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The first original live-action series distributed on a video game console, The Tester is a serialized reality program created by Sony Computer Entertainment and produced by 51 Minds. The Tester features eleven or twelve contestants, selected from thousands of applicants, competing in a variety of challenges to win a career at Sony Computer Entertainment as a game tester with a $5,000 signing bonus. The winner of the second season also received a Play Station 3 video game console and a Sony BRAVIA 3D Television. In the third season, the prize includes a chance to work at Santa Monica Studio as a "Production Associate" on an as-yet unannounced Sony blockbuster as well as a Ford Focus. The first season launched in North America on February 18, 2010 and new episodes were released weekly until the finale aired on April 8, 2010.

The program is available as a free download exclusively on the Play Station Network. Meredith Molinari is the host, guiding the contestants through military-style, physical challenges supposedly based on skills required of game testers, such as an eye for detail and effective communication. Each week, with the exception of the finale, at least one contestant is eliminated by a panel of three judges: release manager for Sony first-party quality assurance Brent Gocke, actor and comedian Hal Sparks (model Adrianne Curry in seasons 2 and 3), and a special guest judge. Eliminations are based on performance in the weekly challenges. For the finale, the three remaining contestants race each other in a final challenge with multiple chapters with the first contestant to complete all chapters crowned "the tester."


Tropes:

  • Artifact Title: As of season 3, it was realized that a minimum-wage job sitting in an uncomfortable chair playing the same level for hours on end wouldn't cut it any more as the main prize, so they added the extremely vague honor of "Production Associate" at Santa Monica Studios, which greatly overshadows the tester position. Regardless, some of the contestants still interview with their potential employers, and it's not obvious that they have any of the qualities that someone working in game industry usually has, such as artistic talent, experience with the game design process, or basic technical knowledge of how a video game is made.
  • A Wizard Did It: The likely explanation for how SkyD1ddy's ten-foot tall brick tower didn't collapse on itself, given the way it was constructed. Kristi Pryde even dubbed Sky a warlock for being able to pull it off (complete with Dramatic Thunder).
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Egoraptor is one of the third season competitors. No, really.
  • Jerkass: In the second season, Big Fazeek is mostly just a blunt, loud guy, with a vitriolic relationship with Warprincess, but he tends to refrain from doing anything especially bad out of malice. Hell, he makes some good points every now and then (like the absolutely confusing "story" made by Scooter, Ches-ka and Triplethreat), but he's still a pain about it. When he actively tried to Kick the Dog by planning to mock Warprincess for losing a game, he was stopped by Mo'Chocolate; he was ultimately eliminated for it.
    • Similarly, Suzkaiden in the third season. She kept screaming repeatedly in Spanish during a challenge, but when someone voiced a complaint that it wasn't exactly a teamwork friendly thing to do, that person was seen as a villain and kicked out. Fact ism Asuukaa wasn't doing very well and was ignoring the English advice from the rest of the team, and since the beginning of the series, Suzkaiden has basically been the subject of intense, seemingly unjustified loathing from the part of all female contestants, manufacturing an acceptable amount of "drama" for the show, which, of course, makes her more likely to stay on (Reality TV convention is to always keep on the biggest bitch until maybe the penultimate episode, if that.). Really, all the girls as portrayed in-show are about equally unlikeable.
    • Given Brent Gocke's apparent prejudice towards Egoraptor, many fans of the latter see him as this.
  • Product Placement: Extremely. The people who flatter and paint Sony products as great tend to receive more leniency from judges as well.
    • This reaches So Bad It's Good levels when they show gameplay from yet unreleased video games and a giant ESRB rating covers half the screen.
  • Manipulative Editing: This commentary by Egoraptor and Screw Attack basically showcases that it's absolutely full of it.
  • In Name Only: Several of the themed challenges have few, if any, connections to the game they're supposedly based on. In addition, there's very few actual connections to gaming itself, to the point where it's more like The Real World with Sony Product Placement.
  • Otaku: In the third season, ninjanomyx is singled out for living with his mother and collecting Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, and his Confession Cam moments deliver such brilliantly awkward lines as "ready like Betty-spaghetti," "y'all jelly. Y'all jelly and you want this too" and "they wanted to overcharge. They wanted to-". According to kwajaMonster, he is actually much more legit than portrayed, having grown up in the Bronx, and Ego confirmed that he's a really cool guy.
  • The Scrappy: Invoked, Egoraptor was pretty much disliked by the judges from day 1 and was kicked out in the third episode on basically having the bad luck to be on three losing teams in a row.
  • Straight Gay: Season 2's Gaymer.
  • Shadow Archetype: Doc, for the most part, was a nice guy and cared about other people, and didn't have any delusions of perfection about himself. He did a couple jerky things once in a while, but most of it seemed to just be saying or doing the wrong thing rather than actual malice. Meanwhile, Big Fazeek is what happens when Doc has a chip on his shoulder.
  • Villainy Free Villain: Egoraptor in Season 3 is treated by pretty much everyone as the main threat and villain thus far, largely due to Manipulative Editing. Anyone who's remotely familiar with Egoraptor knows this is ridiculous.
    • Egoraptor himself said he was on good terms with most of the teammates, making this even worse.
    • To drive the point home, Egoraptor gets kicked off... for actually trying to help the team.
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