Gameological Q&A

Halo 3

Bugging Out

What’s your most memorable encounter with a glitch?

By The Gameological Society Staff • April 25, 2013

Welcome to Gameological Q&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. If you have a brilliant question that would make a fun Q&A, send it to brilliantquestions at gameological dot com.

This week’s question comes from Gameological contributor Matt Kodner:

It happens to everyone. You come across something in a game that’s not quite right—some unintended consequence of faulty code. Some glitches are only cosmetic nuisances while others can be game-breakers. What is your most memorable encounter with a glitch?

John Teti
Alpha Protocol

I like this question because I’ve believed for a while that if you treat glitches like they are part of a game’s reality, they can be a lot of fun. And while there are a number of wacky bugs in Fallout: New Vegas that come to mind, I think my favorite of all time was a glitch I encountered while playing the 2010 espionage game Alpha Protocol. As with many of the games developed by Obsidian Entertainment, Protocol had the telltale signs of a project pushed out the door before it was ready. My character, an ersatz Jason Bourne, was always running into clipping errors—where the tangible boundaries of the environment are not quite right—and random neon flashes of color. The most memorable moment came as I was working my way through a drug lord’s estate. An entire wing of the mansion disappeared from beneath my feet. A lot of the stuff in the mansion was still there; it’s just that the house was gone, and I was floating in a netherworld of misbegotten programming code. When I attempted to move, I fell through the environment, plummeting down and down forever, until the entire stage became a shrinking island in a monochrome sky. I watched it float away from me until it vanished, leaving me with nothing but a sense of my own fragile existence. And Obsidian thought they were making a shooter! Indie kids, eat your heart out.

Derrick Sanskrit
American Idol

I’ve had a number of “falling through concrete” and “enemy throws totally invisible projectiles” glitches, but the only error I’ve run into that killed a game for me was in Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore 2. We were singing Hall & Oates’ “Maneater,” one of the more likable and sing-worthy songs on the disc, and just before the first chorus, the pitch bar froze in place for about seven seconds before picking up again. The music kept playing, and the onscreen characters kept moving. Seems like a fairly minor issue, except that the game kept scoring according to the pitch bar, which was now out of sync with the music. Imagine singing along with the radio on a seven-second delay. It was disorienting and unpleasant for both the singers and listeners in the room. We wound up muting the television and singing along with the words on screen, trying to keep time with our memory of the song. As you may have noticed in any sitcom where the characters sing along with a pop song that couldn’t be played on set, that never really works out. Even virtual Paula Abdul shook her head and gestured disapprovingly, but with the sound still muted, we resigned ourselves to simply joking, “Watch out, boy! She’ll chew you up!” and turning the game off forever.

Dan Whitehead

I’ll never forget my most spectacular glitch, because it was the one thing that redeemed the terrible Driv3r. One of the game’s lumpen pedestrians was sitting on a bench looking out to sea when I shot him in the back of the head. I don’t know why I was compelled to do this—I’ll assume it was frustration with one of the many horrible missions in the game—but what happened next more than justified my act of random violence. The man flew about 50 feet straight up into the air, fell back to earth, rolled forward, flew back into the air, landed, rolled forward, and so on until he’d vanished into the ocean like some weird meatbag salmon returning to his spawning grounds. Invigorated by this unusually entertaining bug, I tried it again on another seated pedestrian. To my lasting delight, the same thing happened—except this poor guy rolled backward every time he landed. This meant he was heading into the city, rather than out to sea, and I spent a long time tracking his surreal progress as his corpse skyrocketed and backward-rolled its way across the urban landscape, leaping tall buildings with less grace than Superman, but no less inspiring in its own way. I lost him eventually, but the precious minutes I spent on this ghoulish obsession were more fun than anything else in that legendary turkey of a game. Part of me hopes he’s still out there, somewhere in the digital ether, leaping and rolling his way into eternity.

Anthony John Agnello

My surviving 1985 NES throws some spectacular images on a television when you turn it on with a cartridge pressed all the way in. Games will only run properly if the tray is pushed down with a pen and depressed halfway. Otherwise, it looks like the opening screen of Bayou Billy was drowned in instant oatmeal. My all-time favorite glitch is a modern incarnation of those warped visuals. While messing around in the Forge level creator in Halo 3, you can pause the game at the exact moment Master Chief is caught in an explosion, and his body will appear on the screen as a stretched-out Dali-style version of his regular self. Creating the best “exploded Master Chief” freeze-frame became a little game in itself for a few weeks back in 2007.

Adam Volk

I’ve encountered a lot of memorable glitches over the years, from my horse fusing with a rock wall in Skyrim to an armed guard in Hitman: Blood Money suddenly dropping to the ground and flailing like a spastic break dancer. My favorite glitch happened while I was playing the original Mafia for the PC. I’m not sure if it was my graphics card, a random error, or some techno-gremlin screwing with the code, but the game removed all of the characters’ eyelids during cut scenes. As a result, characters would wax poetic about whacking people while their eyes bulged out of their heads like some kind of demented sideshow attraction. It was both hilarious and a little disturbing. It’s a testament to Mafia that I completed the entire game despite facing a bunch of 1930s gangsters turned bug-eyed freaks. Sometimes you just have to look glitches in the eyes and say “fuggedaboutit.”

Joe Keiser

I could pick several from S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow Of Chernobyl, a work of Eastern European bleakness that is practically built out of bugs. Perhaps the best example of why this is actually a good thing was the bug that ended my experience with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. At some point midway through the game, a character asked me to follow him. As we were going to wherever he was leading me, we were attacked by mutant dogs. We survived the attack but at great cost—it broke my ally mentally. There was no way to know that he was broken, though, so I continued to follow him as he wandered aimlessly through the wasteland. For about 30 minutes, this violent game had us skipping through the empty woods, just him and me, like a Calvin And Hobbes painted in Cold War gray. Although I felt we could have walked forever, our time together finally ended when he wandered into a hostile fortress, leaving me alone and my save data beyond repair. But I would have followed him to the ends of the earth, mostly so I could see what happened when he got hitched on whatever invisible wall was there. It was the perfect experience to end my time with that game.

Steve Heisler

When The Legend Of Zelda first came out, I purchased it and played it obsessively for a grand total of about a week before it developed a habit of freezing up during the opening screen. The music would get stuck on this one terrifying note, and pushing buttons had no effect. So, naturally, I’d open up the Nintendo and blow on the cartridge. It never worked. I huffed and puffed anyway until I had as much breath as an emphysemic fish. So I took the game to a specialty store that promised to fix it by pouring some weird chemical inside and letting it set for 48 hours. After the two longest days of my life, I fired the Nintendo back up. Success! I went to the load screen. My game was still there! I pushed start. Freeze. I later bought a second copy, which was no small feat for an elementary schooler on a fixed income, and I had to start all over. Every time I see copies of that gold cartridge, be it at a store or at someone’s house, I’m flooded with sadness.

Matt Kodner

Like Steve, I’ve had my fair share of problems with Link. At a young age, I was crushed when the penultimate dungeon in The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening became unbeatable. An orb rested its laurels on a crack between a wall and the hole it needed to fall through, and no boomerang or arrow could force it down. I eventually resigned myself to my fate, bitter but willing to start from scratch. More emotionally scarring than that, though, was my recent experience with the Wii’s insipid adaptation of Beastly, itself a worthless adaptation of Beauty And The Beast. Every aspect of the game unintentionally ramped up my anxiety. It all came to a head toward the end when I walked into an out-of-the-way street light and found myself surrounded by pitch black. Everything was gone aside from the cone of light coming from the offending lamp. I was being punished for spending a spare minute going off the beaten path in this godforsaken game.

Matt Gerardi

Unlike a lot of folks, I was equally excited for Crackdown and for the Halo 3 multiplayer beta that was included on the Crackdown disc. I had plenty of fun running and jumping around Crackdown’s boring city. After working my butt off to maximize my character’s superhuman abilities, though, there wasn’t much to do. Then the powers that be introduced a little piece of downloadable content called “Keys To The City.” It gave the player the power to create all manner of guns, cars, and explosives, whenever and wherever they like. (Why don’t more games do this?) Naturally, my buddy and I wanted to pull off sweet jumps with the fastest car in the game. I took to a long stretch of highway, got up to top speed, and created a ramp truck. Instead of going all Dukes Of Hazzard, some sort of physics catastrophe sent my car rocketing into the sky and across the city. As I flew a thousand feet above the ground, I knew there was only one thing left to do: jump out of my car and free fall while firing rockets at the helpless masses below. Needless to say, we spent hours replicating the trick. Sometimes we took to the skies, and sometimes things went awry, launching us through the game world into a watery hell beneath the city. Either way, it’s probably the most fun I’ve had with a glitch.

