The first episode of the PlayStation Network reality show is here and I'm about to watch all 23 glorious minutes of eleven people fighting for a QA position at Sony Computer Entertainment. Now who has the dream job?!
I've downloaded the 995 MB episode, in high definition, of course, to see just how entertaining The Tester will be. Which PlayStation video game luminaries will make appearances? Who will be judged unworthy of bug-testing video games and sent packing? Will I pause the show to get up and pour myself a drink?
Read on for blow by blow liveblogging of the very first episode. If you've already downloaded episode one of The Tester from the PlayStation Store, watch with us. If not, download it to satisfy your genuine or morbid curiosity. It's free!
It's finally here! I hit the play button. They're going over what The Tester is—11 contestants vying for a testing position at Sony in the QA dept. The ultimate dream job, to some.
First contestant is the girl with the handle "Star," the one with all the shit in her face. She's a pro gamer and is really serious about this whole thing.
Next up, "Cyrus." "I've been in gaming since as far as I can remember," he says. The whole cast is being shuttled in a black van to The Tester set. Here comes "Amped" aka the Cute One, a cheerleading coach.
Here's the host Meredith Molinari, who is very animated. She says "coveted job of PlayStation game tester" with great enthusiasm and gets the 11 tester contestants pumped up with the promise of a $5000 signing bonus. So far, so good.
Oh, here comes "Goof!" "I really want it," Goof says. How bad do you want it, Goof?
Meredith threatens that the challenges may be heartbreaking. There are two contestants wearing sunglasses indoors, normally the kind of thing you should be ridiculed for, but I bet the lights are pretty bright in the Tester studio.
Now, onto the PlayStation and Sony product placement.
"Nauseous" is VERY impressed by the Bravias and various generation PlayStations on the set. Amped is impressed by the PlayStation badges. We're really setting the bar pretty low here.
Wait, there's another female contestant I don't remember seeing before, "Luge." She's got a sweet New Yorker accent and is nerdy cute in a way. Not obviously as telegenic as Amped, but more endearing.
"Barmy," the dandy of the group, aka Vest Man aka The Shy Thoughtful One, gets his monologue. He seems impressed with his own ability to read people and sounds like he perceives himself to be quite the tactician. He must've have watched some Flavor Of Love to brush up.
"Doc" attempts to flirt with Amped by saying she has a face for television, with some self deprecation thrown in. He also outs Star as a pro gamer, a Guitar Hero "threat." [She was on WCG Ultimate Gamer on Sci Fi, then known as Ciji aka "StarSlay3r."]
Excellent. Notes to the contestants are delivered through the PlayStation Network messaging system. "Barmy" is really excited to survey the other contestants. He's the outsider of the group, supposedly by choice. The group thinks they are about to play some Eye of Judgment. Surprisingly, no one gives up at this point.
The Tester Lab, where these little contests are going to go down, looks a bit like a Saw torture puzzle. Oh, the esteemed judging panel is here!
Judge number one is Brent Gocke, "release manager for global platform first party quality assurance," according to Meredith. But you probably know that! Brent's a former tester, he says. I should have started counting the number of times "A-game" is used in this episode.
Hal Sparks is on, putting on a brave face. He's the "celebrity" judge I guess.
Finally, Petro Piaseckyj, managing producer for PlayStation international software at Sony, who I'll just call Petro from now on. No point in trying to spell that last name correctly ever again. He's worked on Heavy Rain, EyePet and Buzz. Petro calls testing the "backbone" of game development.
Star looks worried and weathered.
Meredith is going to give the 11 contestants some sort of bug-testing exercise. Doesn't look like they'll actually play a game and seek out bugs, as that would be incredibly boring. And no one at Sony wants to show a buggy game in a show that literally tens of hundreds of people will probably watch.
Cyrus says he's "scared shitless" to take the challenge, which is looking at a pair of pictures, calling out the differences between the two. This is intense!!
Doc is up next, he's like "Bam! Bam! Bam!" but he's also like "Duh." Seriously! He said "duh." He crashes, setting up far too many jokes about his weight. Too bad.
The rest of the contestants burn through all this Highlights For Kids inspired contest. Hey, there's a Heavenly Sword cameo! Uh-oh, looks like Barmy didn't do so well. And Nauseous isn't doing so well either. It's still reality show intense. Buzzers are buzzing. Panic inducing music induces minor heart palpitations.
Wait, her handle is Fame Girl? You know, the crying one from the Tester teaser trailer. I think she needs a better t-shirt for future episodes.
Here comes Luge. I like her. She seems alright. Just nerdy enough.
Man, they're going to show everyone going through this contest. When are they going to show these kids getting hammered, throwing haymakers at each other and crying to their parents on the phone?
Barmy... I'm feeling awkward on his behalf after his "We who are about to die salute you!" He's probably be most uncomfortable of the group.
The show is pretty stock stuff at this point. Meredith comes out and warns everyone that the contestant with the highest score is safe. You can guess what'll happen to the Tester with the lowest score. Yep. Hot tears of shame(TM).
Here we go. The standard elimination sequence. I'm happy there are no commercials. I couldn't take the tension otherwise!
The Tester with the highest score is...
LUGE! YES!!! She reminds me of a tinier Ralph Macchio, but female.
Here comes the critique. Petro is laying into Doc, saying that he wasn't professional. Doc's eyes are already a little bit wet. Amazing. Maybe they pump something into the atmosphere in these rooms.
The lowest scores: Barmy, Roni and Fame Girl. Barmy is greatly bothered by this, his vest clearly wrinkled. I'll be you five dollars Barmy owns a pipe.
Oh boy, Barmy just cracked a joke. It went over like a lead balloon. Please get this person off the show, Hal Sparks!! Woah, I think Hal just compared Barmy to Jeffrey Dahmer, which Barmy clearly did not appreciate.
Is this focus/defocus thing standard reality show camera work? I've really only watched Hogan Knows Best, for obvious reasons!
Oh no! Roni, the girl who got almost no face time or exhibited personality is eliminated.
Fame Girl and Barmy are in the remaining bottom two. And the judges kick off Barmy!
YESSSSSSS!!! Sorry Barmy, but I would only grow to despise you more as time goes on. We're down to nine Testers.
"I'd wanted to do better," he says, for his kids Stephanie and Allister, issuing a tearful goodbye. I can't look. What is with the crying, people? It's a show! And it's not even on BASIC CABLE.
Well, that's about it for this episode. Fame Girl vows to be number one in the next episode. Oh! Next week's teaser!
That would be the episode that sees the contestants in inflatable orbs being yelled at by their peers with bullhorns. Looks like there will be contestants in shorts and David Jaffe pointing fingers at people.
Good lord, more tears!
Well, that wraps it up. I'm officially interested to watch one more episode of The Tester, now that Barmy has packed up his vests and is headed home and that Luge will be back on. Will someone at SCEA please send me a PlayStation Network points card? The rest of these cost money, right?
Important liveblogging update: Is that really Cyrus from The Tester in the Kotaku comments? I'll bet he has interesting things to say about the show, but is likely legally obligated to avoid spoilers.