Over twenty years in QA? Where did he go wrong?
Many people think Dave was crazy for staying in QA for so long and not making the leap to Production. He says they are wrong. His role in QA has had a positive effect on the hundreds of titles he has worked on in those twenty years.
He stumbled into this career. He was collecting Disney Images on BBS' and FIDOnet and found one that listed the Disney Software BBS. He logged in, made friends, and in a month or two he was working as a QA/CS Representative at Disney Software in 1991.
Between 1991 and 1995 when he left, he had established the first true online presence by a Disney company across multiple services, Prodigy, Compuserve, AOL and a full Internet link on the Disney Software BBS which he expanded from 1 to 16 lines supporting 10,000 plus users. The guy who started the Disney Internet Group came to meet with him shortly before they became an entity. Dave should have jumped into the Internet business when he had the chance.
In 1995 he jumped over to Activision as a full QA Manager. Disney wouldn't give him the title due to his lack of a degree, so he left. That ended up being a great move for him.
He managed a base staff of 120 people. His teams released some of the first Windows 95 products, and had one of the first PlayStation titles to pass certification on the first pass. It was a great time. Things were really taking off in gaming. He got to work on some amazing titles like Quake 2 , MechWarrior 2, Dark Reign, Battlezone, Heavy Gear, Zork: Grand Inquisitor, and many others.
Then in 1999 a Senior Producer named Frank Evers went to Disney Interactive to take over production. One of his first products on the slate was a TRON game. He knew Dave was a major TRON fan, and called him about taking over QA there.
So in 1999 he moved back to Disney, now renamed to Buena Vista Games. During that term he managed multiple teams in an external production model dealing with both vertical and licensed titles.
His teams released over 2000 separate SKUs in 5 years ranging from demos to full PC, console, and handheld products. His pride and joy was Tron 2.0 for the PC and the Game Boy Advance. He didn't get to work on the Xbox version, but wishes he'd been allowed to.
A new VP of Production took over in his last two years at BVG and Dave was released from Disney/BVG in December of 2005 to make room for a new QA regime.
After mulling over a change of direction and possibly getting out of gaming, Dave bounced right back and landed at THQ Wireless. His wife Jan had spotted a listing for a QA Manager, and he thought that games for mobile phones might be an interesting new path to follow..
The mobile business grew to be something he truly loved to do. He had one of the best teams he had worked with to that point and the 24 of them cranked out from 100 to 300 ports per week at peak times.
He even took his first step into Production in 2006 when he managed the Porting process for six months. In early 2007, he was a Production/QA Manager, but after a new regime took over in late 2006 he stepped back to just handling QA as people took over his role at the new THQ Wireless headquarters in Chaska, Minnesota. Then they announced in Q2 of 2007 that THQ Wireless was moving to San Diego.
A timely call came in from Alex Plachowski at 2K Games about a job as a Test Manager. After talking with Alex over lunch he was convinced that going back to the console world was the right thing to do. He has been with 2K Games for over 6 years now. He has run QA for 2K Sports, 2K Play and is currently running all testing worldwide for 2K Mobile, digital Distribution and PC Compatibility as well as a few special projects. He's very proud to have titles like NBA 2K9 through through the amazing NBA 2K12 and 13 on his resume.
September 13th, 2013 was Dave's 22nd anniversary in video games. It's been a good run, but like all good things, it is coming to an end.
April 1st, 2015 will be Dave's final day in the industry. It's fitting that a career that started on a Friday the 13th should end on April Fool's Day. Dave gets a kick out of it anyway.