UP ALL NIGHT: Being a Sega Game Tester Sounds like the Worst Job Ever!
Being a Sega Game Tester Sounds like the Worst Job Ever!
Originally posted on Retro Game Dad in June 2016
A few weeks ago, SegaScream uploaded a 1996 internal Sega training video introducing new employees to the job of Video Game Tester and it made the rounds on several gaming/tech websites. While it is fun to admire the overwhelming 90sness of the video, I think it does something even more interesting; it shits all over the job you just got hired to do!
While I've seen some argue that it is just being honest about how awful that job is, and while that is true, you've never seen a job training video tell you "You are about to hate this phase of your life" in so many ways.
Time to list some of the wonderful/awful things in this video.
Reprehensible work schedule!
"14 hour days." "80-90 hours a week.""The past 24 hours." "I can be here 90 hours a week. 100 sometimes." One employee says he played 188 hours of Eternal Champions in a two week period after daily shifts lasting from noon to 3 AM. He said this job takes a toll on both your body and your social life.
"Congratulations on your new job! Are you excited about having no work-life balance and working the most miserable hours in the country? Welcome to the Sega of America family!
You will hate some of our products!
One of Sega's many products at the time was the Pico, a computer designed for children in the pre-K to early elementary age. When one employee is asked what is "tedious" about the job, he says that playing Pico games falls within that category. Now I can only imagine what dozens of hours spent playing Tails and the Music Maker does to ones psyche, but to go so far as to show your employees literally stomping on your product made to educate children is a little strange. Oh well, at least Soundgarden is playing in the background.
This job will drive you to smoke!
When asked by a man off camera what one employee does to relieve work-related stress, she says she goes outside to smoke. When it cuts to her smoking, it does a few slick shots like what she's doing is the coolest thing on earth. Nothing says "Welcome aboard" quite like saying "If you didn't smoke when you agreed to this job, you soon will!"
Get ready to hate your hobby!
When interviewing one of the testers about what games they play at home, one of them said he sold all of his gaming machines when they took this job. Remember going into testing so you could work with what you love? Get ready to be so burned out by games after this that you'll never pay one by choice!
Now, I've worked some rough jobs. I've worked at call centers, I've worked in kitchens, I've been a glorified janitor, but none of those jobs started out with the company-produced training materials telling me how bad it would be.
In most places they paint the job as if it is the best thing on earth, but Sega is pretty honest about it. I guess that it is commendable to a degree, but it reinforces the idea that I never want to do this work. I'd rather not hate games just yet.