8 Bit Pro - A Gamer's Guide to Testing - Dan Billing

8 Bit Pro - A Gamer's Guide to Testing - Dan Billing


Hey N00bs!

Let me take you back in time to the 1980s and tell you a story. A story of an 8-year-old boy, seaside arcades, chunky cartridges, tape drives, floppy discs, pokes, cheats, and magazines full of code! This is the start of how I became a tester.

Video gaming is a massive world, financially, technically and also in terms of skills and development. Both the hardware and software aspects of the industry are in rapid states of change and flux, with huge competition for the loyalty of the customer base.

Gaming itself is often written off as a wasteful pastime. Hours of time are sunk into playing the latest games, just to get kudos amongst other fellow gamers. Some do take it to extremes and ignore all other aspects of their lives.

I would argue that gaming is a productive activity. Gamers test all the time. Gamers learn, fail and fail again, explore, model, tweak, mod, exploit and play to win! In this talk, we will discover how gaming can be a route to learning and better testing!

What models can be applied to games, that can also add value when testing? Similarly, what testing and other learning models can be applied when we solve gaming problems? What can open world games teach us about exploratory testing? What heuristics do we use when playing different genres of game, and how do we learn them? How does recognising these heuristics in games help us to strengthen our skills for when we are on the job.

So, don't be a camper. Don't get pwned. Let's discover together how gaming can really add huge XP to your testing!


  • Discover how aspects of gaming can assist in developing core testing skills, such as learning and exploration.
  • Develop an understanding of the heuristics of gaming, and how they can enhance our approaches when testing other kinds of software.
  • Be able to apply models to games, that compliment testing and vice versa.
  • How encouraging new skill acquisition such as programming and other tech skills, can be achieved by exploring the world of gaming.
  • Explore the stories of fellow testers who have tested video games, and how their careers have developed from this work.