Interview: This is not a test.
Gaming Target: This Is Evan McCaffrey, freelance video game writer, talking to Samuel Castanon III, from the PSN show "The Tester." How's it going Sam?
Samuel Castanon III:
It's going awesome man.
Gaming Target: Or should I say "Doc?"
(Laughs) Yeah I'm more commonly known as Doc, for sure.
Gaming Target: Did you have that nickname before you went on the show? Or was it just given to you?
You know what, "Doc" is a common reference to any corp-man or military medic.
Gaming Target: Oh, 'cause you work as a paramedic, correct?
Yeah I'm a firefighter, EMT here in Washington.
Gaming Target: So it doesn't have anything to do with that? It's a military thing?
Gaming Target: So you were in the Marines?
I was in the Marine Corp right out of high school. I was fortunate enough to go to the first desert conflict. Which was easy money cause we just sat around and chased camel fighters all day. I was definitely proud to serve in any roll that I could for my country. I was even more fortunate to be able to part of the 2336 Alpha category, which was EOD (explosive ordinance and disposal).
Gaming Target: Oh Wow. So you dealt with disarming explosives?
Oh yeah, I definitely did.
Gaming Target: So you did a Hurt Locker kind of thing.
The Hurt Locker
was the army version of it. And the guy that was based off of it had a lot of diffusing experience. Yeah it was on the same level as that.
Gaming Target: How long were you in the Marine Corps for?
I was in the Marine Corps for 3 ? glorious years. In hindsight I probably would have made a career out of it by now.
Gaming Target: What was the deciding factor that made you switch out of it?
You know, the one deciding factor that makes most guys change their minds is girls. (Laughs)
Gaming Target: All right, so you lefty the Marine Corps. Now you're pursuing a career in video games. How's that going for you? What have you been up to since you left the show?
Since I left the show I'm now on staff for PlayStationLifestyle.net And I'm looking there to add my input about what's coming out in the gaming industry and give a really honest non-contrived point of view about what people can expect from upcoming games.
Gaming Target: Do you feel that where you are now is what you want to be doing in the video game industry, or are you going to use it as a jumping point to set off on a different path?
You know, I'm going to see how it goes. But my main objective is to basically have my opinion count for something in the industry whether it be music, development, any of that stuff. I just want a credible voice on what people are going to spend their hard-earned money on.
Gaming Target: I hear you, that's why I write for video game websites myself. But let's talk about the show. This is the first time a show has been experienced in this kind of medium, the PSN. Do you feel that, based on the success of this show, that other shows like it will appear on the PSN or other consoles?
You know, they have opened the door, now everyone else is going to try and step through it. You're more likely going to see good and bad coming out of this first generation of products.
Gaming Target: Do you feel that this show is successful in that it is trying to be a pioneer for this kind of program?
I think it has, and what I base that on is watching and reading on the web and talking with different fans. A lot of people don't understand what basic testers do. When they do get an understanding of what basic testers do, they're like "What the heck are you guys doing?" (Laughs) It's using a great media that shows everyone what brings a game together, and I think they're doing a fair representation on that.
Gaming Target: You just mentioned that most people don't understand what being a game tester is. The prize for this competition is $5000 and the chance to become a video game tester. A lot of people have given that prize a lot of slack, saying you won an entry-level position, congratulations. What are your thoughts on the backlash on the prize?
I think it's appropriate for what they're doing. You gotta think, this is the first chance; people don't just throw out the million-dollar prize the first round. The person who ends up with this job, I don't believe they will actually be the entry-level tester. Sony has created a high profile position. They created a position that the testers who have been there two or three years are going to hate.
Gaming Target: So you come in and you're automatically above those guys, and you're going to be pissing them off because they have been there so long.
Yeah. Sony is basically setting the ground for a gamer geek schoolyard fight.
Gaming Target: Ha, yeah. OK, so let's talk about the process you had to go through to get on the show. How did you actually become a contestant on The Tester?
Well, first they put out the ad. It was on the PlayStation.Blog. They had a little section in the corner that said, ?be the next tester.' And I opened it up, and my girlfriend saw it and was like ?Oh you should go for it.' And I was like, ?no, they're going to want your average cookie cutter schoolboy that sits in the dentist office playing his PSP waiting for his next root canal.' So I went ahead with it, and I submitted a very basic online application. And that started a cascade of paperwork, and videos and interviews that came afterwards.
Read on for more on Doc's time in the loft and the story of the origin of Beerios.