The Tester 3 – Episode 3 Recap: Melon Ballin’


Don’t know about you, but I could swear that George Santayana and Albert Einstein were camped alongside Brent Gocke and Adrianne Curry at this week’s judges’ panel. The former was mumbling about those who forget the past being doomed to repeat it—even though the past was only just seven days ago—and the latter was offering up that clichéd definition of insanity. You know, the one about repeating the same actions and expecting different results. Either way, I’m pretty sure the contestants weren’t listening. They were busy playing their new PlayStation Vitas.

Synopsis: Decked out in fatigues, the contestants split into teams again, this time to navigate an obstacle course and smash targets with a slingshot and cantaloupes. The judges’ panel features a (not really all that) shocking correction to events from episode one.

Dopey reality-show trope: There’s product placement, and then there’s the middle ten minutes of this episode, which morphs from a giddy fanboy sitdown with Nolan North into a gigantic extended commercial for Uncharted: Golden Abyss. (Contestant J-Tight: “Golden Abyss? Just Buy It!”) Yes, there’s no question that it’s one of the PlayStation Vita’s most intriguing launch titles, and part of The Tester’s raison d’etre is to push Sony product, but the feature did more than break the fourth wall—it treated it like Liam Neeson treats wolves and foreign terrorists.

Jaw-dropping quote: “That’s who I am. I’m not going to change that for anyone.” burnNibelheim, in her delusional, Rocky-esque exit speech. Um, news flash, Red: You might want to reconsider. Game companies aren’t the only ones likely to frown on would-be employees who duck all responsibility and follow up by pointing fingers at everyone else.

OK, not bad, actually: What a difference a minute makes. That’s the narrow margin of victory by which the black team avoids being sent to the chopping block. Sixty seconds the other direction, and krystipryde is regretting what unquestionably would have been a fatal cantaloupe run.

Instead, she and several other contestants end up regretting something else—opening their mouths at the judges’ panel to back a doomed cause. One of the things you’re supposed to learn in kindergarten is that actions have consequences. Another thing you’re supposed to learn is that if you ignore warnings, you can expect to be sent to the corner with no milk and cookies. Or in this case, have Meredith Molinari and her purple eyeliner unceremoniously yank your badge and send you packing. Following the time-honored corporate rule of progressive discipline, the judges make good on threats made to wayward contestants—particularly burnNibelheim, who makes the exact same errors in strategy and judgment she made in episode two. “Remember, it is a judge of character,” Kwajamonster tells her right before they face the panel. How right you are, sister. How right you are.

And hey, who’d have thought that Egoraptor, who began his stint on the show as a cocky and clueless attention whore, would be the one to deliver a thoughtful and humble exit speech? Maybe the dude’s got a future after all.

Leader in the Clubhouse: RealityPalez continues to skate through the challenges unscathed, but in this episode, it’s akilleezmight who keeps his head and behaves like a grownup, while all around him are hissyfitting like toddlers at naptime.

On the Precipice: krystipryde and Kwajamonster. Judging by next week’s previews, one of the guys is gonna get sent home, but two of the three remaining girls seem determined to make like Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in Thelma and Louise, driving the drama bus straight off the cliff. By opening their mouths to pile on Suzkaiden (again), they’ve put a big glowing target on their own foreheads. And it’s not shaped like a SixAxis button.

Next week: Combining two challenges that first appeared in season one, the kids have to choreograph and perform some serious LARP/Street Fighter throwdowns. Capcom is apparently unimpressed.

Image credit: Tester-Season 3-Episode 3 – Make Like Drake

About the Author

Aaron R. Conklin has been writing about games and games culture for more than 15 years. A former contributor to Computer Games Magazine and Massive Magazine, his writing has appeared on and in newspapers and alt-weeklies across the country. Conklin's an unapologetic Minnesota sports fan living in Madison, Wisconsin, home of the Midwest's most underrated gaming vibe.