Developer Pet Peeves: Grandma’s Boy
I’m going to go a little further afield today for a different topic. Every now and then, some common myth or other thing will annoy me. I’m usually a pretty mild person, but some things just make me want to roll my eyes and shake my head. Suggestions to watch the movie “Grandma’s Boy” is one of those things. For those who don’t know, Grandma’s Boy is a stoner comedy about a video game tester. This is the trailer:
Some people with specific careers will have some sort of experience like this. A friend of mine who is a bus driver, for example, will constantly be asked by random people about her thoughts on the movie Speed. A doctor friend often gets questions about television shows like House and Grey’s Anatomy. Me? I get people suggesting I watch Grandma’s Boy.
Spoilers under the cut.
I’ve been asked what I do for a living by my relatives in Austria, and it takes me a moment to think of the word. My command of German is hardly far-reaching, after al.
I usually settle on Spielschreiber. Game writer.
Which makes them look quizzical, and they ask me if that means I’m some kind of programmer. I say yes… because it’s just goddamn easier than trying to explain, as that’s hard enough to do in English. It’s bound up in all kinds of misunderstandings regarding what goes into making a game, with the added bonus of the terminology not even being the same from studio to studio.
Take the word “designer”. In some studios, that’s the person who comes up with the concept for the game. In others, it’s the person who actually creates the levels. In others, it’s the level artist. In others, it’s just a producer. I’ve had headhunters try to hire me for all those roles, and it takes several minutes for me to puzzle out what kind of “designer” they seem to think I am.
I feel for QA testers, though. If there’s any dev that’s more misunderstood, it’s them. I doubt anyone understands just how profoundly not fun it is to test games. People envision QA testers playing like they do, as if they were given time off of work to spend all day playing their favorite game. BEST. THING. EVER.
Hahahaha. No. Take your favorite game, strip out most of the coherent story. Now strip out most of the level art and textures. Make it crash every five minutes, have everyone run around in t-pose, and spend all your time writing a few paragraphs on every single thing that happened which was bad. And I still just summarized their job poorly.
Most times, when people find out what I do, I get that mystified look… like I maybe sprouted a mushroom on top of my head. “People do that for a living?” they ask, and I’m left to wonder what it is they’re picturing, because how do you even respond to that question?
I know what they’re picturing, though. It’s Grandma’s Boy. Fuck that movie. Fuck it to fucking hell and then fuck it some more.
Someone write a TV show about a dev team, I swear you could be somewhat true to reality (assuming, of course, that the show never shows anyone actually working… which they never do anyhow, so whatever) and it would still be a fucking comedy goldmine.