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Employee Spotlight: Nicole Smith


My name’s Nicole, and I’m currently working in the QA department here at Harmonix. I’ve been at the studio for a bit north of a year now, having started out on the QA team for Dance Central before moving over to FUSER last July.

Before coming to Harmonix, I was planning on getting into film and television production. There was a good fifteen minutes where I wanted to be a cinematographer before picking up a camera and realizing, nope, not for me. Luckily, I’ve always had games as my main (and sometimes only?) hobby, so game development has been a really natural fit. It’s pretty neat to be able to play one game for work, then go home and play a totally different game for fun.

What is your favorite Harmonix game and why?

I’m very partial towards Dance Central, since my first memories at the studio are associated with it, and also because I genuinely bust it while playing that game. However, I’m also a big AUDICA enthusiast! I’ve yet to find the time to really master it the way I want, but I can play POP/STARS on Advanced without pulling a muscle, so that has to count for something.

If you could trade places with anyone else at Harmonix for a week, who would it be?

This is tough, because I’m surrounded by ludicrously intelligent and talented people at all times here. Off the top of my head, I think it would be super fun to be Rachel Hartanto, who’s a member of the FUSER audio team. Aside from doing a ton of work to make FUSER sound as amazing as it does, she makes her own tunes as well, and each one I’ve heard is so unique and brimming with personality. I’m a musician myself, but my expertise only extends about as far as Holst’s The Planets suite, so I’d love to live in Rachel’s brain for a week and learn the arcane art of trap beats.

Any funny or memorable moments from your interview at Harmonix?

I toured Harmonix’s studio while I was in college, so of course I wanted to make a great first impression—after all, I could be the one getting free seltzers from that drink fridge. That being said, I’m a big ol’ jokester when I’m nervous (and similarly when I’m not nervous, so good luck getting a read on that!) so all I can remember through the haze of panic was every single joke that did not land. In hindsight, I’m sure a couple of them did, but I honestly felt like the lamest human on Earth a couple times, and probably within reason.

What’s your go to Karaoke Jam?

All dad music all day, and I hope I don’t inadvertently insult anybody by saying as much. The Doobie Brothers, Steve Miller Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival—you can’t put on Bad Moon Rising and not tap your foot a little bit.

Do you have any secret talents?

I can count to 7.

What are you doing to stay sane these days?

I’m a homebody by nature, so I’m keeping it together, for the most part! Trying to tear through a huge backlog of games and TV/movies now that I have a good excuse, and hanging out in the sunshine as much as I can. Keeping in touch with friends is a pretty good way to ease the mind, too.

Also, I’m doing so much laundry.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Imagine a clap between each of these syllables, okay? TE-LE-POR-TA-TION. I think about how much simpler my life would be if I could teleport a lot. You have friends or family who live far away and you just want to hang out for a few hours? Teleport. Want to get some authentic Korean food, or visit a museum in Italy, or go skiing in the Alps? Teleport. You left your wallet at home and you don’t want to drive all the way back in the middle of rush hour? Case in point. I don’t want to say this question has a right answer, but I do want to heavily imply it.