Samantha Nelson
Starcraft II: Heart Of The Swarm

I play a lot of MMOs, so I’ve fought plenty of invulnerable monsters who get stuck in the scenery and end up fortified by the terrain that’s trapping them. MMOs have also given me plenty of bugs that were just amusing, like when a dragon took up residence in Stormwind for a few hours after a World Of Warcraft update. Or when the Jedi Council featured empty chairs and super-tiny Jedi masters when Star Wars: The Old Republic launched. My new favorite glitch showed up when I was playing matches against the computer in Starcraft II: Heart Of The Swarm. When I started my fight, I found my base filled with diligently working SCVs, the Terran—read “human”—gathering and building unit. That would have been normal, except that I was playing Protoss, the stately alien race. It turned out that every unit I built looked like an SCV, and my opponent was fielding its own army of SCVs (in a different color, at least). The bug was just cosmetic. The units all acted like what they actually were, but it makes the game really difficult when you can’t quickly assess what you have to work with or even what’s attacking you. The situation got back to normal after a few games, but I’d play that way again as a special “black box” challenge mode.

Ryan Smith

I was once really into Aela the Huntress in Skyrim. Sure, it was weird to drink her blood for a cult-like ritual to join The Companions, but she was attractive in that rough, Celtic Braveheart way. I got accustomed to the face paint and pointy shoulder armor. We also had plenty in common. We both loved fighting skeletons and had a tendency to turn into eight-foot-tall werewolves at night. So once it seemed like she was totally over her ex-boyfriend Skjor, I was ready to ask her hand in matrimony. Everything went swimmingly for the first few months. Aela was always willing to stay at home or accompany me on my never-ending journeys. One quest took me to an underground cave full of evil sorcerers intent on murdering me. Aela had been by my side the entire time, picking some of them off with her bow, but during a random battle, she simply disappeared. It’s likely that this was one of Skyrim’s many bugs, but I suppose it’s also possible that she was just tired of handing over a share of the gold from our small “business” in Whiterun—given that I was too busy chasing dragons to help out. I still miss her.

(Halo 3 stretch glitch photo by Halo Wikia user ImmortalJoshua.)

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242 Responses to “Bugging Out”

  1. PugsMalone says:

    I’m not sure if this counts as a glitch or not, but I managed to scratch my Katamari Damacy disc immediately after I took it out of its case, and this led to each stage having 5-minute load times.

    It says so much about the game that I actually managed to finish it, even with the ridiculous load times.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      It’s funny how annoying that is now, when back in the C64 age, it was not uncommon to have a game take 20 minutes to load…and then crash after ten minutes, and have to wait another 20 to reload it.

    • Xtracurlyfries says:

      That’s why the world needed “Invade-a-Load”!

    • That’s not so bad. It gives you time to read all the random words from the bouncing King head.

  2. Citric says:

    I imagine there will be much in the way of Obsidian here. So, Fallout New Vegas. I had to go find the boomers, who tend to shoot missiles at you. Once, I made a wrong move, and a missile hit me, and then a second, and somehow I triggered so many explosions and was so killed that the game crashed hard. I just kind of sat dumbfounded and then laughed. There was something kind of amazing about getting so blown up you even wrecked the code.

    • George_Liquor says:

      Radscorpions stuck inside rocks. New Vegas to me was nothing but Radscorpions stuck inside rocks.

    • zerocrates says:

      Situated as it is at the intersection of Bethesda Boulevard and Obsidian Avenue, New Vegas should, by rights, consist entirely of bugs.

      I haven’t totally ruled out the possibility that what appears to be the “game” is just the natural, spontaneously-organized result of all the bugs interacting with one another.

      • The_Misanthrope says:

        Morrowind was stuffed with bugs, which I suppose is just the price you pay for having a spell and enchanting system that so thoroughly breaks the game.

        The Xbox version had a horrible container overflow bug that would corrupt your save file. You see, when you killed something, the corpses would become impromptu containers with unlimited capacity. If the corpse was empty, the game would just clear the body after a few days, but if it still contained stuff, it would stick around and the game would have to remember its place and what it had in it. So the save files could get extremely big, which screwed with how the Xbox stored data for one reason or another. There was a fix, but it made my character seem like an obsessive-compulsive/narcoleptic: you had to make sure to take everything off anything you killed (if you didn’t want it, you couldn’t just drop it either, instead you had to put it in one of the permanent containers) and if you were going to save, you had to rest for five days beforehand to make sure that all the corpses were cleared out.

        There was also the Thieve’s Guild glitch that let you pay off your crime for free, as long as you dropped all your money beforehand.

        The PC version is exempt either. I remember a time I was traveling to a town. The map was telling me I was there, but I couldn’t see it. I looked around and I saw a door floating in the air. Yep, the town had become invisible!

        And just to the Fallout series doesn’t feel left out, I should mention how the Broken Steel DLC for Fallout 3 reshuffles ThreeDog’s script so much that the past, present, and future become a muddle. He will make announcements about you finishing a mission you haven’t finished, then in the next one, speculate about this strange new Vault Dweller on the scene.

        • Lady Rainicorn says:

          I like to imagine it’s just a leftover from some original concept for the DLC in which it’s revealed Three Dog is a Timelord.

        • asdfmnbv says:

           My favorite “glitch” in morrowind was the sword that permanently drained all your armor stats. You find it in one of the dungeons ~half-way through the main quest, and it always seemed like the perfect trap Dagoth Ur could possibly have come up with, a sword that kills your character when you accidentally equip it using the next weapon key. You just have to hope you don’t accidentally equip it before you get to the mudcrab merchant/creeper to sell 5000 coins worth of things, wait 3 days, then sell 5000 more.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Oblivion had similar issues. Through the enchanting apparatus you could create gear that would make you so fast a sprinter that you would die almost every time just sprinting down a light slope. I managed to get my sprint speed so high that I could run from the gate of Cloud Ruler Temple to the Imperial City without touching the ground, only to splatter on the walls of White Gold Tower.

        • Ah yes, making skill buffs but assigning them a zero duration time which somehow made them never run out. If I remember right, you could glitch your way to max weapon stats very early one with that one.

      • Oddly enough, the only game-ending bugs I encountered in New Vegas were the cazadores.

    • Cloks Clokworthington says:

      I got New Vegas about half a year after it came out because I figured by then most of the bugs would be patched out of the game. I started a new character and did the orientation quest. Looking around, I noticed something out of the ordinary. Guess that time hadn’t helped.

      So I don’t have to make two posts, my other most memorable encounter was with Missigno. I can still remember where I heard the information – a Don Pablo’s – and immediately questioning it. How could there possibly be a way to cheat the game and get infinite rare candies in a product so perfect as Pokemon Blue? The fact that it actually worked was great, especially considering all the fake glitches that were spread in those pre-GameFaq days. Notable glitches that didn’t exist: Marril behind Bill’s cabin, Professor Oak challenging you to a battle for the third starter, receiving Mew after beating the Pokemon League 100 times, using Strength on the truck to get a Mew… I have to wonder if the kids of today still have all this fake game information floating around on playgrounds. I’m willing to bet that with the advent of online communities (most of which are eventually flooded with kids anyway) these fantastical rumors have mostly been quenched. That’s what my Dad tells me anyway and he works at Nintendo.

      • I think Missingno was the first time that I didn’t just find out how to trigger a glitch, but why it triggered; which was also the first time I realised I found that kind of thing interesting and was thus ruined forever.

        Speaking of Pokémon glitches, it turns out there is a way to fight Oak. Admittedly it involves having a Pokémon with an incredibly high Special stat and following a specific set of actions, but the data is there – it looks like Game Freak originally planned to let the player battle Oak after beating the champion.

      • Fallout 3 is the one causing me heartache at the moment. I finished it on PC, but I got the GOTY edition with all the DLC and setup about getting all the trophies. (It’s a good candidate because it doesn’t have a lot of filler trophies, collect 100 of x item sorta thing). The last DLC I played was Point Lookout, and one of the trophies is to visit all locations. Unfortunately, one of the locations causes the game to crash every time I go there, so I’m not sure how I’m gonna get the 100% completion I’ve put 70 odd hours into so far…

        • djsubversive says:

          Here’s a dumb suggestion: try getting rid of all your gear. maybe just bring stuff from Point Lookout (or NOT from Point Lookout)? Like I said, it’s a dumb suggestion, but it might work.

