and I needed money fast.  I went around filling out job applications.  I actually got hired at Lowe’s first off.  I was sent to push shopping carts on the second day instead of going through the typical orientation session.  By the third day I was left alone in the lumber section all by myself.  I quit that afternoon.  Days later while wallowing in shame and fear, I saw an advertisement on careerbuilder.com for a video game tester.  I knew that was something I could do.  When I found out it was for EA Sports Tiburon I got excited.  I filled out the application and days later I got a call from one of their screeners who gave me the phone interview.  This consisted of some basic experience questions, and some sports specific questions like:

What is the difference between overtime in college football and the NFL?”

Name the major BCS bowls

Name as many NASCAR drivers and their sponsors as you can

I was able to pass that pretty easily so I was invited in for another interview at their office.  Here I had to answer a ten page multiple choice test where we shown pictures of controllers and match them to their consoles.  It was video game and sports stuff.  I did good there too so then we were given a console and told to follow a procedure where we would get a video game to crash.  Then a panel interview where I chatted with three people.  I remember being asked if I could remember what the interviewers names were and I only could remember the chick’s name.  Again, typical.  I was told I had the job and I had to come in Monday morning for a week of training which consisted of learning the bug database and learning from the previous year’s titles.  At the end of the week we got our assignments and I was on the NCAA team for PS2.  We all felt sorry for the guy who was given Madden for Game Boy Advance.

The work started out good.  We worked 10AM-630pm, there was a fridge and a soda machine there.  In the break room there were arcade cabinet machines such as Q-Bert, Mortal Kombat 2, and Golden Tee.  We had some good competitions there.  Soon our days went from 10am to 10pm.  Beta got closer and we split into different shifts.  Some worked 10am to midnight, some worked 12pm to 2am.  It was a grind.  No days off, not when you are putting out one of the best selling video games of the year.  The people at the 7-11 store got to know us rather well for coffee and energy drinks.

It was an interesting job.  There were barely any women around.  For a group of guys who barely got to see women outside the office, work life brought out the caveman in everyone.  Think of that boobs episode of South Park if it helps.  Also, I found that the people in charge took what they did waaaay to seriously.  They’d pump us up as if we were on the mission to kill Bin Laden.  And they were the kind of bosses who used the old “We work hard but we play hard” catchphrase.  I always thought anybody who used that should be locked in a closet with bees.  There was a divide too among the full time programmers and staff and the seasonal Quality Assurance testers like me.  The “people upstairs” got better snack machines, benefits, and we got to read some messages which revealed that they pretty much thought we were peons.   But we weren’t, at least not all of us.  We had lawyers, cops, college graduates, parents, all guys just trying to make a living and pay the bills.  I know they had their struggles too.  There was a controversy awhile back about the wife of an EA Employee there who didn’t like the long hours and lack of overtime her husband had to deal with.  Google “EASpouse” and you’ll see the story.

Eventually I moved on but every year I would check the credits of all the football games and see who was still there from my day.  Some testers actually got promoted to game producer.  That was something good about the job, if you showed dedication, you were rewarded.  I often wonder where I would have gone had I stayed there.  I surely would have made a better Superman Returns game, that’s for sure.

My Favourite Games – Part 4

Wow, these things take longer to write than I thought they would. And to think I was going to post all thirty in one go for my first post! I’m glad I decided to write just five a day (yes I know it hasn’t been every day!), hope you’re enjoying them (if anyone’s even reading this!)…

Galaga ’88 – PC Engine (1987)

Galaga 88 - PC Engine

I’ve always preferred this series of shooters to other games of the type such as Space Invaders. There are countless versions of Galaxians/Galaga/Gaplus, but few could argue that this PC Engine update isn’t the best. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say this is the Engine game I’ve spent most time playing ever! The fact that my good friend, Luke, gave me the HuCard for free certainly didn’t help matters – it’s addictive as hell! The graphics are hardly pushing the Engine hardware to its limits, but they are very appealing nonetheless. The sprites are well-defined and colourful, and there are now nice backgrounds too. The Challenging Stages from the original Galaga return here, beginning with an announcement of “That’s Galactic Dancin'”, and accompanied by some nice music! Anyway, nice presentation aside, it’s Galaga, you know what you’re getting. Simple, addictive fun. Right up my street!

Pang 3 – Playstation (1997)

Pang 3 – Playstation

I still find it pretty amazing that the Pang games weren’t more popular here in the UK. This third offering, released here on the PS1 as part of the Super Pang Collection, is my favourite of the series. The same basic gameplay is prevalent – that is, destroy the bouncing balloons by shooting them with a harpoon gun, splitting them into ever smaller pairs until they’re gone – but this time they’ve managed to tack on a story mode! You can choose between four characters – Don Tacos, Pink Leopard (my favourite), Captain Hog, and Sheila the Thief, each of whom fires a different type of harpoon, and also has an additional skill. Pink Leopard, for example, is able to go unhindered by the various enemies on each stage. It is then your job to journey around the world collecting various works of art by popping balloons! It’s a crazy game but it’s addictive and great fun!

