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The Problem With The Tester

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#1 Sean Dimagiba

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 03:06 PM

For those who don’t know, The Tester is a reality game show that you can download for free off of the Playstation Store. Basically, it’s about a handful of contestants who play video games (Or, in other words, praised Sony in their audition video) and compete in a series of challenges to snag a job at SCE or another developer related to Playstation.

There have been three seasons so far, and this season the winning contestant gets a job at Sony Santa Monica Studio, the geniuses behind God of War and Fat Princess. Over the past two years or so, the show has been trying to grab more viewers and has been trying to flesh out what the show is trying to go for. While I admit that things have improved, there are still some major gripes that I find disturbing for game show standards.

A Video Game Show, Where Games aren’t the Star

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"This football will teach me about the complex world of Gaming! Yeah!"

You’d think in a game show about gaming featuring gamers competing for a job in the gaming industry, there’d be a decent amount of video game playing, right?


More apparent in the first two seasons, The Tester regular puts contestants through challenges that don’t really have a lot to do with gaming. Sure, they encourage leadership skills, integrity, and a calm composure, but if I had to lose a job because I couldn’t eat crackers fast enough or I couldn’t fire a cantaloupe off a slingshot, then I probably wouldn’t bother signing up in the first place.

One of the few times I remember gaming-related challenges were the first two season finales and a few trivia challenges. And I’m not saying these challenges are bad; in fact, I find them almost always entertaining and when you think about it, they do actually enforce a skill required to work in the business. It’s just that when the elimination time comes, which is at the end of every episode, the judges will send someone home because they failed a miniscule part of the challenge, and it eventually becomes frustrating when your favorite was sent home for some stupid reason.

Now, they have gotten better at it. In season 3, contestants face each other in actual video games and the winner gains a bonus for the actual upcoming challenge. It’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Where do they find these People?

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Quick! Use a Lesser Ward!

Like any good game show, you need to have a colorful set of characters that can create drama or awkward scenes, or most likely both. When it comes to The Tester, I’m really not too sure what they’re going for. For me, I’m split when it comes to the cast; half the cast is really well selected, and the other half is filler or conflict-starters.

For the half that I enjoy, I think they seem like nice, genuine people in real-life and are usually the ones I root for. As for the other half, I completely despise them… or even forget they were ever on the show. Perhaps it’s just a case that they didn’t seem to reflect the same magic they had pre-showtime, but no matter whom it is, one thing that always bothered me was the phony “Personal Camera” moments in which basically, in reality shows, contestants have little segments where their confessionals are spliced in between the show to add some insight to the situation.

Now, in a lot of shows, it’s clear when these confessionals are forced or scripted, and in The Tester, it’s rampant. Or maybe they do actual, real confessionals. Or maybe they’re really nice when not on screen? I don’t know. But no matter what the case is, they just seem unnatural.

A Panel of Producers

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One of these contestants will work for Santa Monica... Someone save us.

At the end of each episode, after the contestants have completed their challenge, the losing team or contestants must face a panel of judges who will decide the person going home. This is always the most controversial part of the show, as it is in many reality shows. But it’s particularly controversial because this is where the show almost always takes a wrong turn. Generally, we would assume that the contestant who showed the least effort and failed in the challenge, along with past failures, would go home. Sadly, that’s not how it goes down in The Tester. See, in The Tester, you can do everything right, or you can redeem for your past performances; it doesn’t matter. I’ll make an example out of one of the more recent episodes: episode 3 of season 3.

In the challenge, two teams had to go through an obstacle course, carry cantaloupes along the way, and each member must hit a target with a cantaloupe to complete the challenge. The losing team had two significantly weak members; burnNibelheim and Suzkaiden. One refused to carry ammo to the slingshot, and the other struggled to hit her target compared to the rest of the team. It might make sense to send either home, correct?

Well, for those who don’t watch the show, Suzkaiden is basically the villain in the show; she has a horrific attitude, and she constantly opposes the other contestants. Her brash attitude has even been signified by other contestants in front of the judges during elimination at every judging this season. And yet, despite all of the clear reasons to send this girl home, who did they eliminate?

Egoraptor, a contestant that didn’t perform poorly and who has a huge fan-base among the internet. The judges claimed that Egoraptor wasn’t being a team-player because he didn’t help out his team-mates with the launching of the cantaloupes and therefore abandoned them. Yes, this is true. He did leave… to retrieve more ammo for the team! And yes, Egoraptor did shoot his target on the first try, but to be honest, that was sheer luck. If you’ve seen the set-up they had, then you’ll know that it wasn’t science.

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Shooting fruit from a slingshot is just as mindless as it seems.

The reason why they sent Egoraptor, and then later burnNibelheim, was because they needed to keep Suzkaiden for- you guessed it, drama! Oh, drama. It keeps the world spinning. And it also, supposedly, keeps viewers.

But don’t blame the judges; they’re just doing whatever the producers tell them to. The producers believe that keeping contestants who create conflicts will gain views, as if they know people will always come for that stuff. But the problem here is that the villain isn’t even that interesting, or that bad; she just yells a lot. And thanks to the elimination of Egoraptor, many Egoraptor and Xbox fan-boys have been bombarding forums and The Tester YouTube videos with constant hate. So, I would say their plan has back-fired this time, and if we’re talking about butt-hurt internet people, then this injury will last for a while.

I hope the producers for the show will learn from their mistakes after this fiasco. If you search up the episode that I’m talking about, or now any Tester-related videos, you may see that the “Dislike” bar is the majority. Let them take this as sign to change the way they do the show. And for the onslaught of Egoraptor/Xbox fan-boys, go do something else. All of the abrasive comments are pointless, rude, and degrading to the show and Egoraptor himself. While some of them demand change, complaining about it in a ridiculous manner won’t get you anywhere.

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#2 Jared


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Posted 29 February 2012 - 03:28 PM

Egoraptor gets sent home for getting melons.
Redhead gets sent home for not getting melons.

I'm sure anyone could see why that's silly. Apparently a few of the contestants update on youtube and answer questions if you felt like looking into that.

#3 Marcus Estrada

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 03:38 PM

Personally I'm glad Egoraptor got sent home although not from this episode. He should have been kicked out during the first elimination - and would have been if he weren't, well, internet famous. Sony obviously kept him on board just a bit longer because he brought a huge new audience for the show. Too bad he's not a really stand out guy though or maybe he would have been kept in longer.

As for Suzkaiden being kept, yeah, she's a big mess. However, the way the girls keep ganging up on her really reflects badly on THEM as opposed to her. Sure she starts drama in the house and field sometimes, but being all "boo hoo" to the judges hardly seems the way to go. Unless Suzkaiden did something really awful though, like maybe beat up another contestant.

I want to know what keeps me watching. Many of the people are annoying and the ones who I don't think are hardly get enough air time. :P

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#4 sirdan357


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Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:58 PM

I like that they have original programming for PSN, but I hope in the future they can do better than a crappy reality show that gives the winner one of the worst jobs in gaming. I would like something similar to The Guild, something entertaining that would take a little more effort on their part than this bottom-barrel stuff.

#5 Emilia Clarke

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 01:10 PM

I love watching this only because its kinda unique idea for a reality show. My friends and I get together every other Friday or so and watch an episode or two for a good laugh.

But yeah, the judging is and always has been a bit ridiculous.

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