          Hopefully it’s one of the locations that doesn’t have a unique bit of loot, and you can just get the discovery credit and the trophy, then never go back.

        • UnclGhost says:

          Or try making a new character, going to PL as soon as possible, and hope the location doesn’t glitch this time (seems less likely). You’ll still get the trophy at least.

    • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

       In  one of the fallout games I was killed just as I was opening a door and my character fell into the void on the other side.

      • Flying_Turtle says:

        Likewise, in the Pitt DLC for Fallout 3, there was a building whose roof you had to walk across in order to fetch all those accursed ingots, and there was a bug where the roof looks solid, but you just fall right on through to your death. Fortunately, there was some sort of fix for it, because I would have hated to have left some of those ingots out there.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      I’ve always had an odd respect for games that kicked you out when you got obliterated. I’ve even been smacked so hard I got knocked off the internet a few times over XBL, and I felt that it was right to happen that way.

  3. Chum Joely says:

    First of all, this Skate 3 glitch video was probably one of my most intensely hilarious viewing experiences of the last 5 years, even on the second viewing, so I vote for that.

    Beyond that, Teti is right that New Vegas has lots of humorous bugs (I remember this one Legion asshole in the final mission against the Legate kept getting permanently stuck to the end of my shotgun every time I killed him). I had not actually thought about just accepting these bugs as part of the reality of the game. Trippy. Love it.

    • The_Helmaroc_King says:

      Oh, man, these kinds of compilations are great. This playlist has a bunch of glitches and other general foolishness from open world games like GTA4 and Just Cause 2, but if I were to suggest just one I would recommend this one.

      • WarrenPeace says:

        Oh man, that video is hilarious. Now I’ve gotta try some of that stuff out, like latching motorcycles to flying propane canisters or sending planes flying by hooking them to buildings. Crazy!

      • Effigy_Power says:

        I thought I’d seen all JC2 glitches, but that was great.

    • WarrenPeace says:

      Oh god, that video gave me the giggles big time. I’ve never played any of the Skate games, but judging by that video, they’re bizarre as hell, full of as much random falling over as actual skateboarding. I’m also kind of fascinated by the weirdly nonviolent violence, with the guy falling off skyscrapers and suffering what should be horrific bodily damage, but with no actual effects. It’s kind of unsettling, and it just adds to the hilarity. Now I might have to try these damn games out sometime…

    • lokimotive says:

      I never experience this myself, but this video of Alistair’s head entering another non-Euclidean dimension is both hilarious and disconcerting.

  4. Bakken Hood says:

    I was playing a ME3 multiplayer match with friends a few weeks back.  I was the Krogan Warlord Sentinel (for you non-ME3 multi fans, he’s a twelve-foot-tall space alligator that hits people with an exploding hammer and is awesome), and I got this glitch where all the enemies were invisible.  I could see my teammates just fine, and the enemies could hurt me, but the only hints I had to enemy positions were the odd rocket/turret/drone (we were playing against geth).

    Luckily, I was playing with friends with mics, and one of them volunteered to spot for me.  He pointed out enemies by shooting at them and gave me “swing!” orders when I was within melee range, and the Electric Hammer power does enough splash damage to where I didn’t have to hit anything directly.  I actually did pretty well in the end; I kept my rage up for most of the match, only went down once or twice, flattened a few Primes, and managed a respectable killcount.  It was pretty much the greatest ME3 match ever.

    • Bakken Hood says:

      Runner-up: I think I was on the “Delta Halo” level in Halo 2, driving my tank over some of those fixed energy shields, and somehow, when one of them recharged, it launched my 66-ton tank skyward at insane speed.  Like, I barely had time to watch the entire map for that large, open level shrink to a speck and vanish.  Eventually, after staring slack-jawed as my tank cartwheeled into the sky for about a minute straight, I died.  I don’t know if it was a glitch itself, or my altitude ran into an integer overflow or something, or I fell out of the tank and got smashed by it, or they actually put an insta-death barrier that high on the map, or what, but it was probably a good thing.  I might have kept watching, enraptured, for the rest of the day.

    • Merve says:

      In my first ME3 multiplayer match ever, the ammo crates weren’t working, so after running out of ammo on the third or fourth wave, I couldn’t obtain any more ammo. I was playing as a Vanguard, so I spent the rest of the match just using biotic and mêlée attacks. Our team still made it through.

      The funny thing is, I didn’t even recognize it was a glitch at first. It was only when I played my second match that I realized how the ammo crates were supposed to work.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        I like when I sync out from others and nothing makes sense because enemies don’t get shot but I do. So I have to quit and try again. yaaay.

    • caspiancomic says:

       I’ve encountered a recurring ME3 multiplayer glitch (so far always on Firebase Reactor, I don’t know if it can happen anywhere else) in which a new wave of enemies will fail to spawn, leaving the entire squad stranded with nothing to do. Usually this scenario starts with the entire team searching frantically for the last, surely merely hidden enemy. After a couple of minutes, though, it devolves into every player standing in a great big melee circle jerk, shooting each other in the face and using biotic and tech powers on each other point blank. Happened to Jack, Pagan and I once, actually. Good times.

      • Jackbert says:

        Haha, yeah, that was really fun. I also like that map because of the ventilation shaft. One time, running past it, I noticed the ring indicating a possible interaction. So I push X, and a disembodied voice announces “Ventilation shaft shutting.” The doors slam down, a hissing sound emanates from the small room, and the doors slide back up. Poet is sprawled in the middle of the room, presumably burnt to a crisp. My bad!

        • PaganPoet says:

          Nothing is more heartbreaking than when my little Volus Vanguard is executed, and I’m forced to watch the rest of the wave, seeing his plump, lifeless body with little biotic orbs floating about him. *sniff*

      • Army_Of_Fun says:

        This happened to me and they were actually hidden. It was against Cerberus who spawn from the ceiling. There were two soldiers stuck along a girder that they normally slide down fireman style I guess. Most firearms did no harm nor did nukes. It was only a specific power that brought them down, something like Reave, something that generally just debuffs an enemy but was probably upgraded to do a small amount of damage. Powers that launched projectiles, like Carnage didn’t have an effect.

    • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

      Speaking of Mass Effect, that guy in the Halo picture at the top of the article looks like the love child of Garrus Vakarian and Mister Fantastic.

      • Girard says:

        Yeah. Here’s a glitch: WHERE ARE MY GOLDANGED ‘LIKES,’ DISQUS?!?!

        • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

          Your likes are now like dandelion seeds in the wind, dispersed over a wide area so they can take root elsewhere and then grow likes of their own. This is the way of disqus, forever and ever, amen.

          • Girard says:


          • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

            SENT TO DRAIN?

            This is the second Bullet With Butterfly Wings joke I’ve made in two days on here.

            ♫ Despite all my rage, I am still just a Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle having to use disqus in a cage. ♫

          • Girard says:

            Indication of just how out of touch with pop-culture my dorky ass has been all of my life:
            It wasn’t until 2003, my junior year of college, when I learned that that “The world is a vampire” song and that “Rat in a cage song” were actually the same song.

          • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

            Don’t feel too bad, it was only just a moment ago that I realized that the lyrics are ‘sent to drain’. I always thought it was ‘set to drain’, like the world/vampire has settings that you can switch to either ‘drain’ or ‘fill’.

          • SamPlays says:

            Sorry, you’ve been downgraded to a C+. Two in a row is inexcusable.

        • SamPlays says:

          We’re one step closer to looking like IGN, folks. Must be the impending heat death.

        • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

          @SamPlays:disqus ~ That’s fair.

      • John Teti says:

        I’m sorry for the sudden change. As was the case when this happened before, I had no warning of this, and it wasn’t supposed to happen. Disqus has said it’s okay for us to remain in sync with The A.V. Club on Disqus Classic for the time being. Every once in a while, the Disqus computer decides otherwise—usually while I’m asleep, for maximum surprise—so I have to get somebody at Disqus to flip the switch back. I’m working on it.

        • Girard says:

          Obviously you need to employ some tireless Minutemen, to be awake at every hour of the day and night, ready to stem any incursion of neo-Disqus.

