It takes an incredible amount of work to make even a relatively simple video game. Art, video, audio, and often a variety of physics engines (and whatever else might be needed) all need to be combined in a very specific way that works. Easier said than done.
Inevitably, combining all these different aspects leads to unanticipated bugs in the programming. When bugs are identified in testing, programmers will then typically make fixing it a priority. The trouble is, fixing one bug often ends up creating 90 more. To make matters worse, it’s something of a thankless battle. Companies pour millions into marketing marquee titles, so delaying the launch of a game to clear out some pesky bugs often isn't an option. Gamers are notoriously impatient and failing to receive a game on the date that was “promised’ will disconcert a large proportion of potential consumers. Then you have the rest of the players, who will complain about a game being overly buggy.
With all this capriciousness, you can begin to understand the frustrations and complications involved in getting any game onto shelves in perfect, bug-free condition.
So, you'll typically find most games are imperfect at launch. Whether they’ve got bugs that were never discovered, or bugs that were, but couldn’t be dealt with before launch, there’s often a lag of a few days before a patch is issued to clear up the trouble. Of course, with the older games hailing from an era before consoles and PCs were connected to the internet, there was often never was a fix and bugs were integrated into the culture of the game.
Here, we've taken a look at a few of the best bugs in the history of gaming. They added hours of exploration, fun, or just plain weirdness to the game – purely by virtue of being a little bit broken.
6 Halo 2 Super Jumps
Under normal circumstances, Halo 2 was a fast-paced and merciless shooter that set the standard for online multiplayer. The discovery of super jumps, though, turned it into an exercise in teamwork. Everybody wants to go way up high.
There are several locations where super jumps are possible, all requiring a particular method in order to get to the certain place they allow you to reach. All result in the same basic thing, though: You jump, and instead of landing you bounce way up high – far higher than even a grenade jump (jumping over an exploding grenade) would get you.
What’s great is that the developers of the upcoming remastered edition of Halo 2 know how beloved the super jumps are, and are intentionally including them in the game. Old fans will be able to relive the hours of fun they spent exploiting this glitch, and newcomers will get to enjoy the simple thrill of flying way up high just by jumping.
5 The Hilarious Glitches of UFC Games
All sports games have these crazy glitches in them, ones that might send a hockey player flying off the ice and into the rafters, or cause a soccer player to bend it like Mr. Fantastic. But there’s something special about the UFC glitches – especially when there’s added commentary.
Flipping and flying around the arena, fighting the air and knocking themselves out – there’s no end to the number of ridiculous and funny things some of the world’s top fighters do when they are victims of a glitch in the UFC video games.
Take a look at the video above and enjoy some of the ridiculousness. As an added bonus, the commentators do passable impressions of actual UFC personalities Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg, which makes it all even funnier.
4 Red Dead Redemption Animal People
A lot of the fun with glitches like these isn’t even so much in the glitch itself. It’s more in imagining that this is an intended part of the world. Feral people that run, fly, and attack like wild animals? What a unique element to introduce to the old west. Or it’s just weird. Depends on how you feel.
Essentially, this glitch takes the information programmed for animal behaviour in the game and coats it in the skin of a regular human person. Hence the ferocious and terrifyingly quick people who come at you like wild cats, and the serene picture of high-flying bird people who float about without a care in the world.
Thankfully, there’s nothing in this glitch that will ruin your game. Unless the idea of bestial monster-humans hungry for your blood is something that will ruin your game.
3 The Donkey Kong Kill Screen
There were more famous kill screens than this one, but with the popularity and acclaim received by the documentary “The King of Kong,” there’s probably none that is better known than that of the original Donkey Kong video game.
A kill screen is the result of a bug in old arcade games, one which typically does odd things to sprites, or even the way the game itself is played. In the case of Donkey Kong, the kill screen renders the 22nd level unplayable, with Jumpman/Mario dying shortly after the level begins.
It’s not much of a glitch, but reaching that level is something reserved for the truly skilled, and with the incredible level of competition present in the modern race to push the all-time high score for the game even higher, the Donkey Kong kill screen has likely become more famous now than when it was introduced in 1981.
Long ago, when Pokemon Red and Blue were released, there were all kinds of bugs out there for players to exploit. But several of them were quite hard to manage. Want to catch Mew, #151 on the Pokedex? Tough luck, kid – unless someone teaches you how to pull it off.
One bug was dead simple, though, and while you probably wouldn't discover it by accident, it's something that's easy to do again and again. It’s the Missingno item multiplier, and it’s the best part about getting to Cinnabar Island.
First, go to Viridian City and let the old man teach you how to catch a Pokemon. Next, fly to Cinnabar Island. Surf along the right side of the island until you encounter a Missingno. Then run away! Get back on land and you’ll discover whatever item you had assigned to your inventory’s sixth slot has been multiplied to 128.
Yes, that means Rare Candies and Master Balls can be multiplied as often as you want. Never having to worry about whether you’d catch that Pokemon, and being able to level your team up to 100 right away? Hello, glory.
1 The Halo: Combat Evolved Pistol Glitch
This is a glitch that was so famous that it launched an industry, led the developers of the series to create special tools mimicking its function in later games, and inspired lazy gamers all over the world to maybe get out and make something with their pastime. This glitch, probably more than anything else, is responsible for the continued popularity of Machinima.
The difficult thing about making animation is the need to create art, and you need the skill required to animate that art. But want to make a cartoon without the skill? Just make voiceovers on your favourite video game! The problem is, games like the Halo series typically feature characters levelling a gun and having it at the ready. If you're looking to make an animated show where people stand around and talk, that's an issue.
This glitch in Halo allowed players to lower their weapons while keeping their heads up. This made it so the characters could just chat without looking like crazy people who were always pointing guns at each other. A popular series that exploited this, Rooster Teeth’s Red vs. Blue, became an internet sensation, and as the games progressed, the developers progressively added new tools for Machinima (the name for these kinds of films) artists to better make their products. Video games helped Machinima progress, and Machinima helped the developers make their games even better.
The rest of the glitches on this list are fun, but none can touch the potential that was unlocked by this entry. The success stories in the Machinima world have pulled in some serious money, and likely served as part of the inspiration for Twitch.tv, a live gameplay streaming site, which recently sold to Amazon for close to $1 billion.
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