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I'm am a dedicated PC gamer who believes that everyone deserves to hear the facts. I have beta tested multiple games in the past and have been known to outright tell developers what needs to be done to make it tolerable of a game. That's why it's beta right?

Nonetheless, gaming has been a hobby for me since I was a wee little lad. My favorite console of all time would be the SNES(even if I only ever played it a few times) with the N64 following that then the Gamecube. Nothing will ever compare to those consoles. Ever.

You know enough. The personals can be found out if you get to know me.
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Quality Assurance Testing is something that someone does for a wide variety of software applications today. This can be from the trivial anti-virus you have on your computer to the next AAA game to be released on your favorite platform of choice. It's something we overlook and don't consider the existence of. That's what i'm finally able to do now and get paid for. It became an idea of what I wanted when I got my first experience with testing games and it eventually lead to where I am now. Where you ask?  Well, closer to my dream than you'd imagine and it's as good as it gets. It wasn't an easy journey but it has been an adventure to get to the point where I can finally play video games and also have fun. So lets see where it all began and get to where I eventually got the job of my dreams.

It all began when I was around 12 or maybe 13. I've been a gamer for a vast majority of my life. I have played console games and also played a decent amount of PC games for my time but nothing that you'd consider too noteworthy. It was where my passion for video games kicked off and still continues to this day. It wouldn't happen instantly as I would down the line get a PC where i'd switch over from console games to being a PC centric fellow. This wasn't sudden either and not without difficulties. I got what you could considered my first serious rig from some family friend. It was as mid range as you could get since he had a much better and beefier rig that he used for WoW. Dude was cool though and gave me the first serious push into PC gaming where i'd soon enter the world of QA despite not really knowing what it was at the time.



Probably not a few months after getting said computer would be when i'd venture into my first beta test. Yes, my first beta test. You want to know as to what game it was? It was Electronic Arts Battlefield: Heroes in which I was in the Open Beta for. This would be my first whole experience where I would test a game. I, of course, didn't really do much in terms of giving feedback on issues but it is the milestone in which I would judge all future tests. Battlefield: Heroes was one of the guilty pleasures when I was younger and became one of those most played that you'd have a hard time getting me to stay away from the game. It wouldn't be my last game and i'd soon move onto what i'd consider the game that got me interested in dungeon experiences where one must fight some dastardly huge beings. That game would be Vindictus.

Vindictus would be my next foray into the testing world. The game that defines killing baddies through corridors to eventually get to a big showdown of a boss. As you can see, all the tests are for free to play games. Something that I did not have to pay for nor did I have any serious obligation to do something due to not getting paid. This would continue on for a few years as I attempted to get into a list of betas in order to test games. These free to play games that I tested could be considered none other than games like All Points Bulletin: Reloaded where you're either a criminal or an enforcer. These games ended up being third or first person shooters, oddly. I guess one could say that I was shooting for a few specific type of games to beta test. Okay, i'm sorry about that. I am no longer making puns related to these type of tests.

It wouldn't be till I was more of an adult before I could finally get experiencing the glories of testing games. The age of Early Access. The world of awesome games or broken ones. I guess that depends on your experience. My first true pay-to-test the game and also get the full game before release would be Minecraft. A game I played since the early Alpha days but bought during Beta days. Minecraft opened my eyes to the potential of paying for games in advance and seeing them flourish into beasts even if I didn't have a clue how half of the ever expanding mechanics work. Minecraft became that game which continued to keep me hooked since 2011 and has been a game that has become as much part of my life as my love of film. Minecraft is alot like a baby or was. It still has those elements but not like I experienced. You could see it grow from a barebones game to one that has many different mechanics that make it up. But we should end this little love letter to Minecraft because we still have more of a journey ahead.



Early Access is one of those things that allowed me to feel like I have an influence on a developer and that my feedback was important. Feedback which an industry either dislikes or likes. I guess that's a matter of opinion when it comes to game developers. It's something that I now do in which I buy a game that interests me then let it sit until it becomes more feature complete now since I have a massive back catalog of games that i'm still trying to get through. I don't have a bad experience with Early Access though and i'm sure others do but a vast majority of my experience has only been positive. I tend to overlook alot of things because I understand the process of game development much more clearly. This can be with great thanks to Two Player Productions with the Double Fine Adventure doc series which is otherwise known as Broken Age. But now we finally can get to now after going over the important stepping stones of my testing career. The unpaid torture of love. Something i'll never forget and will continue to cherish.