          Or just start sneaking methamphetamines into Drew’s coffee every day so he never falls asleep.

        • George_Liquor says:

          Disqus is doing this just to screw with you, isn’t it? Capricious little comment system.

        • Thanks, John. We appreciate it.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Now at least people can say one of their favorite recurring glitch is that craaaaazy GS-Disqus one.

      • And, we’re back. The world is safe again, but for how long?

    • Bad Horse says:

      I no longer play human vanguard in ME3 multiplayer because of an issue where after a charge, you start hovering an inch or two off the ground. At first it doesn’t affect you much, except that you can’t get your feet down, but as the match goes on you start hovering higher and higher, until eventually you wind up clipping through something and dying, and staring at the skybox until you leave the match. I’ve seen this like half a dozen times.

      • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

        Once on the Glacier map I triggered a biotic charge from my Asari vanguard right at the moment she died, so her blue ragdoll corpse went flying across the map into an enemy before slumping on the ground and bleeding out. When I stopped laughing, I found that she had been revived and was in a similar glitch that you describe, hovering and being basically useless until extraction.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        As fun as it is, the glitches in ME3 drive me nuts.

      • Fluka says:

        Ascending to heaven: better or worse than suddenly finding yourself playing the match upside down?

    • Girard says:

      That actually sounds like a really interesting asymmetrical play mode. Like the Starcraft II bug listed in the article, it’s neat when an accidental bug kind of turns into a game mechanic in and of itself.

    • @Bad_Horse:disqus @Jackbert:disqus @NakedManHoldingAFudgesicle:disqus @caspiancomic:disqus , et al, what platform are you guys playing ME3 on? I loved the multiplayer but had no friends who played on PS3… *sadface*

    • His_Space_Holiness says:

      Hey, you don’t have to tell me that space alligators are awesome.

  5. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    I don’t remember many video game glitches, but there’s one in particular that I can recall vividly. In Link’s Awakening, there was one dungeon that I never knew how to beat… correctly. However, there was a glitch that allowed you to teleport to the opposite side of the screen if you brought up the pause screen during the transition between rooms. So, I cheated. I think it’s the only part of the game that I used that trick to get past, too, but I could swear I combed that dungeon from top to bottom before I did.

    • Uncle Roundy says:

      Ah, Eagle’s Tower: the bane of many a Link’s Awakening player. I don’t know anyone who didn’t beat it without using the teleport glitch the first time around. I certainly didn’t. Though whether it’s because I played the game a billion times or because I’m much better at puzzles now than I was then, I don’t find it that hard now. It takes place in a fairly confined space, and at least two of the four pillars are total slam-dunks. I’d recommend revisiting it now and seeing how you fare.

      I’m at work on my phone, so managing links is a tad unwieldy, but I also highly recommend watching MeccaPrime’s Link’s Awakening LP on YouTube. It’s a stunning showcase for what that glitch is capable of, and as a bonus, the way he deadpans as if that’s the way the game is supposed to be played is hilarious.

      • The_Helmaroc_King says:

        Ah! I had forgotten the name of the dungeon, so thanks. I didn’t realize it was a common issue with the young’uns.

        @nemryn:disqus posted a link to the first episode of that LP below, so I know the one. I especially like how random chests have vital power-ups.

  6. Jackbert says:

    I was playing Just Cause 2. Cruising through the capital city in a blue sports car. As I drifted around a street corner, I accidentally bumped up over the curve and onto the sidewalk. 

    I had hit plenty of pedestrians before. It had never been a big deal, I was Rico Rodriguez, sent to this dinky island from the United fucking States of America to kick ass and overthrow a dictatorship. Sure, the cops would come after me, but I didn’t care.

    A man in a gray suit was walking along the sidewalk, going the same direction I was driving. The poor bastard would never know what hit him. He flipped up onto the hood of my car. Suddenly, blood spattered all over the television screen. I literally start yelling. The pedestrian had somehow glitched into my trunk and was waggling about like he was being exorcised. Maroon splotches are all over the screen so I can’t see a thing; I can’t see a thing so I’m hitting more pedestrians; I’m hitting more pedestrians so I’m screaming. Fifteen seconds of hell.

    Finally, the guy falls out of my trunk. I hit a couple more pedestrians and get back on the road. I pause to recover. Despite my traumatized state, I remember I have the game set to automatically record whatever happens on screen. I hit the “Save Last 30 Seconds” menu option. I watch that 30 second video almost every time I boot up my PS3. 

    • Chum Joely says:

      I am going to use that record option from now on. Also, awesome story.

    • Jackbert says:

      I’ve got another one.

      I was playing Uncharted 3 on Hard difficulty. I got stuck on this incredibly tough part, and was getting really frustrated. I promised I was going to switch the difficulty to Normal if I died a couple more times. The checkpoint spawned me behind some tall cardboard boxes. I would always immediately take cover behind them. In the Uncharted series, the “take cover” button and the “roll” button are the same; they’re supposed to be context sensitive. This time, for some reason, when I try to take cover I end up rolling instead.

      Suddenly, there are no boxes in front of me. I figure I rolled through the boxes somehow, so I push the analog stick back to get back behind them. I can’t move. I realize I’m not in front of the box, I’m inside the box. I try jumping, rolling, and moving in every direction. I can’t get out of the box. About to reload my save, I accidentally hit the shoot button. I shoot out of the box. I laugh and try aiming at one of the enemies who is shooting at me. Perfect headshot. I can hit the enemies, but the enemies can’t hit me. 

      I take down several more enemies, enjoying my invincibility. I realize there is only one enemy left. As I reload, I glance over to see how much ammunition I have left. Shit. Only five shots left. And the last enemy is an armored motherfucker that can only be killed with headshots, one to remove his helmet and one to kill him.

      First shot. Miss. Four left. Second shot. Miss. Three left. Third shot. Headshot. His helmet is off, one more shot and I’ve killed them all.

      Two shots left. Literally sweating from nervousness, I line one up. I miss. One more chance. I’m too immersed in the moment to even think of pausing the game to regain my composure. I squeeze the trigger. Headshot. He slumps to the ground. I have won.

      I got through the rest of the game on Hard. Nothing else was even close to the sheer intensity of those couple minutes where I was stuck in a box.

      • feisto says:

        Looks like you made it through that challenge by…

        ( •_•)

        ( •_•)>⌐■-■


        Thinking outside the box.


        (I’m so sorry. I couldn’t resist.)

      • Chum Joely says:

        Actually, how did you get out of the box afterwards?

    • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

       Getting pedestrians stuck in your car in sandbox games is never not hilarious. Getting fences and other objects stuck is much less so.

    • WarrenPeace says:

      That sounds horrific.

  7. zerocrates says:

    I had what I thought at the time was a glitch with SimCopter, but now I’m pretty sure was just a feature or Easter egg.

    Normally in the game, your offensive capabilities were limited to a spotlight and a water cannon, and you spent your time medevacing, putting out fires, and clearing traffic. But, you could load a SimCity 2000 city in there, and if that city had a big enough military base, you could roam over to the base within SimCopter and replace your boring civilian chopper with an Apache, complete with missiles.

    Naturally, I was spending some time just spinning in circles firing missiles wildly in all directions, when the screen went totally white, my helicopter was destroyed, I ended up falling out of the sky, and got scolded for killing a bunch of Sims. I never had that happen again, so for a while I thought it was just a bizarre bug, or the game had just had enough of my shenanigans.

    Now, with the full power of the Internet, it’s become clear to me that it was another feature of my imported city that was the culprit: the nuclear power plant. Turns out that Hellfire missiles and nuclear power just don’t mix.

    • Girard says:

      SimCopter seems to have a number of borderline glitches/Easter Eggs. I remember the game used to have armies of hotpants-wearing ‘himbos’ that were added as a silly joke, and supposed to only occur rarely, but a glitch made them spawn with great frequency, giving SimCopter cities a decidedly festive and progressive flair.

  8. Ted Kindig says:

    For whatever reason, glitches are the absolute pinnacle of slapstick comedy for me, to the extent that I watch compilations on youtube when I need cheering up.

    For example, here are a bunch of skateboarders in unusual scenarios: And it’s literally one of the funniest things in the world to me.

    • Chum Joely says:

      Liked because I independently posted that exact same video at about the same time. And yeah, this is pretty much pure slapstick gold, because of how surreal and impossible the mayhem can be.

