Behind the Curtain: Meet the Mac QA Team
Game QA is generally described as the department that breaks games. We test the games and find bugs during the production cycle to ensure a stronger and better product at release. In Mac QA, we test games ported from PC to Mac, ensuring that the Mac experience is as similar as possible to the PC original. So how do we do it? Well, I like to compare testing a ported game to microwaving leftovers. You know how sometimes when you reheat your lunch you find freezing cold areas and super hot or overheated spots? That’s kind of like us finding a broken minigame, a stalled hint button or a display issue on a certain type of hardware. Testing a Mac port is digging into that plate of food and helping to figure out how we can get all parts cooked equally and at the right temperature. When we do our job right (and work with a great chef/developer), Mac customers get to enjoy a little feast.
It’s a great job if you love testing games and have a slight Mac obsession, which basically describes our QA team. We are always very busy because the Mac site releases a game a day, and we’re responsible for all that testing and for maintaining the games in the back catalogue. It’s great because we’re allowed a little variety in our daily tasks and we can switch genres to stay focused and mix big projects in with little ones. We also get the gratification of seeing our games have a smooth launch each morning, and we’ll read the forums and see that customers are really excited about a project that we also enjoyed playing.
Since we love our job so much, we want to tell you more about it here on the blog. Over the next few months, we are going to write about our experiences as testers, Mac addicts, and gamers. I’d like to introduce you to each of us on the team:
I’m Leia and I’ve worked on the team for three years, which means I have the coolest hardware. Yes, my parents did name me after Princess Leia, but they thought it was pronounced Leah. I let people pick either pronunciation and (big surprise) all my nerds here pick Star Wars. I even have a blonde brother named Luke; it was all very ill thought in the delivery room.
In my free time I like cooking and reading. Besides Macs, I’m super obsessed with hot yoga and practice almost daily. I keep trying to get the guys on the team to come with me but somehow they would rather go to happy hour and eat plates of tator tots (I don’t really mind doing that either). My favorite game genre to test is a good HOPA like the Otherworld series, and my favorite games to play are Resource management games like Kingdom Chronicles and A Gnome’s Home.
My name’s Jason, I’ve been on the Mac Game QA team the second longest to Leia, and I’m known as the Clever Detective. I earned this last year testing on the latest Mystery Case File game, Shadow Lake. I’ve always loved Jurassic Park, and when testing for Shadow Lake, I was tired of being referred to as “Master Detective,” so I became Clever. Once Leia used one of my save files to check a bug (and she laughed out of her chair) my fate was sealed and I would be referred to unofficially as “Clever Detective.”
I’ve been playing games almost as long as I’ve been walking around. I seriously can’t even remember a time I wasn’t playing games, and from my Apple II all the way up to my awesome Mac Pro, I’ve definitely put a lot of hours into gaming on Macs. When I’m not busy playing awesome Mac casual games, you can find me on one of my other gaming systems playing another title like DOTA 2, LOL, MTGO, Guild Wars 2 on PC, or I’m playing on my PS3/PS2/360/Wii.
If by some chance I’m not playing video games, I’m probably busy watching or making movies with my friends. My favorite game genres are Point and Click Adventures (I include HOPAs in this), and Strategy Games. That being said, my favorite Mac game on the site is a tie between All My Gods and Dream Builder: Amusement Park.
My name is Alex and I’ve been on the Mac QA team for 9 months. I’m so grateful to work at Big Fish and on this team in particular. I get to test games all day and chat with my wonderful colleagues about video games, the health benefits of tater tots, and our favorite TV shows.
Fun facts about me in no particular order: I’m 51% Australian, I play the drums, I have a scar on my left knee from when I made a diving Frisbee catch and landed on a lawn sprinkler, I’ve built several of my own desktop computers, I’ve been gaming since I was 4 years old, I love Apple computers and Android phones, I shop for clothes almost exclusively at J. Crew, I eat raw oysters and I love it, I dabbled in ventriloquism at a young age and regret it deeply, and I do believe dogs are intrinsically better than cats. Cats are okay at best.
My favorite game on our site is… Squids. What a beautifully simple yet satisfying strategy game. I really got a kick out of the characters and the bizarre dialogue. If you haven’t played it, go check it out NOW!
Mike here. Like many here at Big Fish, I’m into all things entertainment. In fact, before Big Fish I worked at an independent film distribution company. I have to admit, though, it doesn’t get much better than testing video games for a living. Each time I step into the office I try to think about how many folks out there would love to do what I do. So, I don’t care what’s on my plate to test any given day. I have fun with that game and do my darndest to make sure I find every single technical problem with it so that a Mac gamer like myself out there has an awesome time playing.
Now, I’m the oldest in terms of age here in Mac QA, but I’m actually the newest to the team having just recently moved from Customer Support. Back in CS my favorite thing was recommending games to customers. Today’s top pick would have to be Rite of Passage: Child of the Forest Collector’s Edition. Yes! Playing that game the felt kind of like the first time I played Drawn: The Painted Tower – creative and just plain fun.
Now that you’ve met us, we look forward to being friends with you through the blog. Let us know in the comments about anything specific you’d like to learn about Macs and Gaming!