Grand Finale - The Final Episode of Nintendo Week and The Tester

Jake Spencer
05 April 2012

Technology drives the video game world. Text adventures begat point-and-click graphical adventures as computer displays and input devices evolved.  The advent of fast 3D processing dictated the path from Super Mario World to Super Mario 64. Cut-scenes came into vogue as games moved from cartridges to discs.

The interminable march of progress doesn't only affect games, but all aspects of a console. As of this generation, high-speed Internet connections and streaming video are now standard features of any game hardware. Both Hulu and Netflix offer hundreds of movies and TV shows to watch instantly on Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. These services have found tremendous success.

Prior to licensing existing content, however, the console makers thought to leverage their systems' video streaming capabilities with original programming. In the past week, we've seen two such series come to an end after several on the not-air. Today, we'll take a look at the final episode of PlayStation 3's The Tester and Wii's Nintendo Week.

The Tester documents the arduous but rewarding journey one must face to enter the video game field. Each season, a new group of talented young hopefuls is selected to compete in weekly challenges that test their gamemaking talents, and the weakest contestant is eliminated at the end of every episode. The last man or woman standing wins the coveted job of PlayStation game tester, hence the name of the show.

By the way, everything in the above paragraph is a lie. The Tester is a trashy reality show. The challenges are arbitrary, and reveal nothing about one's aptitude to work in the games industry, which doesn't matter much, since the judges flagrantly ignore the outcome, instead kicking off whoever is providing the cameras with the least drama. And while the winners of the first two seasons did win game testing jobs (which, by the way, is entry-level work), the prize has changed for The Tester 3. You can't even trust the show's title.

The third season finale of The Tester opens with a recap of the humiliating indignities our contestants have endured thus far this season, from dressing as clowns, to being covered in hissing cockroaches. You know - game development stuff.

During this montage, we also get voiceover from the final three competitors, who go by the names "akilleezmight," "krystipryde," and "RealityPalez." akilleez tells us that he's the strongest competitor. krysti and Reality tell us that akilleez is the strongest competitor. Who will come emerge victorious? We're in for a riveting half-hour!

But first... it's breakfast time. Judges Brent Gocke and Adrianne Curry stop by "PlayStation Paradise" (the re-purposed storage unit where our would-be testers are held between challenges) for omelets and orange juice.

"So, how has it been living in the loft? Isn't this place cool?" Brent asks, gesturing toward a conspicuous Progressive Insurance logo.

After a few more minutes of awkward, halting conversation (Brent asks the contestants if they'd be willing to move to California if they win the competition they entered to win a job in California), the judges and exit, and the final challenge begins...

...after several minutes of watching the competitors change clothes, ride in a Ford SUV, and talk about how awesome akilleezmight is. Then, at last, it's time for the ultimate test...

...but first, our heroes are bound to stakes in the desert and forced to listen to the rules of the challenge, which consists of four "levels" based on Starhawk. Hey - Starhawk is a video game! This is going to be good. All right! Let's get started!

...As soon as our host finishes reminding us of the prizes that await the victor:

1. A Production Associate job at Sony's Santa Monica Studios. (What is a "Production Associate?" Someone... associated with a product?)
2. A PlayStation 3. (Because it's not like the winner would already have one.)
3. A Sony 3DTV. (If you're still watching reality TV in 2D, you don't know what you're missing.)
4. $5,000
5. A 2012 Ford Focus Titanium (Oh.)
6. Two years of car insurance. (Ohhhhhhhhhh.)

Ready? Good, let's do this Starhawk challenge.

Are you following all of this so far?

Don't worry about it. Let's watch this sweet Ford F150 SVT Raptor cruise through the desert.

Built Ford Tough.

Okay, we're back in the studio for Level 4, in which the competitors have themselves a little video game showdown. The first person to complete some task in Starhawk (we're not told what), will get to leave an old lunchbox inside a dinosaur statue. Or something.

The challenge thus far lead me to believe that Starhawk is a game about ropes, puzzles, and Easter egg hunts in the desert, but, nope, it's a cover-based third-person shooter.

akilleezmight wins.