Mouse Smash

JC Lau's blog about geekery, gender and other rants


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Adventures in QA: Chapter 6: Work-related Microaggressions

So at work I am on a team where we have a lot of disciplines represented. There’s design and art and production and test and whatnot. It’s pretty cool. We are all considered experts in our field and the team works together because everyone brings their mad skillz to the table as it were.

Or so I thought. So, we’ve had a few issues with one of our tools lately and our investigations haven’t brought about any answers. We referred it to an engineer outside our team who gave us an explanation about it. Unfortunately, that explanation was wrong. Continue reading

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Adventures in QA: Chapter 4: Funderemployment

It’s been a while since I updated my Adventures in QA series. Like, a year or so. Well, luckily for me I now have plenty of time to do it!

One thing about QA work is that it’s not always constant. Even though technically it’s a full-time gig, it doesn’t mean that the work or hours are full time. There are peaks and troughs with the workflow depending on things like seasons (so it was busier toward the end of the year when the holiday period opened), or things like how many projects there are.

So, we’re in a trough at the moment. For our “full-time” schedule, I have three weeks off. Continue reading


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Adventures in QA: Chapter 3: A bug’s life

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been doing this QA gig and it’s not as terrible as I thought it would be. Okay, the work is still quite grunty and below what I was previously making, but it does have its moments where it’s okay.

The main thing we’re supposed to do is log bugs. When I first applied and got asked on the interview questionnaire to define what a bug was, I think I actually wrote something technical about how something does not operate to specifications or something, but to be honest it’s more like “any kind of weird shit that randomly pops up” since literally it could be anything that’s not working properly. Continue reading


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Adventures in QA: Chapter Two: Training Day (or how game testers are presumed to be male)

In retrospect, not the greatest hashtag, but it was short.

In retrospect, not the greatest hashtag, but it was short.

Since the interview, there’s been a little bit of pedantic paperwork with background checks and whatnot. Then, yesterday, I received an email telling me that mandatory training for the client was today, and that I had to reply to the email and then they would send me the (apparently super-secret) location, even though they could tell me the date and time of training. With less than 24 hours’ notice, they weren’t kidding about this being an on-call job. Continue reading


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Adventures in QA: Chapter One: The Interview

It was nothing like this. James Franco was not there.

How does one get started in the games industry? If you’ve got no experience besides playing games, how do you get your foot in the door?

This is what it is feels like to get farmed out to companies.

This is what it is feels like to get farmed out to companies.

One way of doing it is through QA. For some reason unknown to me, QA jobs often hire by advertising by saying “play video games all day and get paid!” or something like that. Technically you’re not playing a video game; you’re playing a tiny  section of one repeatedly. You get paid though. Anyway, I saw and ad like this for–let’s say, Company X–on Craigslist and replied. There was a link that led to a google docs-type page where you submitted your details and a resume. Within an hour, I was contacted by the recruiter and asked if I would be free for an interview at the end of the week. I wrote back and she sent me some information for the interview location. Continue reading


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Adventures in QA: Prologue

This is a new series I’m starting, and it is basically what it sounds like it’s about. I’m going to explore the world of gaming gruntwork by being a QA minion. I think the official title is “QA Engineer” but whatever, I’m not naive enough to think I’m engineering anything.

As a bit of background, I’ve been interested in video games since literally the age of 3, when we got an Apple IIe and I played Pacman on it for hours. Soon, I was better than my parents. But while I’ve been playing games for over 30 years now, I’ve not actually (technically) been part of the videogame industry. Sure, I’ve written about it and I know people in it and whatnot, but I’ve never actually been part of the industry myself. So when I found an ad for game testing, I thought it’d be a reasonable place to start. Why not, I mean? What could possibly go wrong? Continue reading