The Tester is the name of an upcoming online-exclusive reality show where contestants compete for the chance to win a job testing video games. Seriously.
Normally, to break into the video game industry, prospective artists, programmers and designers spend years building their skillset and work experience into atractive portfolios so that they can sell themselves to prospective employers. But sometimes these fledgling, young professionals simply do not have the connections, availability or luck to launch their career. So they take entry-level positions such as game tester to get their foot in the door. Game testing in its own right is an important process of game development; often misjudged as merely "playing video games all day", proper testing, inspection and verification of issues can often make or break a game. While not as high-profile as being a lead character artist, mission scripter or level designer, testing can indeed be a worthwhile endeavour to those who know what they want to get out of it -- because ideally the testers would have a strong, trusting and direct working relationship with the game developers, and have a positive effect on the final product.
Playstation Network's "The Tester" is like someone getting a legitimate Ph.D in medicine because they asked for one.
Anyway, there's no way in hell I'll be watching this show. Because not only have I not gotten my PS3 back from my cousin's husband when I loaned it to him last summer, but it's an incredibly dumb idea for a show. So rather than invest myself in Sony's "mean spirited cocktease for profit" experiment, I'll just speculate about how the whole thing'll go down. I'm pretty sure I'll have a lot more fun making up bullshit about these poor souls than actually watching them.
Amanda. AKA The eyecandy
This sweet-hearted, cheerleading coach and Final Fantasy enthusiast brings some much-needed good looks to a show about gamers. Given her background as a cheerleader she should have no problem facing off against the physical challenges of the game, not the least of which will be having to evade constant cop-a-feels from the male contestants. She will most likely develop a sweet "will they/ won't they" reality show romance with a male contestant and make it to the top four.
Will. AKA The everyman
This affable young man probably enjoys being humble about his skills at acoustic guitar, playing with his golden labs, being honest with women and not drinking too much at parties. He lists Nathan Drake as his favorite game character and he looks like Jim from The Office. Seriously, this guy is the everyman and will likely act as such. Expect him not to win the testing job, but rather the heart of Amanda.
Bob. AKA The villain
The first thing this smug-looking Final Fantasy enthusiast mentioned in his bio is that he has a Masters degree in Shakesperian literature and that he grew his goatee as a nod to Evil Spock. Clearly this dastardly mastermind will use machiavellian tactics and manipulation to keep himself in the game no matter how much the others want to vote him off... or whatever. Moreover he'll use terms such as "Simpleton", "Fools" and "Amusing" when conversing with his fellow castmates. I expect him to be one of the final two.
Sharonda. AKA The sassy black girl
Always ready with a quick "Say WHAAAAAAT?" and "Oh no he di-n't!", Sharonda will use The Tester as a platform to show herself to the world as the strong, independant woman she is. Quickly taking charge of the beachhouse or wherever the hell they all live, Sharonda will often butt heads with some of the more tempered contestants and will be the first person to stand up to Bob. She will be the first one voted off.
Samuel. AKA The 'is he gay?' guy
Samuel will be a big bundle of happy-go-lucky joy, an infectious man of high energy whom everyone will get along with and feel really sorry for when he eventually gets voted off. According to his bio he's a trained firefighter and paramedic. Need I remind you he's vying for a job testing video games.
Lauren. AKA The emotional one
Over the course of the series, Lauren will be prone to launching into feiry tirades at the drop of a hat, crying about her boyfriend back home and quitting elimination challenges mid-way through because they're "bullshit." Half of everything she says will be inaudible due to swear filters. She and Amanda will be best friends during the show until she inadvertanly causes a love triangle between her, Amanda and Will.
Nicholle. AKA The contender
Nicholle didn't come here to make friends, she came here to be number one. She quickly proves to be a formidable competetor who mostly keeps to herself. Despite her apparent skill at playing the game, she will lack the interpersonal skills to make connections with the others and unwind. She will be voted off not because she's a threat, but because she's not a team player... which of course goes against everything this competition is about.