    • Army_Of_Fun says:

      Voted up. Voted up so hard. My mouse is now just a mess of broken plastic where my left button used to be.

  9. WaxTom says:

    Glitch? Aye, I got your glitch.

    It was my first video game ever, a little game called Pokemon Blue, played on my brand-spanking new Game Boy Color. I’d already watched the show, I already knew the names of half the Pokemon available, hell I already memorized the Pokerap. But those were just playthings compared to this beautiful little cartridge. I was addicted in a way I had never been to something before and that I wouldn’t be again until I discovered cigarettes. I played all day and through a good portion of the night. On my weekends I’d buy a pack of AA batteries, sit on my kitchen table, and just play through the day, switching out batteries as they died. These were the glory days of my youth.

    I switched Pokemon out and into my party periodically, but there were two Pokemon that I never put into a box. The first was my Blastoise, evolved from my very first Pokemon ever. To this day when I play those games I can’t bring myself to ever letting my starter leave my party. It just feels wrong, you know? The second was a little more random, a Dugtrio. Not the Pokemon you’d expect somebody to latch onto, but my god, he was a TANK! Absolutely dominated any battle he was a part of, save for water. The rest would be whatever legendary Pokemon I had found or some other one I was trying to evolve into something even cooler. Those two, though, I was attached to. I loved them, I’m not afraid to say it.

    Now, many a trainer had heard whispers on the schoolyard about a cheat in the game. I’m sure many of you know it well. You speak to the man who, after having his coffee in Viridian City, would show you how to catch a Pokemon. Immediately after this you fly to Cinnabar Island and go to the east coast, where you swim up and down the shorelines. If you do this just right, you will meet a Missingno. This block of static and code was unlike any Pokemon and, so the whispers said, was near impossible to catch. However, if you encountered him, he would make the 7th item in your bag multiply times x99. This was useful if you had a rare candy and wanted to just pump up a weaker Pokemon in your party.

    I wasn’t one for the rare candy bit, I thought it took the fun out of it. However, once I discovered you could do this with the Master Ball, thus not have to worry ever again about whether you could capture a Pokemon or not, I just couldn’t resist. So one Friday afternoon I did the Master Ball cheat and caught all the legendaries with ease. Thanks to a friend with Red version, a link cable, and some quick trade evolutions it seemed that soon I would, in fact, have caught them all, all 150. I just had to wait for the weekend to finish out.

    But I got greedy. 150 was just not enough.

    Then I figured, hey, Master Balls can capture anything, right? So what if, just out of curiosity, one used such a Master Ball on Missingno? Could you possibly capture a Missingno? It’s stats always appeared to be at lvl 99 whenever I saw it, and I only had two lvl 99 Pokemon in my collection at the time (Blastoise and Dugtrio, natch). If this guy is so hard to capture, and at such a high level, it must be the ultimate Pokemon, right? Mewtwo times infinity! It was too tempting, I had to try it.

    So I talked to coffee man, flew out to Cinnabar, and swam for a bit. Sure enough, I found a Missingno out on that shore. I threw out one of my many Master Balls, let it struggle, and presto! The beast was captured! Strangely it appeared right in my party instead of getting sent to my box, but I don’t know if that was just because I only had 5 in my party for some reason or if he just pushed one out. Besides, who cares, I caught Missingno! When it got into my party, however, it’s look changed. It became a Kingler for some reason, but still had the lvl 99 stats and all that. I took him through the Elite Four and my god did he dominate. I was on top of the world.

    Eventually I got bored, as you do, with Missingno/Kingler and decided I’d pull out a different Pokemon to play with for a while. I’d still be able to show him off Monday, after all. I went to the nearest Pokemon center, put him in the box, took out another, and went about my business. Soon enough I could see that I was running out of battery. I diligently saved my game, turned off my Game Boy, changed the batteries out, then turned it back on.

    But something was wrong. When I got to the start menu, there were only 2 available choices, New Game and Options. No Continue.

    This couldn’t be right. It just couldn’t! I’d saved and everything! I flipped the switch on and off a couple times in the desperate hope that it would change back but it was to no avail. It was gone, all gone. All that work, all those Pokemon, all the badges and experience. Gone. Just the option to start all over again. Nobody at school believed me on Monday, insisted that I didn’t catch Missingno and just accidentally started a new one but made up the story to save face. But it was real, dammit! I saw it! I did it! And there was no way to prove it.

    I’ve played Blue many times since then, have beaten all the gyms, gotten all the legendaries (I found out about Mew a few years later), and have enjoyed it all the while. But I’ve never gotten all 150. Maybe I couldn’t do it without the infinite Master Balls. Maybe I just didn’t have the heart anymore. I don’t know, but I do know this. No Pokemon I’ve ever raised has been as strong as that Blastoise and Dugtrio were, and no game I’ve played had the same amount of joy as that initial playthrough.

    And I lost it all. Thanks to some stupid glitch and a greedy young mind.

    *puts out cigarette*

    • zerocrates says:

      I absolutely did the Missingno glitch to duplicate the Master Ball in Red/Blue, even though it basically ruins the game for those “special” battles. I think you got even more than 99 of the item: I distinctly remember the numbers in the item screen getting glitched too, because the game was looking for a digit above 9.

      But, catching Missingno? That’s just reckless. You were a loose cannon, you know that?

    • caspiancomic says:

       *Single, dignified tear*

      I’d be willing to bet there isn’t a single person in these comments who doesn’t have a tragic “lost save file” story. My own save file corrupting glitch story is, funnily enough, hardware based. The result of buying a cheap, third party memory card that claimed it could hold 150 save files or whatever. You used buttons on the actual device to navigate between ten or so “internal” memory cards, so I basically set aside one memory card for every game. One day, sure enough, the cheap piece of garbage locked up, and now it only acts like an ordinary, dull as dishwater, 15-block PS1 memory card. The cruel part, though? The card’s interface still displays that there are multiple “cards” with data still saved to them, from all those years ago, locked away and totally inaccessible. Even today.

      Also, going along with what John said above, I’ve always liked the “theory” that Missingno is, rather than a glitch, some kind of inconceivable Lovecraftian horror that cannot be comprehended by the player or character, and that the reason it deletes your save file is that interacting with it corrupts the very fabric of reality.

      • WaxTom says:

        Hahaha, I like that interpretation. I always assumed it was the God of Pokemon, able to give generously if you appease it but ruin everything if you don’t. That’s Catholic school upbringing for ya.

      • The_Misanthrope says:

        Those multi-page memory cards for the PS1 always seemed like such a good deal, but I’ve yet to run across one that didn’t bug out.

        • Mr. Glitch says:

          I still have one of those cards, made by Interact or something. It’s supposed to have like a zillion pages, but I can only get it to advance through the first five. I guess I’m lucky that it can still do that.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        Most of my save file rage involves Junior, who likes early levels the best and used to do whatever it took to make sure those were the levels he would play.

      • Girard says:

        The original NES Final Fantasy only had one save slot, and it as automatically overwritten whenever you (or anyone) started a new game. Which meant owning that game, and living in a house with ANY OTHER HUMANS (especially siblings) was living in perpetual fear that someone would unthinkingly erase all of your progress.

        I didn’t keep that cartridge near the Nintendo. That fucker stayed in a lockbox in my bedroom when not in use.

        • gaugebozo says:

          I accidentally did that to one of my brother’s games because I liked that the thief had blue hair. Worth it.

      • aklab says:

        Ha ha! I still have my multi-page PS1 memory card. I’ve held onto it all these years, I guess in hopes that I’ll retrieve my 200+ hour Final Fantasy Tactics files… 

    • EmperorNortonI says:

      That is an epic story.

    • Tyler Mills says:

      Dang. I came here to share my own experiences with Missingno, which were far less tragic. But out of respect for that poor Blastoise and Dugtrio, forever lost to the ether, I will hold my peace.

      • WaxTom says:

        In lieu of flowers, the deceased’s trainer requests mourners donate to their nearest Pokemon Center.

    • Chalkdust says:

      The Pokemon wiki has a lot of information about the nuts and bolts of why the Missingno glitch happens, which I find equally fascinating:

      It has to do with the game temporarily storing your character’s name in a specific bit of memory that’s used to determine which wild Pokemon appear, then teleporting so that data is not properly rebuilt.  It is literally your identity which causes Missingno to appear.

      • WaxTom says:

        That is interesting! It says that Missingno is harmless and can be caught without erasing data but that’s exactly what happened to me. Maybe it has something to do with being put in a box?