So, as we all know, VMC Game Labs was hiring testers awhile back for consoles and PC. I applied with my massive list of beta testing experience where I mentioned games both without NDAs and with that I tested. Games which I didn't tell of yet like Battlefield: Play4Free where I was in the closed beta that required an NDA. I don't dislike NDAs and I always follow them through and through. But that is besides the point of this. I guess you could say that I finally applied to be a remote QA tester for VMC. I finally have seen that I got my info where I sent my DxDiag and I can finally await the next project in order to sign the NDA for that respective company. It's a dream because i've always wanted to be a QA tester that was paid. I've found that getting paid to play games and finding underlying issues in coding or level design is one thing I enjoy. It's that nothing it out of bounds when I can test a game for all it's worth. I am now just awaiting my first test. The first test of many to come. Of games I won't be able to talk to you about or show you anything of because of contractual reasons until the game is released.



Video game testing is an experience that one has to learn to appreciate over time. I have only talked about select experiences but I have a massive list of games that I could have talked about. Games that have since been out in the wild for years of which i've probably forgotten the names of and that probably is closed down in one form or another. These experiences live on though and i'll keep looking back at them to see what I can learn from them. You're always learning and will continue to learn through life. It's something that you will experience no matter what type of job you have and QA testing is no different. It's always something new and always fun because video games are fun. Unless you're just one of those people who don't play video games. I'm sure you aren't though or else you wouldn't be reading what it's like to test games. I will leave one last message and that message is:

Welcome to my world and the world of video game testing.
Photo Photo Photo







CarbonRevenge
4:06 PM on 03.16.2013



I'm still sad about the loss of THQ. I'm probably not the only one still feeling like they lost a piece of their childhood even though most of the Ips have went under new management. I'm just sad that a piece of gaming history has ceased to exist and that the stuff you physically own with a THQ logo on it is going to be so sad to see. I feel like right now that I should tell you about my childhood and how i've kind of grown up with THQ by my side.



My first official THQ game would have to have been the licensed WWE title called Wrestlemania 2000. This was on the Nintendo 64 and was such a fun game that both me and my younger brother would play. We really bonded over this game because we had fun screwing around. My favorite part was when we would go into the wrestler customization feature and customize our own wrestlers. I would be the type of guy to make a really funny looking wrestler then give him a really funny name to suit him. This brought many many laughs to my brother and I.

On a serious note, we did love to play the game. I think this was the only time I really bonded with my younger brother when I was growing up because we would always play this game together and have some fun. I know it caused problems for my mom because whenever we were in the living room, we would typically be playing this game. I have yet to replay this game again but nonetheless it is my first official memory of THQ and where my journey to play there games begin.



My second venture into the world of THQ would be the game Destroy All Humans!. I always found this game extremely amusing and also it scared me a little bit when I was younger. It scared me a lot less though due to the voice acting of Richard Steven Horvitz who I am a big fan of. This little game was a gem because of the fact that it was a cheesy alien game in which you're trying to take over the Earth. This made me a die hard fan of the series. However, I started to gain interest in another series after this one.



My third venture actually started with a war game, Frontlines: Fuel of War, the predecessor to the Homefront game. This game I found interesting because this was on Xbox 360 and I loved playing the demo on it. I don't know why but I always thought that despite the drawbacks, it had some pretty fun mechanics. It was the THQ version of a Battlefield game. Some might say that it was a little bad but to me it was one of those great games that I couldn't stop playing. I remember playing this game demo all the way up until release. I wouldn't pick it up the full game until after the next one.



The fourth venture and probably the one which has made me have some regrets. Not because it's bad but because I don't own my physical copy anymore which I used to have. This is my first game I ever preordered. The game is Red Faction: Guerilla and I have had little to none experience with that series at the time of preordering it. I originally preoredred it at GameStop which was when I actually liked them. Back then I had little to no idea about the series except seeing a few videos on the past games on Youtube.

