- The alt.weekly still tends to produce some of the best longform journalism around, and the Game QA Blog is kind enough to point to a new Seattle Weekly article looking in-depth at video game testing, thanks to a reporter who signed up as a tester - and it's an awesome piece.

As the reporter explains: "The "dream job" of being a video game tester may sound like a way to get paid for doing exactly what you'd choose to do in the middle of the afternoon on your own living-room sofa, but the reality is very different. To find out how different, I spent a couple of weeks at Volt [aka VMC], a Redmond company that is the country's largest independent video game tester. Hundreds of testers work at Nintendo and Microsoft during crunch times. More than 50 smaller Seattle-area video game developers—like Surreal, Valve, and Zipper—employ anywhere from five to 20 testers each. But when it's time to contract out some of the most grunt-worthy testing tasks, companies call Volt."

So, there's no gigantic revelations in there, but some great on-the-ground info - from personal portraits of the folks involved, info on the current wages ($8.25 per hour for the lowest level VMC testers) to the swift turnover and the relatively draconian enforcement tactics of the company. Oh, and, of course, the fact that testing games really isn't that fun, a lot of the time.

Actually, we've covered testing as a route into the game biz on our GameCareerGuide.com educational site, and it's definitely an increasingly rough slog through the ranks nowadays. It's especially difficult, in my opinion, to get a leg up to development at places like VMC, where game development doesn't happen in-house. But it's possible, FWIW. Anyhow, great article.