In response to "I Got A Golden Ticket?" from The Escapist Forum: Ah, QA. Done a bit of it myself but only for smaller groups and smaller projects, where it was borderline sane. The larger project stuff where the testers are treated like light bulbs - use 'em, take 'em for granted, replace 'em when they burn out - I've avoided like the plague. I did my time at a call centre, I don't want to relive that same kind of hell.
Back when someone had that win-a-beta-testing-job reality show, Penny Arcade did a comic summing up neatly why that was not a prize to compete for. But the best part was the PATV episode that went with it, where they gave real-world examples people have been subjected to:
1) Stress testing a console DVD player tray. You think they got a machine for that? Machine's not smart enough to tell when something's wrong, I guess. Imagine a room full of people whose sole job is to open and close a DVD tray until it stops working.
2) A Gameboy baseball game, with stats! Stats not computing right. Gotta play a full regular season of baseball (almost 200 games), do the stats by hand, and see if they match up. New build? Do it again! How to get very good at math.
3) Pokemon Snap. Nintendo wanted to make sure you couldn't take any pictures that could be construed as sexual. Imagine playing that all day, for months, and having to try sexualize every picture of a Pokemon you take in an effort to stop someone else from doing the same.
And, as they said, this is 80-100 hours per week. You're gonna burn out fast, so the company works you as hard as possible.
Whenever you make something you enjoy as a hobby, originally, into a profession it usually doesn't end well.
I know I did that with hockey. After H.S. I spent a few years playing Jr.A hockey, 6-10 hours a day of hockey, working out, practicing, etc...and it sapped the fun from the sport for me. I still enjoy skating with friends and family, and doing pickup hockey. I have absolutely no interest in playing it competitively again - it's funny. When I watch hoceky on TV or live I go into this analytical mode, and I can't enjoy the spectacle of it. It get so wrapped up in thinking about hip, body, stick, puck, etc...position, and all the dirty/cheap stuff that's done that the layperson never sees. I don't regret attempting to play hockey professionally, but I know how much something like that can be romanticized - after all you're playing a game for a living...right?
It's probably why I enjoy watching sports I've never played immensely.
Also, I'm sorry you had to suffer through The Matrix Online. I had a friend try to get me into the game, oh man, was it boring. It had some cool ideas, like in-game events that shaped the servers, and apparently had a pretty sweet RP community if you were lucky enough to be on one of those server. However, as you said, the game was just so devoid of anything to do.
In response to "Curing the Noobonic Plague" from The Escapist Forum: About the only way you ever see intelligent and reasonable comments on a YouTube video is if it's a video that, and this is key here, almost no one has seen. If it's not directed at a niche audience and languishing in obscurity, then the hordes of semi-literate assholes have doubtless descended en mass upon it.
Essentially, YouTube combines all the stupidest people in existence into one hideous gestalt force of stupidity, able to disappoint at a level previously inconceivable for mere mortal agents of idiocy - basically it's like a retarded version of Voltron.
Singling out the asshat commentators from gaming videos, while certainly justified (since they are asshats) is consequently somewhat misleading.
Excellent article on a a topic that needs serious attention from every person in the gaming universe.
While that tendency to unthinkingly fall into us/them groups may be a naturally occurring behavior, it's one that needs to be 'thinkingly' fought against.
The best possible attitude for all of us would be one of the more people in the pool, the better. Because that means the pool gets bigger and more varied as a result, and all of us win as gamers when that happens.
So called casual gaming is a huge breakthrough that everyone should be excited and welcoming about. More games, on more platforms, because of more people gaming. Awesome. But it inevitably means more beginners showing up too.
Take the extra time or effort or patience and be an ambassador for the hobby you love and guide someone into being the type of gaming "citizen" you want to spend gaming time with. You won't ever regret doing so and might very well be helping yourself for your own future gaming as a result.
This is all FTW.