        • Chalkdust says:

          That there are so many distinct varieties of ‘glitch Pokemon’ is both fascinating and kind of creepy… these little digital biospheres we play around in contain so much emergent weirdness even when it was not placed there deliberately.

          I yearn for more game developers who are not afraid to lose a little control of the worlds they build.

  10. caspiancomic says:

    Truck Dismount! The game itself is a relatively simple exercise in which a ragdoll is placed in a truck facing a wall, and you get to modify the conditions to a certain degree (placing up to two ramps and moving them around, enabling or disabling the truck’s windshield, selecting a starting position for the ragdoll, etc) and see what kind of crash you can simulate. The metagame, though, is all about creatively glitching the little guy into the truck and racking up otherwise impossibly high scores. Little dood crashing a truck into a wall? Kinda fun. Same dood getting one leg, both arms, and his neck stuck in a truck’s windshield and twisting around in agony before being fired fifty feet straight into the air? Hilarious.

  11. Colonel says:

    Me and my friend devoured all the insanity and glitches that made up the game, Driv3r.  As Dan said above, it was a terrible game that was somehow so much more amusing then any game I had at the time.  My friend and I would trundle down the highways of Nice in forklift with all the tires shot out.  The capper?  For some reason when it was on its side and you tried to raise the lift, it’d explode.  It was the perfect punchline to a really, really slow burn of a setup.

    • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

       Simpson’s Hit and Run was like that for me. Bad game, yet lots of fun to just mess around in. This one time I drove a car in between a rail car that went back and forth (because you were supposed to jump across it) and the car got stuck, then rocketed out of the level and into the netherworld outside. This was also when I first discovered skyboxes.

      • Colonel says:

        Speaking of rail cars, there was a trolley in the Istanbul level that if you hit it dead on while riding a motorcycle, you could get thrown off your bike, phase through the front of the trolley, and land inside it.

        I even made a dramatic replay of it, completely with cutting back and forth between the trolley and me right before we collided.

      • stuartsaysstop says:

        I object to your labeling Hit and Run a bad game!

  12. Mr. Glitch says:

    Did someone say Glitch? 

    I’ve never seen one myself but the excellent King Of Kong taught me that Kill Screens are a thing, and are very exciting to witness. My personal favorite graphical glitch occurred in Dreamfall, when I got wedged inside Zoey’s skull for several minutes. I found out that she has cue balls for eyes and roughly half of a tongue, which slides creepily over her chattering Joker teeth.  

    Still, my saddest and most memorable game glitch occurred in Fable II. I wooed my first wife in an Oakfield pub by offering her a mince-meat pie and gesticulating wildly for several minutes. Se was truly a lovely sight: a randomly-generated busty blonde with a cute floppy sunhat and a cockney accent who quickly became the center of my adventurer’s life. Our engagement was witnessed by a nearby Demon door, who was so moved that it betrothed us an idyllic homestead in which to start our life together. We settled in and consummated our relationship by fading to black for a few seconds, and soon brought forth an adorable randomly-generated little girl into the world. I thought our love would last forever, but alas when I returned from a minor little decade-long detour in the Spire, I learned that my wife and daughter had disappeared! I can only hope that, wherever they are in Albion, they’ve found true happiness without me. Actually, it looks like they really have, because the game says so every time I bring up the map screen. Ouch, Fable 2. Ouch.

  13. Professor_Cuntburglar says:

    If you turn on the Low Gravity cheat during the Insurance Fraud side missions in Saints Row 2, you can bounce your character from one end of the city to the other in one go (while racking up millions of points). It’s the best.

    Also I found a horse butt sticking out of the top of a castle in Skyrim.

  14. George_Liquor says:

    Blaster Master for NES has a truly wonderful glitch that several bosses can fall victim to. If you detonate a grenade in the boss’ weak spot, then immediately pause the game, that grenade will continue to deal damage until the boss expires. Yes, it sounds cheap as hell but trust me: in a game as enormous as Blaster Master, with no battery backup or password save and only three lousy continues, you need all the help you can get.

    • Girard says:

      MegaMan 1 had a similar glitch, and my unscrupulous younger (pre-Game Genie) self definitely took advantage of it.

      Blaster Master was so hard, I don’t think I could even get to most of the bosses on whom that glitch was useful.

      • Tyler Mills says:

        Yes! You could use this glitch to beat Yellow Demon using the lighting weapon. He was a pretty tough boss so I definitely abused this glitch to beat this game.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Blaster Master and Fester’s Quest can both go eat a bag of di…er, pause-frozen grenades.  Whomever thought it was a great idea to make a game that huge with no save points deserves…um…a good slap in the face.

      • George_Liquor says:

        I’d go so far to say that whoever designed Fester’s Quest deserves that slap. In the balls. With a mace.

  15. vinnybushes says:

    I was in the process of liberating a fort in Assassin’s Creed 3 in the most non-stealthy way possible. In the middle of a pitched battle with several redcoats, I struck a finishing blow to one that made him go into convulsive fits. He continued to frantically flail on the ground before he began levitating in a style very reminiscent of The Exorcist all while continuing to thrash around. It was a this point that his being began to become one with the universe around him and his skin was violently stretched to a length of several feet in a few different directions. His agony was short lived however, as he then quickly twisted into an infinitely long strand that shot towards the sky and quickly dissipated as his atoms spread throughout the cosmos in an epic journey of discovery and knowledge. Humbled by this moment I went back to slaughtering redcoats.
    And THAT was the greatest bug I ever encountered in a video game.

    • Enkidum says:

      Teti should have looked into this subtext before he was so hasty to pan AssCreedIII!

    • Army_Of_Fun says:

      That’s part of the genius of the modern-day context of the Ass Creeds, bugs like this can just be chalked up to bugs in the Animus. Memory desynchronized.

  16. Flying_Turtle says:

    The Atari 2600 version of Defender had a glitch that pretty much broke the game. When you fired, your ship would disappear from the screen, and you couldn’t be hit while your ship was invisible. In a tight spot? Just hit the fire button and you could essentially teleport your way out of trouble.

    Even without the glitch, Defender for the 2600 was quite a bit easier than the arcade version (for instance, only one human could be in the air at a time, so if you caught a human and flew around with it for the rest of the level, no more abductions would occur). Even the controls were easier, because in the arcade version the joystick only changed height, and multiple buttons were used for thrust and firing. When I first played Defender in the arcade, I had only experienced the home port, and it was a humbling experience.

  17. Lord Autumn-Bottom says:

    I can’t think of a whole lot of them off the top of my head, but one that I always love is corpse-related stuff in MMOs, like when they remain standing after death, or when they rotate on the ground depending on where you walk.  I’m sure I’ve encountered funnier/rarer glitches than those, but I have a harder time remembering those one-off kinds of glitches.

  18. Eco1970 says:

    Play Stalker again. Great end at the Chernobyl site.

    • Joe Keiser says:

      I’m seriously considering it. Draping a dozen mods over that thing and playing it on a modern PC would be a different enough experience to warrant going back.

      • Reason_on_GS says:

        Check out the Oblivion Lost series of mods.  There was OL 2.2 by Kanyahlos, which fixed most of the bugs and added the Freelife AI back in – basically made it the way GSC intended it. 

        Then after he stopped development, Kyuzo stepped in with OL2012 and merged some more mods and changed some more things up, some good, some I didn’t like.  Stuff like increasing the max weight to something ridiculous like 90 KG, repair
        kits all over the place, and 20-30 rounds of ammo on every corpse.  The scientists have a G41 which is a super G36: basically a full auto sniper cannon.  Made
        it too easy.

        Currently I am playing through using Mod Pack 2013, which is OL2012 and some additional mods merged.  I like this one a lot; it’s back to the difficulty of the vanilla game, but has tons of graphical improvements, all the crazy mutants all over the place, blowouts, and the Saiga shotguns which fucking dominate. Highly recommended.

        Fun fact: if you trigger your night vision right before you start a battle in the Arena, you get to keep it, giving you a completely unfair advantage.

