Gamer Highlight – Nathan, the Games Tester

In Gamer Highlight I have been interviewing gamers from different fields of experience, from actual fields, to graphical fields.

I promised computer gamers, and computer gamers I have brought! Continuing from Beki’s Gamer Highlight last week, this week I interviewed Nathan, a Quality Assurance tester for Evolution Studios.

Gamer Highlight

Q: First things first, could you please introduce yourselves?

A: Well my name is Nathan Rigby, I’m an embedded QA for Sony – Evolution studios and I have a BSc in Game design. I have loved video games since I was young-ish but I’ve always been a well-rounded nerd but unfortunately I’ve never had the natural smarts to go full geek.

Q: What was the first computer game you ever played?

A: My first computer game that I remember was the game nine lives on the Atari, I don’t remember much about it now, except that you played as a cat (get it, nine lives) and it was basically a 2D platformer with things flying all over the screen and it was my first experience of rage quitting a game. I wasn’t really into gaming so much in secondary school, I was too busy playing outside (I don’t go out there now), but I remember my sister getting the first console in the house, a PlayStation, and being really jealous. I remember watching her playing Hercules and Rayman but my turn never came, until I received my Nintendo 64 and I was hooked, although I wasn’t interested in the PlayStation (my sister now left unused) for a long time.

Q: When did you decide to get into games design, and why?

A: This is quite a big question and requires a little back knowledge. For my first 2 years at school I never really had many friends, I had 1 main friend and that was enough for me. I remember my first visit to my friend’s house when I went home from school one night and my mum took me round to stay over. When I arrived he was sitting crossed legged inches from his big CRT TV, playing final fantasy 7. This is when my love for the PlayStation began. I borrowed the game from him when he was done and dusted off that old PlayStation and played it for hours. My friend and I spent a lot more time hanging out at his house playing Diablo 1 and Duke Nukem 3D on the pc – this then progressed to total annihilation and eventually Warcraft 3.

So needless to say I was a gaming addict, but I went to a Roman Catholic school and they did not see games design as a viable carrier choice, so I spent my life ignoring school and playing games in the IT lab at lunch and at my friend’s house after school and on weekends. The only thing I learned at school was that I loved working with PCs, playing games and that I was pretty good at it.

After school I spent 2 years messing about, mostly jumping around terrible jobs and playing Diablo 2 with my other friends (I had accumulated), this is also when I got into Magic: The Gathering and D&D. My friend from the school was always very work orientated, he always had a plan and moved forward with his life, where as I had kind of stalled, he convinced me to apply to college and even filled out the application form for me.

I was accepted to college with a little lying about my grades and started in a computer support course, this involved pc repair, a little programming and thanks to my new nerdy class mates, a lot of world of Warcraft. College eventually progressed into uni where I signed on for a networking course (which was super boring) and spent a lot of time playing my games, until I realised, a few people in my halls were on a gaming course (one of those people was the person who convinced me to write this article) and the moment I realised that creating games wasn’t just a pipe dream, that geniuses in basements made, I dropped my networking course, switched courses and the rest is history.

Q: What do you do at evolution studios?

A: I haven’t been at evolution very long but when I started I was put on to the online/multiplayer section. I started working under a great guy who showed me the ropes and I was given the parties section to look after. My work in parties is almost complete now, so I mostly help with the rest of online. We all work as great team but I still have the most knowledge with parties but we all help each other out and find the time for a game of Magic every now and then.

Q: Given the opportunity, what game idea would you like to make reality?

A: That’s a tough question since I love making any game a reality, I have a few ideas of my own but I’ve always felt like I am a support class I’m happy to sit in the background and help good people to reach greatness, if I can. Although I would like to work on World of Warcraft still.

Q: What, in your opinion, makes a good game?

A: Immersion, freedom and friends if I have 2 of these 3 in a game I’m happy. There’s nothing better than sitting down with my headphones on and losing myself in a huge open world. I don’t care where I’m going or what I’m doing, as long as I have the choice what to do, where to go and I’ve got a buddy by my side, I may never take those headphones off.

Q: Final question, how has gaming affected your life to date?

A: Gaming has given me friends, a purpose, money, and a great girl on my arm.

How you ask, in every way possible.

Nathan, like me, has lived his life immersed in games. He succeeded at getting his design qualifications and breaking into the industry, while I left university to write about it.

When I met Nathan, gaming was what we bonded over, and he was also one of my first D&D players, and one of the two people who trained me in DMing to begin with. He shared gaming with me in the same way his friends did with him. Though I only see him and Beki about once a year, I still consider them to be two of my best friends because of all they’ve done, and how they’ve changed the trajectory of my life.

Big thanks to Nathan for an awesome interview and for introducing me to the game that devoured my life….

Or is that a good thing?

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