Alpha Testing, 1(-2)


Alpha Testing, 1(-2)

(or why testing is considered desirable)

The Prequel

This is an exciting week. After last week’s published articles, things got a little busier for me – see my Spotlight ‘Trilogy’ for this week 😉 We also celebrated our 30th anniversary 🥳 and fortunately, Steve had already mentioned to write a second article, or rather, a prequel 😉 Diving a bit deeper into the game testing business. This seemed the absolute right time to do, so: here’s Steve!

The reason why I became a game tester is not an obvious one for most people. We are Christians and in the early beginnings of gaming, I already noticed a lot of them were not really appropriate for us. When the kids started to get interested, I felt the need for the games to be tested only grew. I wanted to be sure they would not engage in something inappropriate and I wanted to be aware of what was going around.

A lot of games are not particular written for us as Christians.They are occult (= involving or relating to mystical, supernatural, or magical powers, practices, or phenomena): Witchcraft and Dark Dungeons are not really okay for a child’s mind.

Max Payne – occult scene

Even I find some of the ‘adult’ games very frightening. I will test them, but they never actually end up on my playing list. I’ve been Testing and Playing since the beginning, one that did end up on my playing list, but is still doubtful in my eyes is ‘Destiny’.

Blood, Violence, Language – Teen Appropriate??

There have been times the game scared the heck out of me, when turning a corner and some evil enemy thing was waiting for me. I always thought of putting my findings of certain games on a Web Site, but I never got to that point. I still think I need to do it one day.

The first game I’ve played where I became aware of the inappropriateness for Christians is ‘Prince of Persia’, the DOS version, where I needed to deal with questions from children, for instance:

Why is he dying when he falls down?

Why are those things killing him? (referring to spike-lances in a hole).

Why is the game over when he is dying?

Huh? I need to start over again?

Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia

For us Christians and especially for our children it’s not obvious, to fall down and get killed. Why is there nothing what he can grab, to hold on to, or why is there no solid ground to drop onto. This made me even more aware how children are not thinking like us adults and I saw the same issues and questions rising with my own children.

So I figured it was time to find out what these games are all about, regarding their content, the story line and so on. Because if or when my kids would start playing them, I needed clear answers to their questions. As a parent I am directly responsible for the welfare of my kids, but also as a Christian leader and missionary, setting an example is important. And since IT / gaming always had my interest (see the previous article) you could say this caused me to take testing very seriously.

A little breather – This is what Steve is listening to while gaming –
his absolute fav and example on bass – Marcus Miller – Solidarity of Arts part 1

Now my children are adults and they know what they are playing and for them I know it’s obvious not to play every game. They’ve learned from my game testing, that certain games are not OK, just as some movies are not OK.

When they were small, we had to make choices for them, but they have been adults for some time now and they grew into making their own choices, something we have always felt strongly about. I can only hope that as a parent, I have contributed to making the right ones.

I’ve been testing and gaming now already for 40+ years and the questions regarding any game-testing remain the same:

Is this an OK game for me, would a child experience any nightmares from it?

How does the game content looks like, graphically speaking?

What is the story line about?

How are the game mechanics working? – the way you move and play the game.

How big are the maps which you can explore?

Is the game fast too play?

And because nowadays the games are all Cloud based:

  • Do you experience LAG. (LAG is Latency you experiencing when Computers are not fast enough to show on the screen what you are doing, through mouse or Keyboard (Data Input).
  • How much FPS (Frame per Seconds) is the game, today games can display 30 FPS or even more. The newest consoles and game computers are capable of 60 FPS. Computers even more. Also your screen/TV needs to be capable of handling this. When you are playing cloud based games, the Data Trans-version from the Game Server to your device needs to be very fast. Otherwise there’s no point of playing this game, when the game does the old Slide Show Projector Motions.
  • Is my internet connection fast enough to properly play this particular game? I always make sure my internet connection is the fastest I can get from an ISP in my area, this due to my work as an IT Professional and gamer.
  • Do I need to connect my Wireless Connector to the Console directly?
  • Do I need to hook up a wired keyboard or mouse to my Computer/PC/Game Laptop?
Marcus Miller – Brazilian Rhyme

At the moment, I don’t get easily excited about a new game, at least not enough to actually buy it. The Microsoft Game Pass filled that gap for me. Before, a lot of games were bought based on the game trailer, but when I got to actually play the game, it often wasn’t what I was expecting at all.

I ended up with a lot of hard copies from games I really don’t play anymore. With the current game pass, I can play and test the game before I decide to buy it. And with Microsoft Xbox Live Gold, you get 3 Games every month twice, you can own these games yourself for free.

The first game I bought, played and followed for a long time was ‘Tomb Raider’

Tomb Raider

The last Xbox game I bought was already a couple of months on my wishing list:

SW Jedi: Fallen Order

 I like this game, because it actually combines mechanics from different games into one. Including the game mechanics from ‘Tomb Raider’. I would call this a ‘complete game’ because of the mechanics, the massive maps to explore and the story line. They click as one and appeal to the gamer, as well as to the Star Wars fan in me. I would love to see more DLC (Down Loadable Content), however, the beginning is awesome.

And for PC this is the latest I bought a couple of weeks back:

Age of Empire II

Big Thank you Steve ❤️. It’s really nice we can share our (different) interests with everybody here. I hope you all like what you’re reading, let me know! And if you crave my story this week, check the Spotlight section, I will be there!

Sapthu Family Crest – design by Steve





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