Michael Kelbaugh


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In mid-April of 2003, Michael Kelbaugh replaced Steve Barcia as president of Retro Studios.

Before taking the position of president at Retro Studios, Kelbaugh had 15 years of experience at Nintendo, holding the position of director of the company's business development group. He headed the team that gets paid to test Nintendo's video games for a living.

"A good product tester has great communication skills," Michael Kelbaugh told the SeattlePI in July 2000. "They have a great eye for detail, to be able to spot something in a game that's just not right -- whether that be graphical, a saving problem, an audio problem or something that just doesn't sit well with them."

Nintendo employs between 50 and 250 testers, depending on the time of year and how many games are on their way to store shelves. They must find as many "bugs" as they can in the games and report them to the developers, who then fix the problems. To do that, Kelbaugh says you need to think creatively. Creativity will help you come up with new ways to push a game to its extremes and find problems that may be lurking.

"It's an art, actually," he says.

Kelbaugh, and fellow employee Kellie Johnson, assisted the 2003 AGD Charity Drive in reaching and exceeding its goal of raising 1,000 pounds of food for the Capital Area Food Bank. Contributors ended up raising 2,481 pounds of food in total.

Kelbaugh has a taste for authentic Japanese food. "This is hands down the best Japanese restaurant in the area," said Kelbaugh on November 15, 2000, referring to Kikuya, a Japanese restaurant in Redmond, WA.

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