Could I play it back then? No. Why? Because I preordered it for PC. I don't remember exactly what type of PC I had but it couldn't even launch the game. It took me a few years to even get a rudimentary PC to even launch it with frame rate drops but that wasn't good enough for me so I just didn't play it. This lead me to just sell it off on some site because I didn't feel I had a reason to keep it. This is where the regrets come into play because I really miss feeling like I was owning a piece of THQ history. Luckily, my story doesn't end here.



The moment I got a fairly compatible PC(Which I will tell you is not the one I currently own now.) is where I hit probably the best THQ game I have ever played. This would be Saints Row 2. I saw a playthrough of the first one on Youtube which gained me interest in the series. I didn't get to play it till the second but it was a wise choice. I downloaded the second and started playing this game. Me, as The Boss, in such a wonderful game has never felt so sad for a game. Saints Row 2 is one of those milestones in my life because it is a rather sad and truly emotional game. You feel sadness because many of your homies die who you connect with and it feels almost as if you're losing friends who you trust the most. Every time someone died Saints Row 2, i'm pretty sure there was tears forming in my eyes. It was such a sad game that it was almost impossible for me to stop playing as I get revenge on all of those who took out my friends. This wouldn't be the last Saints Row though....



Unknowingly, I did play Darksiders. I didn't know until I played it from the Humble THQ Bundle that I have indeed played it in the past. It was actually because of OnLive which I had a trial to use and Darksiders was one of the game which it allowed me to play. I couldn't remember if I was any good but I did play some of the first level despite my connection issues and the constant lag which I was having but I still played it. It was awesome and will never be forgotten as a game which i'm sure a lot of you like just as much as I do now. I might not have played Darksiders lately in awhile but I still feel that it is my duty to play every THQ game at least once.



In modern times, I have pretty all the THQ games from the Humble Bundle on my Steam account which hasn't been touched in awhile. This is mostly due to my backlog and the fact that I am awaiting Bioshock: Infinite where i'll play that and beat it which will cause me to regain interest in other games such as Metro 2033, Darksiders, Company of Heroes, and the sort. I might not be playing them now but i'm at least glad to have been part of gaming history with those games. THQ might have had it a little rough but I feel that as a company, they weren't as bad as some others. THQ is perhaps my childhood and defines it quite a bit.

I hope you liked learning about my gaming history with THQ. I still miss you as a company and am keeping that Frontlines physical copy of mine safe because it reminds me of the good ol' days. Thank you for creating some of the best franchises of this and last generation. I hope that you will not be forgotten because you're a company that is unlike any other.

RIP THQ
1989-2013








I know, I know. I haven't written a c-blog seriously for awhile now but that's because I haven't had anything to write about. Though today i'm going to be writing about preorders and mostly the pros of them. You're probably guessing a major reason why I'm writing this is because of Aliens: Colonial Marines but since every forum I go on for the most part has had people complaining about preorders now due to what happened, I just need to vent about some of the stuff that is on my mind and get people to see my perspective on everything.



Now that comment above really irritated the hell outa me because this person the Steam forums says that he won't preorder games and never will because of the fact that there is many games which don't live up to the expectations and therefore feels his need to wait until release. Not that I have anything against that but my main irritation is how he thinks preorders are here to bite you in the ass and then cause you to regret your purchase. It's not, obviously, but let me get to the point.

The point is that preorders are actually rather beneficial despite some of the negative ways they have been used and swindled money out of the consumers. The main point is that it is used by the publishers to determine how many people are buying said game and telling if said franchise has big enough of a market to get a wide audience to earn a profit. There's nothing wrong with figuring out how many people are interested in your game. Borderlands 2 broke preorder records for 2K and 2K really relied on those preorder numbers as it really helped to make sure they kept up with demand prior to launch.