  19. KidvanDanzig says:

    My favorite (and worst!) bug was suffered in both PC and 360 copies of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. First you would log in and discover that all your saves had become corrupted. Then you would start a new character, and the dungeon area between your cell and the doorway at the top of the stairs from which the Emperor and his retinue emerged failed to load. You’d look out of your cell and see an endless solid grey, sometimes with a massive purple and yellow “!” that indicated a failed object load. Anyway, you’d get that elf prisoner’s mocking monologue even though he wasn’t actually there, and then the Emperor and the Blades would walk through the doorway… into nothing. You watched helplessly as they all plummeted into a grey abyss, leaving you trapped in your locked cell forever. Like an episode of the Twilight Zone.

    While the PC copy was easily fixed through, I think, a simple config edit, the 360 version of the game was hopelessly fucked until Bethsoft released a fix with the patch offered concurrently with Shivering Isles.

  20. Saltonstall says:

    The Mew glitch from the original Pokemon games. Got a Level 100, fully stacked Mew in my Gold Version to this day.

  21. Andrew Kemp says:

    I chose to fight the Emperor at the end of Force Unleashed, so I left Darth Vader behind on the lower floor and ascended to the upper platform (now encased in a force field) to complete my journey–and get the all-important good guy ending I felt the character deserved.

    Midway through the battle, the game glitched when I leaped to escape an Emperor death lightning blast, and I wound up on the outside of the force field looking in. I couldn’t get back in. I couldn’t even move effectively, as if I was locked into some 2D plane in a 3D map. I finally leaped up and allowed the Emperor to kill me.

    When I restarted, the game decided that I was on the lower platform, so now I was fighting Darth Vader. No amount of restarting fixed it. As far as the game was concerned, the matter was decided. I beat Vader and got the evil, bad guy ending.

    The game glitched hard enough to change my destiny.

  22. Merve says:

    Speaking of glitches, New Disqus has returned.

    • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

      That’s exactly what I said, but you traveled back in time to beat me to it. Or new disqus disorientated me enough to delay me making this most important of observations.

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

      I’ve set a personal goal to not be so negative about little things (not joking, I kind of fall into it), but yeah I really hate this look.

    • Captain Internet says:

      Great! Now that all the ‘best’ comments are automatically pushed to the top, I don’t even need to have an opinion. It’s just so nice to have all my thinking done for me in advance.

    • fieldafar says:

      Don’t worry. Disqus will re-release “Disqus Classic” in a few months time.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        It worked for Slurm.
        Now I wonder who is squeezing the new Disqus out of their butt.

    • Girard says:

      Disqus sent me an email recently asking me to participate in a survey thing to evaluate various new features. At the time, I was like “fuck that noise, Disqus doesn’t deserve my free time.”

      Seeing this this morning led to me go straight to my trash, open that email, and sign up for the survey thing. The form had a little box asking “What is a feature Disqus today doesn’t have that you wish it did?” In which I responded something to the effect of “Funny you should ask, but today, specifically, Disqus is missing a lot of features that I wish it had. Strangely, many of these are features that it DID have yesterday, such as…”

      • Effigy_Power says:

        Even funnier was the Disqus thread on the Disqus page talking about ALL the new feature.
        It didn’t have a single negative comment. Actually it didn’t have a single comment NOT celebrating the new Disqus and also asking for more pages to go with Disqus and more features and MORE SOCIAL AND MORE…

        Anyways. Moderate much, Disqus?

  23. epiktistes says:

    In the “pain in the ass to trigger but totally worth it” category, I love the airship glitch in Final Fantasy VI that gives you an airship way before you’re supposed to have one, which lets you sequence break the hell out of the game.

    You can do things like getting permanent ghosts for your party, or wreck the past to an extent that Terra becomes her own parent in a presumably parthenogenetic relationship with her own mother. Oh, and you can also resurrect a certain military officer…

    • Bad Horse says:

      You had me until you said you could do that resurrection. Now I know you’re just foolin.

  24. My favourite glitches have all been Game Genie related. My friend and I once spent an afternoon entering random codes for Super Mario 3, and enjoying the crazy results. My personal favourite was discovering a code to start the game with Kuribo’s shoe, albeit with a hideously deformed sprite.

  25. EmperorNortonI says:

    Both of my stories are from the pre-internet days, when patches didn’t really exist and glitches were show-stopping nightmares. However, both of my glitches were, almost certainly, due to the fact that I was a cheap-ass warez-playing little kid.

    Ultima 7 part 2, Serpent Isle. I got this game before the rest of my friends, and was dead-set on being the first in my group to beat it. I’d missed out on Ultima 7 part I because my computer was too crappy to run it on release, and all my friends played it and told me pretty much everything about the game, which made the actual playing of it a real letdown. However, just before Part II came out, I’d gotten a PC upgrade, and was now sporting a super-cool, yet still seriously dated, 486.

    Part 2 was a strange game, partly because it was intended to be wonderfully strange and original, and partly because it was rushed out the door after having big chunks of it removed. Nonetheless, it had a wonderful feeling of mysterious isolation and apocalyptic despair, easily the most atmospheric of the Ultima games. I really loved it . . until I got to a killer glitch. I was right near the end of the game, where I think I was going to perform the final serpent ritual or whatever. However, on my way to the site, the game crashed. Every time I loaded it , the game would crash at exactly the same spot. There was no fix. Game over. I never beat that game – but on the plus side, I don’t think any of my friends did, either.

    The other game was StarControl 2. That game relies on an in-game starmap, which also acts as a navigational aid. In my copy, it did not work. The game would freeze if I tried to move the crosshairs more than a few pixels. I could see the different alien race control spheres, but couldn’t move over any stars, or search for any by name. This really hurt, as there were numerous events that required you to hunt down a particular named star. I soldiered on, and played the game without the starmap, navigating by hand, searching down stars by process of elimination, and more or less memorizing the map. I played the game to death, finding pretty much everything and winning the final battle around the Predecessor ship. Godddamn, that was hard, but it was one of the most engrossing experiences of my youth.

    • Destroy Him My Robots says:

      Your “patches didn’t exist” statement reminds of a little C64 anecdote. We bought a football manager game that got rave reviews but turned out to be completely unplayable. And, just like you said, there was no way to patch it. Instead, the developer asked you to send in your copy. Only three weeks or so later they sent you a new version of the game that was completely rebuilt from scratch (written in assembly this time) and worked like a charm.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        I remember that you could also easily make glitches happen by just treating your floppy discs a bit rough. My brother had a copy of Sensible Soccer which, after having been submerged in something, replaced all the players with horrible, multicolored squares angrily flickering and racing across the pitch. It was still playable, but a bit like watching the Langoliers Soccer Championship.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          The horror!  Being stuck in a soccer game in the past until you’re eaten by giant rainbow tribbles!

        • Effigy_Power says:

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus: On the plus side, it was less painful that simply watching “Langoliers”.

    • Mach0KingRandySavage says:

      Do you like to *play games*?

      • Chalkdust says:

        Those developers (Toys For Bob) went on to create the Skylanders games.  An overlooked/underappreciated easter egg is that the fairy character who sells you power upgrades slips into Orz-speak occasionally.  I can’t even find a video of it, but when you initially meet her, she greets you with a “Hello extremely!”

  26. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    Fallout 3. Brahmin (that’s a 2-headed cow). hanging in the air. ON FIRE.

    Seriously, man. That’s the kind of shit that starts religions.


    one time in Fallout 3 I found Dogmeat floating in the sky with his limbs all stretched out and flopping around crazily

  28. DrFlimFlam says:

    My favorite glitch was the Halo 2 dash glitch. I used to run Halo 2 nights once or twice a week and it was one of the best times of my life. After you’ve played every variant you can think of forever, including my own creation, Pink vs. Yellow, you start to see what you can really do with the game, and we started exploiting a glitch where the Elite sword could be used to jump very high. So we’d all get on top of levels and root around up there and see what the game world looked like from a place where no one was supposed to be.

    And it was awesome, for reasons I can’t quite explain.

  29. doyourealize says:

    Since I’ve started Skyrim again, this time on Steam, I’ve encountered plenty glitches, including one in which I leveled up every time I picked a pocket (that was on the PS3). However, my most memorable glitch has to do with this very site. A few weeks ago, my school system underwent a new filtering system, and The Gameological Society was blocked! Imagine my dismay! During the school year, I don’t get to visit as often as I like, but there were still a few times during the work day that I’d be able to read the articles, if not comment. Now, however, even that was taken from me. I took action, though, and wrote an email to IT, informing them I use the site in my Writing and the Media class as a good example of writing about video games (which is true, though I don’t teach that class now, nor will I next year). This morning I received an email informing me that they fixed the glitch, and I can once again waste time at work with the folks at The Gameological Society, though not in those exact words.

