PSLS Presents – Will Powers, The Tester

April 13, 2010 Written by Kyle P.

Just under one week ago, gaming’s first genuine “reality show”, The Tester on PlayStation Network, concluded after eight suspenseful weeks. The show grew instantaneous popularity with gamers as it was centered around gaming themes and gave the winner a coveted position as a QA tester as well as a $5000 signing bonus. Fighting adversity and quickly becoming a fan favorite, Cyrus won the final challenge in an adrenaline-pumping fashion. Below, Cyrus not only reveals interesting details, but gives us insight into what he’s all about. Enjoy!

Before we dive into The Tester, tell us a little about yourself, Will.

23 year old male originally from Los Angeles.  I moved out east after an earthquake destroyed my house in ’94.  Then I ended up going to college in Chapel Hill, NC (UNC) to study Japanese / Asian Studies (graduated in ’08).

With your site, The Power Review, and other channels, you have voiced your opinion on gaming matters for some time now. Now that you are an employee of Sony, will you still continue to post reviews and news? Or is that stage of your career finished?

No, I don’t think this chapter is finished for me.  I have actually had quite a few people approach me recently with interest to write for my site.  I have always considered my site a side project and a ‘labor of love’ for whenever I had something on my mind and needed an outlet to express it through.

How long have you wanted to work in the video game industry? Did you ever consider becoming a journalist?

I have wanted to work in the gaming industry ever since I graduated college two years ago.  I have briefly considered looking into gaming journalist (full-time), but there are a couple of barriers with my lack of journalist degree.  However, if there was ever an offer in the future from a company looking to hire me to write for them, I would not be opposed to considering it.

When you first found out about The Tester, what were you feelings about it? Did you instantly want to apply? What was your thought process?

I frequent the PS Blog daily, so I saw the audition request immediately when it was posted.  Originally I hesitated to apply simply because I didn’t think that I would ever find my way through the thousands of people the inevitably would apply to such an opportunity.  Little did I know that this was going to be my lucky break.

One of the primary complaints of the show was that there was very little “down-time”, only competitions and eliminations. Certainly, a lot must have went down that didn’t make it into the final cut. What was your favorite moment that was edited down or not shown at all?

Well, especially in the beginning when there were 11 contestants, yet the episodes were only 22 minutes long, it makes sense that they can’t really highlight individuals for that long.  I think more towards the end of the season the problem was remedied.  One thing that was taken completely out of the show was the fact that there was an air hockey table in the loft.  We had EPIC duels in air hockey, and you could imagine with as competitive as everyone in that house was, these battles were just as heated as if we had been holding controllers.

At least from watching the show, it seemed like all of the competitors got along just fine. Was there any bad blood between anyone?

Of course there was tension between competitors during the competition, but isn’t that the nature of the beast when we’re all fighting for the same position?  In the end, since we didn’t have to vote each other off, it made it so that they were a lot less bad blood.  Now that the season is over, I’d like to say that I get along with everyone that was on cast.

Judging by the premise of the show, it seemed like the challenges would be geared towards actual game playing. However, it was discovered early-on that the challenges would focus more on the general skills–such as teamwork, communication and stress management–associated with being a game tester. What was your favorite challenge? Least favorite?

Well, I think that was an incorrect assumption on everyone’s part (media, contestants, and audience) that the challenges were going to be about gaming.  In the end, I think that these challenges that were featured on the show were more entertaining, but more so a better indicator of general skills that are going to be important for any employee to have.  Because of course, wasn’t the whole competition just a drawn out job interview?

Most favorite – Buzz! Because I got to showcase my strengths.

Least favorite – Football challenge.  It was also the hardest because of coordinating movement between three people.

The Tester was unique because instead of following the general “reality show” format where the contestants vote each other off, you were put in front of a group of judges, some of which would be your potential boss, and then were eliminated. Did you feel at any one time during the show the wrong person was sent home?

Sure, of course I felt that there were times that the wrong person was sent home, but there was only one time that I felt as if it was unjustified.  I would have liked the judges to have asked Big D questions as well, since they gave Star the opportunity to answer additional questions before the panel.

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