The second point is that NOT ALL PREORDERS ARE BAD. It's true. Most preorders are not bad at all and actually are well worth it if the developer is respectable and has produced a great many games and not a single failed game. The new assumption now since A:CM is that every game is now out to steal your money and under deliver. The fact is that this is not true at all. Gearbox is known to under deliver especially with what happened with Duke Nukem Forever and how they typically outsource a lot of their work because they don't have the numbers to do stuff like produce DLC or something along those lines.

Consumers should always look at the development past of a game studio and look to see what games they have produced. This goes well for older franchises because if it is an already established franchise then you should have no worries because of the quality expectations of what you should expect the developer to reach as per the fact they're more than likely to expand on most mechanics and introduce new ideas in the process. You should always know that history prior to preorder as well as if t is an established franchise.

Aliens: Colonial Marines, while a new IP, created by Gearbox which has a questionable past definitely had it coming there way. So by saying that Metro: Last Light, Tomb Raider, Bioshock: Infinite, and a list of other games coming out this month or a few months from now shouldn't offer preorders because of what happened is just bullshit. Preorders aren't as bad as they seem despite a few bad eggs but you have to understand that it has some valid reason for existing. Some preorders obviously offer stuff they'll sell later, and others are just there for those who want a little bit of a head start, and whilst it may seem like it's bad but it's really not.

I feel as thought preorders are really beneficial to any game surviving. This goes especially for the PC indie scene because of how much developers need the money to keep production going and understand how much of an audience their game has. AAA devs might not need that as much but it's beneficial. The game industry needs it even if you think it is suddenly the devil and will no way in any shape or form actually help it keep afloat. Just remember that while A:CM is a pile of shit, there's tons of other games that are in no way, shape, or form going to be just as bad. So stop treating preorders like they're the devil and go find another scrapegoat. Like microtransactions. That's much MUCH worse if you're thinking about the nickle and diming of the consumer.

Sorry for literally no pictures in this blog. That one comment just irritated the hell outa me.
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Enjoy. EA pulls a ME3 and we all facepalm.

It also explains the DLC announcement.











Simulations are either horribly bad or really technical. I happen to play the inbetween mostly because they're not always horribly bad but they tend to have some downfalls due to verging on technical or being technical. Not to say that there's anything wrong with that but it's safe enough to say that simulations are one of my top favorite types of games to play. I'm just such a nerd for them because i've played them in some form over the period of my childhood. I don't know if it is a good or bad thing but perhaps I should just get into why I love simulations.

Now how I got to love simulations isn't exactly because I play it just to play it. I play simulations because I want to understand the experience, if partially, because it allows me to feel or understand how people do the sort of things that most people don't think about everyday. Simulations allow me to experience the life of a pilot like in Microsoft Flight Simulator or deliver goods in simulations like Trainz where I load and unload consists for delivery, or 18 Wheels of Steel whereas i'm a trucker and my job is to deliver goods while traveling across the country. These games all offer unique experiences and each one gives you a perspective of how the lives of people are as they deal with many challenges.

I grew up playing many simulation-ish games. My starting point would definitely have to begin with my Nintendo 64 days when I played quite a few different games that got me closer to the genre as a whole. I remember how when I was younger my mother would go out and leave me at a house of a neighbor who had a son who owned a console. I forgot exactly what console but i'm thinking it was probably a Dreamcast or something. I'd always play this racing game and I loved playing it even if I sucked hardcore because I was just enjoying the experience and trying to learn the best way to play it.



This game was played quite alot. I just love cars blowing up.



As I aged and started to really play games on my Nintendo 64 since I owned one and played it quite alot. I played a racing game quite similar to what I stated on that console but it wasn't the same and I can't bring up the name, Demolition Derby 64 which made me want to experience even more, San Francisco: Rush even if it was arcad-y and a dirt racing game that really made me eventually give in to playing the Dirt series of games in my future. These weren't all the games I owned for my N64 but it was the few games that got me to slowly verge into simulations.



The first RCT in the series and the first one I have ever played. If only Atari didn't suck so much these days.