Danny. AKA The funnyman
This energetic, attention-starved Final Fantasy enthusiast is the life of the party and always out to make people laugh. Sadly, this is done to mask his insecurities about companionship and love. Eventually his facade cracks and he opens himself up to others for the first time in his life. He will lose the contest, but the experience of being on the show and the memories of his newfound friends will stay with him for the rest of his life. Bob will orchestrate the events that get Danny kicked off.
Anthony. AKA O.G-amer
In the arcade of life there are players and there are intimidaters. Anthony is definetely a player. His reputation preceeds him, having already taken over the East coast semi-finales after unlocking the most acheivement points of his division, Anthony is setting his sights on taking over another gaming competition. He's been called unstoppable, a force that can only be contained, and the worst thing to happen to his competition.
Ciji. AKA Diddy Bong Racing
Ciji is already a professional gamer, which is a talented-enough gamer who can gain sponsorship and literally be PAID to play video games. She came on this show because she wants to start a career where she can play video games. Needless to say Ciji loves reefer and she simply got confused about what this competition was about. She will most likely spend the entire run of the series baked out of her mind and will loses the game when she eventually wanders off the set.
Daryl. AKA Pure Win
Being on this show will comemorate the very first time Daryl has left his house since 2000. Daryl will be an unpredictable "wild card" of the cast shrouded in mystery. No one will be quite sure where his alegiance lies, if he even has one. He will rarely speak, even when spoken to, and when he does his words are always layered in short, nonsensic sentences. The series will come down to him versus Bob in the ultimate battle of brains vs. Daryl.
Merideth Molinari. The Host
An experienced model who's hosting experience includes several online music shows. As such she has become very adept at handling herself in front of nerds, confident-enough that she can wear shoulder-less blouses in front of them. Merideth has never heard of video games before she landed this gig.
Brent Gocke. Featured panelist
Brent is a veteran Sony tester of four years. FOUR YEARS? Good god man, what will your gigantic call-centre of a department do without a seasoned pro like yourself at the helm? Who will the greenhorns look to for leadership and guidance in your absence? His mind and body are honed to testing perfection from nearly half a decade of sitting on his ass. He's seen it all, from the rise of the PS3 to the fall of Rapture, and when he finishes his job here on The Tester his pension will be all the sweeter.
David Jaffe. Guest Panelist
David Jaffe is a famously outspoken game designer responsible for God of War, Twisted Metal and getting drunk at the Playboy mansion. His scathing wit and brutal honesty will make him the Simon Cowell/ Gordon Ramsey of the show. Expect many contestants to break down and cry whenever he opens his mouth.
Katherine DeLeon. Guest panelist
A producer on Sony's Playstation Home, which for those of you who don't know is basically Second Life with better graphics and less things to do. As far as her biography goes she has not tested or developed any video games, with her involvement in the interacticve social networking site Home being the only exposure to the medium. Needless to say she'll care more about how the contestants behave and get along with one another than whether they can play the game.
Ritchard Markelz. Guest panelist
OMG I can't believe they got him :O !!!!!!111!!!11!!!!11!!!11one111!!!! Mr. Markelz is the global director of Sony entertainment's worldwide Quality Assurance (Testing) operations. Across Europe, Japan and North America he holds the lives of thousands of people in the palm of his hand and he knows it. The dude's a rockstar and probably a millionaire of some sort. He'll spend a lot of time hitting on the female contestants.
The Tester claims it will feature several challenges to test the wits and skills of the competitors, which is a fancy way of saying they're offering a litmus tests to determine who would be dumb enough to enter a physical competition for a testing job. Weekly elimination ceremonies will be conducted where the competitors who failed the most challenges are removed from contention and spared the crushing humiliation of winning.
I'm not sure exactly what these challenges would entail (or for that matter, why these athletically-stunted people bothered to go this route instead of filling out a job application) but if they're designed to prepare the players for a lifetime of testing video games the list should look something like this...