LocoRoco – PSP (2006)

LocoRoco – PSP

I knew from the first moment I saw a screenshot of LocoRoco that I wanted to play it! I had no idea what sort of game it was, of course, but that didn’t matter. Just look at it! It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I finally got a PSP, having convinced a guy at work that his one wasn’t really worth much and I’d help him out by taking it off his hands! Hee hee! Anyway, the next thing I did was to trade in all the EA Sports crap that came with it, for LocoRoco. Finally it was mine! It was worth the wait too, what a crazy game! It’s basically just a collect ’em up set in the happiest, most colourful game world of all-time, but instead of controlling any characters, you simply tilt the landscape back or forth, rolling the spherical, singing LocoRoco’s around. It’s great fun, features some very imaginitive levels, including more secrets than I can count, and a highly amusing soundtrack is the cherry on the cake! If you want to play a funny, happy game for a change, instead of all the violent nonsense around these days, give it a try!

Tee Off – Dreamcast (2000)

Tee Off – Dreamcast

Yep, it’s another golf game! I do really enjoy these Japanese cartoony style ones, and this is one of my favourites. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find them very relaxing and enjoyable, and perfect for the times when I don’t feel like dodging millions of bullets or making pixel-perfect jumps whilst fighting some evil monster. This one, by Bottom Up, is clearly based on Everybody’s Golf for the Playstation, but that’s no bad thing, and features five courses of varying difficulty – Japan, USA, Australia, Scotland, and South Africa. Each course has it’s own look too, and there are several characters to choose from, and various game modes to play through. Granted, there’s nothing terribly spectacular about this game but it suits me down to the ground!

Desert Strike – Mega Drive (1992)

Released a short while after the first Gulf War, it doesn’t take a genius to see where the inspiration for Desert Strike arose! However, regardless of its dubious genesis, surely even those most critical of its origins couldn’t fail to be impressed by such a splendid game! Far from being an all-out shooter, Desert Strike is a free-roaming isometric-viewed game with more than a smattering of strategy tucked into it’s rapid-fire cannons. Controlling a shiny new Apache Gunship chopper, you must complete a set number of missions per level. Some serve military ends, some political, but all must be completed before you have an opportunity to shove a Hellfire missile up “The Madman’s” bunghole (clearly based on Saddam). The sequels added a lot to the formula, not least more vehicles to control, but it’s this first game in the ‘Strike’ series that most gamers, myself included, still hold most dear.

That’s it for now! RKS is tired and will have some dinner before retiring for a while. Next five will be here soon, as well as the first in my ‘Top Five’ series that I’ve been ‘researching’ today… 😉

Games Coming out for Consoles: Oct 17th 2010

people buying nintendo wii
people buying nintendo wii

As you get ready for all the Halloween parties and Saw 13 you might want to set aside some money for console games. Sure, you could buy winter clothes or get that root canal you’ve needed for some time, but that won’t add to your collection of games now will it. It doesn’t matter if you have a Playstation 3, X-Box 360 or that awful Wii there is something for everyone this week.

Fallout: New Vegas


What goes better with nuclear waste than a $2.99 steak buffet. Fallout New Vegas features the Fallout 3 engine and was developed with members of the Fallout 1 and 2 team. It’s time to shine up your Pip-boy and load your weapons for some post-apocalyptic mutant hunting.

We got to see this in action at E3 and it looks really good. The art direction and style of Old Vegas mixed in with the lore of Fallout. You know the story and side quests are going to be fun and when you blast a mutant from miles away with the hunters riffle you will feel right at home.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2


Now if you haven’t heard of Naruto it started as a Manga character from the Shonen Jump magazine. From there it ventured out into Anime and video games and more. Naruto follows the story of a boy ninja who was ostracized as a kid and because of that acted out and got into lots of trouble, but in time he became a great ninja, or and he has a demon sealed inside of him.

Many of the previous games followed the story from the Anime with extra missions and side quests thrown in. In Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 the story picks up at the beginning of the Shippuden run with Naruto returning to the village about three years older after training with his master. From there he takes on new missions with his team and reconnects with friends from the village,

We played this game at E3 and it was really fun and looked just like the Anime. The fighting styles are great and you can pull off a ton of special moves that look awesome. In addition to the mission levels you can fight against each other in versus matches and there are over 42 characters to choose from. Honestly even if you aren’t into Naruto specifically, if you like a good story adventure game with great fighting mixed in then this is worth a look.

 

 

EA Sports MMA


Forget the WWE it’s all about MMA now and that means real fights, real blood and that EA will make a game for it. Mixed Marital arts is big and this game showcases some of the best fighters in MMA.

The game looks real good and it has a cool career feature where you can customize you fighter from his looks to his gear. From there you have starting skill points but must train in them all to be the best. Over time by winning fights you earn money to improve your training as well as gear and then move up to be fights from all around the world.

It has a ton of names from the world of MMA and a well-designed and fun to play versus system. Hey, if you bought Fight Night might as well give this a try too.

Next Time

There are a few more games coming out next week, but if I had the time and the cash I would pick these up. Next week the wallet onslaught continues with a new list of upcoming games worth buying. Until then claim your weeks and start taking under the table jobs.