My mom still had me left off at peoples houses till I got much older and I actually got into Rollercoaster Tycoon once I got much much older but still not adult age old because I was still quite a few years away from it and independence in a majority of my life. RCT was probably one of the simulations or close to sims that I played alongside Airport Tycoon and The Sims. These games made me love to think about certain aspects of the gameplay and how to conquer challenges. Airport Tycoon had me dealing with placement of runways and terminals, RCT had me think of ride layouts and what was profitable, and The Sims allowed me to live a life aside from my current life. Each offering a different perspective on something else.

When I got around 12-13 is when things really started to pick up for my interest in simulations when I got my first version of Trainz. I can't remember what version but it was laggy on the crappy computer we had(I had joined the PC master race without even knowing it) and 18 Wheels of Steel. Both of these games had me playing some different role even if I could barely play Trainz. 18: WoS offered me to the ability to drive tractor trailers and experience the hard life of a trucker who has to deal with traffic, weigh stations, and deadlines. A game which i'll say pushed me so far into the genre that it has been hard getting out of it.



18 Wheels of Steel or the game that I had a problem where I couldn't stop playing. I had a MAJOR problem. I was hooked.



Nowadays at my current age, I still play simulations alongside actual other genres like shooters, platformers, and other stuff. I really can't name every genre I play but there is quite a list. Simulations being one of the top played along with a few others. I probably won't ever grow out of this genre but delve more into it to experience what it has to offer and gain knowledge in an area where i'm a fan of but not interested in as a lifestyle. It's a hobby like my gaming habits and nothing more.

There's a little bit of my life and as to why I feel that simulations rock. I've grown up playing games that have offered different experiences and the simulation genre is just one of the few that I still play today. I really wish that the genre wasn't so niche in terms of popularity but then again that might just mean I want hipsters to join the foray. Anyway, that's enough from this guy. I hope you have some good memories with the genre as I did.








Disclaimer: No images for this blog due to the ranting nature.


Casuals. Oh yes, casuals. Jim Sterling recently covered casuals in his recent Jimquisition and i'm here to bring in another argument into the mix of things because while the whole difficulty curve argument works a little bit, there's much worse consequences out of letting the everyday gamer choose what will succeed and what will fail. This is why my main point isn't about the difficulty curve that most developers are leaning towards but the fact that most developers are not changing the formula of their trademark series which is in the end giving us the same bland game year after year.

Why am I fearing the lack of change in a games formula? It means creative games go to the wayside and bland boring rehashes get tons of sequels. There's a certain dilemma in the industry which has allowed Indie devs to pick up where the AAA developers are only developing to get most of the casuals and not trying their best to change the experience up. That effects everyone because i'm sure alot of different series can change up alot if the developers really tried to do that without trying to make it overly accessible.

My prime example of this most definitely has to be the wide array of SpunkGargleWeeWee games or First Person Shooters which is a genre which is heavily saturated with more or less the same thing. This excludes Metro 2033 and Borderlands due to their unique gameplay nature and the fact that it doesn't follow the few billion dollar franchises like Call of Duty which has become the best example of something that should never continue to keep selling or we risk a stagnation in creativity.

Why is a stagnation in new ideas bad? This means that developers will not try to reinvent something which is old to become new. The Indie scene has definitely gotten the AAA devs to really try a tiny bit more but it's not enough to make a major impact on the game development scene as a whole. The stagnation will eventually rot up the industry to the point where one or two games will definitely dominate said genre for a majority of people and those few who play an odd game will become rare and harder to find than a casual.

The worst part of all of this is that the best companies are starting to fall. The ones with the most creative dev teams is falling and my best example of that is THQ. Without THQ, we wouldn't have some of the best gaming series which are not typical than any other game in said genre. They are a company which while trying to do something new, is also failing to make a profit. Casuals have effected the market so much that it's risking handing over our favorite IPs to the worst companies in existence such as EA, Ubisoft, or Activision-Blizzard. If we start to lose the good games for the bland then we all deserve what is coming if we don't question if the developers are really going for something new or not.

My question to the readers is what can be done to keep developers on their feet who contribute more to the industry than let the least creative ones thrive? Is there a way we can fix our problem or is another crash inevitable where even more of the gaming market could potentially be eaten up by foreign competitors? Would it eventually give a monopoly to one or two companies? Those are my questions. I ask you to answer them.