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Posted by Shakezula84

So way back in 2004 I was looking for work. I had recently quit my first job out of high school (working part time at a Dollar Store) and took a couple months off. Now my money was getting low. I decided to apply at the place I had wanted to work for but who never called back again.


The results were different and I was hired on as holiday help during the Halo 2 / San Andreas rush. They kept me on and after several years I rode up to Assistant Manager (at the time that was a big deal, but sadly it's something I can never return too for financial reasons).

I had become unsatisfied with the job. I wanted a store of my own and after being told I wouldn't I became restless. A couple years earlier a friend at GameStop quit to become a game tester at Nintendo. I decided now was the time to leave and do another dream.

Get paid to play games

I started testing at Nintendo in 2009. The pay was on par with what I was making before (about $11 an hour) and I got a consistent schedule. 8 to 5 Monday thru Friday. It was a dream come true. Then the unthinkable happened.

I was told no more work was available

This was hard. Testing is a contract job so this was something I had always expected but hoped would never come. The worst part was I was planning and financing my wedding.

After a month of seeking work I found a testing job at Griptonite Games. The owners (Foundation 9 Entertainment) does most of their testing here for all the studios.

This job was a dream

The hours were outside rush hour (10 to 6) and the pay was a little more. I was also able to play a game that I enjoyed as a game then as something I'm working on. It was great. Random BBQs, free soda and snacks, and the keys to the building and access to the company gym.

But that too came to an end

I terminated my contract after a couple months. The project was about over and I had found out Nintendo was hiring again (and F9E did not need any testers for a while). Back to Nintendo I went.

This time it was rough

I now had a little baby to keep me up at night, and I had to get up at 6 am to try and be at work on time. I was late a lot (or simply wasn't able to make it in at all). I did that for a few months until it finally sunk in.

$11 an hour cannot support a family

So I left. I now work at a local drug store chain as an assistant manager. The money is good and so are the benefits. But I always wonder what if. Before accepting the drugstore job I was in talks to test inFamous 2.


Posted by GunslingerPanda

The moral of this story is, don't have kids?

Posted by Shakezula84
@GunslingerPanda I could see that as being taken as the point, but really the point is really that I got my chance to be a game tester. Maybe again in the future, but obviously now wasn't the time.
Posted by keyhunter

So you pretty much have to live with your mom or something to get by as a game tester? At the rate you mentioned, a person is living 8 thousand dollars below the poverty line..Before taxes. So really it's even less than that. And that's working a full year, 8 hours a day 5 days a week, with no holidays. I can't imagine being so totally and completely dirt poor.