Joy of joys! I had the opportunity to speak to the fantastically charming Iggle, Tamara. She is one of the fabulous geek girls who attended our Brooklyn Meet Up a couple of years ago:
And something I learned about Tamara, besides the fact that she is generally adorable and has the cutest dog ever named Pixel, is that she works at Rockstar Games! The company behind such hilarious and crazy games as Bully, and Grand Theft Auto. Let’s hear a little bit about her job.
1. Tamara! Thank you so much for doing this interview… can you tell me – What’s your job title and where do you work?
I’m a Lead Game Analyst, and I work for Rockstar Games.
2. Can you tell us a bit about the company you work for, what they do, and what makes them awesome?
Times like this I usually like to defer to the Wiki, it sums it up better than I could 🙂
“Rockstar Games is a multinational video game developer and publisher based in New York City, owned byTake-Two Interactive following its purchase of British video game publisher BMG Interactive. The publisher are known for the Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, L.A. Noire, The Warriors, Bully, Manhunt, Midn
3. When did you first realize you wanted to get into the video game industry professionally?
I’ve loved games ever since I was a young child, and most of my jobs as a teen revolved around them. My interests in games was always strong, so when working in retail I found myself gravitating toward video game departments. So you could say it was a passion that followed me right from home to the workplace.
4. What did you go to school for? Did school primarily help you for this job, or did other hobbies, work experience, and personal learning on your own time help more?
I was taking Journalism in college, so English and grammar translated into this job, as a majority of what I do is communication based.
That said, one of my primary hobbies was/is gaming, so I felt just as natural with a controller in hand as I did a pen.
5. What’s a typical work day like?
Is it typical to say that it would be non-typical to have a typical work day? That aside, every day brings about something different. I could be going in with the idea to test one title, and end up assisting in reproducing any issues that consumers might be having with one of our products. I work in a team that tests the games, as well as work together to continue to support games that were already released.
6. What sort of specific role do you play in getting a game from concept to the store shelf?
My part is far from the concept side and much closer to the store shelf part of the process. I tend to see games several months before release, with the purpose of seeking out, reproducing, and reporting software bugs. I work within an International team to ensure these issues are reported to the correct individuals.
By the time the title is in consumers hands it’s meant to be as bug free as possible.
7. What games have you worked on/tested that we would have heard of?
I’ve been working at Rockstar Games for a little over 9 years, so I’ve been super fortunate to have been on the test teams for several games over the years. To name a few titles/series: Midnight Club, Bully, Max Payne, and Grand Theft Auto.
8. At times, the video game industry has been stereo-typed as being a “man’s world.” Are there a lot of women in your workplace? Do you ever feel like you have to make a special effort to hold your own as a women, or are you treated as a total equal?
I’ve read about a lot of things, and even went through a few unpleasant experiences in the past when working on a retail level with games, but I can’t really comment on the industry as a whole as there’s obviously room for improvement in general. So I’d like to just confirm that I’m just speaking from my personal take on things working at a single company.
My cubicle mate is a fantastic and talented lady. Where I work there are lots of women across various departments, right up to the highest level positions including our VP of Publishing and Marketing. Rockstar is also LGBT friendly. I make my efforts to stand out and try to succeed just as anyone else would in a large company.
9. What’s the most interesting and exciting part of your job? What has been most rewarding part of your job?
Demos. It doesn’t happen often, but in the past the company has attended some conventions to showcase a part of an upcoming game. I often volunteer to help because I really like conventions!
Actually, I’m terrified of crowds, but seeing people excited to check out a game that has your name somewhere in the credits is what dreams are made of. Being even the tiniest little corner bit of a 5000+ piece puzzle is truly an inspired feeling.
Also, sometimes I give the game manuals to my dad and he puts them on the fridge like I received an ‘A’ in school. I’m 30 years old, but that still gets me right in the feels.
10. What are some of the more unusual perks of your job?- Hearing yourself in game. The worlds that are built for these games are so huge, and full of so many characters, occasionally we get to do voice overs. I was once body scanned for a pedestrian in a game, so not only did I get to hear myself, I totally ran myself over. I’d like to think being able to say “Oh hey that’s my body! Time to run myself over.” is a good perk.
11. What would you offer as advice to someone who wanted to get into the same type of job as you?
Don’t be afraid to look, don’t be afraid to apply. Companies list open positions on their sites often. A lot of people just assume that these mail boxes get flooded and no one ever gets in. It’s true, larger companies get a ton of applicants, but they do go through them, and it’s a lot harder to get a job when you don’t apply for it. While I joined the company at an entry level position, I had gotten some small freelance work prior to learn more about testing and to try and beef-up my retail heavy resume. If I were afraid to apply because of my lack of experience I would never find myself in positions to gain said experience. Passion and willingness to learn go a long way.
If you’re still in school, just try and do your best, you really don’t know what might come in handy in the future. Creative writing, ability to stick to deadlines, attention to details, organization skills – I never would have guessed in all of my years that I’d one day be thankful for being given homework.
Do you have a cool job, or know someone who has a cool job? We would love to interview them! Leave a comment and let us know!