  30. Raging Bear says:

    There was one building in Vice City that didn’t have a top. It took some doing, but you could navigate the seaplane at such an angle, and stall it out at the right place (it was tall enough that you couldn’t just cruise over it, which is probably why no one thought it was worth completing), that you could then pilot it straight down the empty shaft of the building’s geometry which led down to the nether space beneath the city, in which you could then fly around, pointlessly, yet with a sense of accomplishment.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      The same worked for the Stadium in GTA3. With a bit of skill you could fly the plane with the clipped wing into the city’s stadium and land in there. Mind you, there was no way out and I remember the actual field to be floating about 3 feet in the air.
      Still, considering that it was never meant to be seen, I wondered why they’d even bother to fit the stadium with seats and all that.

  31. Tyler Mills says:

    Probably my favorite glitch ever was in Halo 1, although it was more of an exploit. I learned it from my cousin. You have to start a coop game, so you can kill one another with bullets. First you go around the level and max out your grenades. Then you pick a partcilar spot, and you and your partner commit seppuku, each acting as the others’ second, to release your grenade cache on the ground. Wash, rinse, repeat. When you have almost all of the levels’ grenades in a huge pile in the middle of the level, you drive an indestructible warthog over it. The next step required a tad bit of skill. You threw a sticky grenade first, then switched to and threw regular, then ran up and jumped in the warthog, where your partner would be anxiously waiting. When all the grenades detonated, you would be sent miles high into the sky, protected in the seat of an impossibly safe vehicle. Sometimes if you were lucky the warthog would get placed on one of the many huge precipices that served as a backdrop for the level. And like something that could only be experienced in Narnia, you could explore a virgin area of a familiar world, one never besmirched by the gaze of another humans’ eyes. They were mostly just empty, grassy hills, but there was something magical about them, maybe imparted by the significance of the journey itself.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Finding places you weren’t supposed to be at in Halo was the best.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Warhammer Online also allowed you to explore almost endless wastes of low-res landscape if you managed to exit an area without using the gates to the next. Mind you, there were horrible clipping issues and my lizard riding dark elf fell through the world quite a lot.

  32. Zack Handlen says:

    I had a Game Boy as a kid, and when my parents decided to drive the whole family down to Florida for a vacation one year, I brought the handheld with me. The first part of the drive was fine, but once we were in Florida, I got it into my head that I should buy a new game for the trip home. So I picked up Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which I’d read about in Nintendo Power. I had a weird history with Roger Rabbit games–the NES version is one of the only games I’ve ever played where I made it to the final boss multiple times but could never actually beat him–but this one looked like fun, and for a while it was; instead of Eddie Valiant, you controlled Roger as he bopped around town, doing stuff. (It’s been a while, I can’t remember what that stuff was. Mystery solvin’, presumably.) But then, for some reason, the game stopped working. It’s a bit like Steve’s story; one minute, everything was fine, and the next, I’d turn on the system, I’d get the “Game Boy” logo, and then…. nothing.

    It drove me half out of my mind. I couldn’t return the damn thing, because I’d bought it in Florida (and like Steve, I didn’t have a lot of disposable income at that point in my life), and there weren’t any specialty shops I could get to in Lyman, ME to fix it. My dad tried, and he’s good with electronics, but there’s only so much he could do, and none of it worked. I remember getting really excited every time he’d put cleaner in the cartridge, thinking this time it had to work, right? I liked the game well enough, but not being able to play it made it more important than it actually was; maybe something to do with me being spoiled, and refusing to accept that I couldn’t have what I want. Only magnified beyond a temper tantrum, until it was this implacable, unsolvable dilemma, mocking me from across the room, to be tried over and over and over again because maybe this time, by some magic, the right circuits would click, and death would no longer be an obstacle.

    That fucking game never worked again. And I never got another copy.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      I seem to recall the NES version of that game being one of those where, if you knew the right locations, could actually finish within about 20-30 minutes.

      • Zack Handlen says:

        Almost true, except for Judge fuckin’ Doom. I wrote a Kill Screen essay about how miserable the last boss of that game is–I tried to beat that guy for years, and never managed it.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          Ah.  I think I had a Nintendo Power or something that helped with how to do it.  I recall getting stuck just AFTER beating him for several tries, not able to figure out what to do next – grab the dip shooter and melt him.

  33. stakkalee says:

    Two glitches spring to mind – the first is from Mass Effect 3, where certain dialogue cutscenes simply refused to display my conversation partner. Shepard would say something, and then the camera would cut to a shot of an access panel while Liara responded. Did the access panel want to interject? Who knows. The whole final conversation with the starchild I was talking to nothing but a ghostly outline of a child, like a blob of clear protoplasm. The second glitch comes from Curse of the Azure Bonds, one of the AD&D Gold Box games that I recently replayed via emulator. In the game when you cast a Haste spell (or use a potion) in addition to the doubling of movement and attack the game also increases your character age by one year. It’s a pointless cosmetic change because there’s no disadvantage to being old, which is a good thing because one time my mage took a Haste potion and jumped from 30 years old to 14,630 years old! I pretended he was an angry, crotchety grandpa and came up with silly things for him to say, like “We had some goblins in my day, by gum!” and “I remember when all this was dwarves!”

  34. Girard says:

    I was never super into the game, but I do respect Goldeneye for producing a glitch that resulted in prevalent (and kind of hilarious) international viral meme thing.

    Was Goldeneye even very popular in Japan? I wonder if this is its main claim to fame over there.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Fun glitch, awful video.

      PS: David Hasselhoff is not actually big in Germany, btw. It’s a popular urban myth, but one dispelled by not one, but three Germans I know personally.

  35. I like when the physics in Open World games like Grand Theft Auto or Sleeping Dogs just goes berserk and sends people flying. I know there’s a mod just to make this happen in GTA IV so I’m not sure if it’s 100% glitch but when it happened to me in Sleeping Dogs it was pretty cool.

    I even took the time to take a few screenshots.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I had some to add to the Sleeping Dogs glitch-parade, but alas, Steam is being a massive turd again.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      GTA4 was great for that…for tons of fun, ram a gas station at high speed…or, for some reason, a children’s swing set, and get the same results.

  36. bostonrocco says:

    I had the exact same experience as John Teti, except while paying the first Mafia game for the first Xbox several years back. You were on a boat, I believe to assassinate a politician. I’m running down the deck and the whole bottom of the boat disappears. The character immediately started plummeting down into a creepy, dead ocean. If you looked up, you could see the deck far above with the other programmed characters still walking around at what looked to be a hundred feet above.

  37. feisto says:

    A lot of my favorite glitches come from The Binding of Isaac, but my favorite glitch was the one that indirectly created the most powerful weapon in the game.

    I’d received Brimstone, which gives you a powerful beam attack that pretty much instantly destroys anything in its path, but which you need to charge first to use (which is more curse than blessing because everything’s so fast-paced).

    Then I picked up Chocolate Milk, which has both a rapid fire and charge shot function (the more you charge it, the more powerful the shot will be). I pressed Fire, and I realized I now had a rapid fire beam attack–essentially a BFG with unlimited ammo. I blazed through the rest of the game, destroying every boss within seconds. I’ve never been able to pull off the same feat since.

    • Basement Boy says:

      I think that particular weapons-combo (which I’ve sadly never encountered in over 1,000 hours of playtime) was “fixed” at some point… 

      I’ve not seen too many glitches in TBOI tho… the occasional barrel stuck in a wall, but those aren’t very exciting…

      • feisto says:

        Really? That’s too bad. I hate it when they fix awesomeness. I experienced a few more weird weapon combo glitches, but that particular one was my favorite.

  38. dmikester says:

    Gosh, so many. The one that stands out the most in recent memory was Red Dead Redemption. I bought the game used, but that rarely causes problems. I started playing, and within maybe 20 minutes, the game started glitching like crazy, ranging from crashing to buildings disappearing to loading up a save and having most of the objects in the game not load for at least ten seconds, so for example there would be a coffee cup just floating in midair for a while and then the table would materialize. This didn’t change after restarting many times.

    Eventually, though, the scariest one of all happened; I was galloping down a dirt path and all of a sudden, my horse just fell through the ground, the camera went crazy, and Marston was bouncing up and down off of the scenery and falling through the ground too. Needless to say, I was scared to even start the game again. After that last epic glitch, I took out the disc and looked at it, and indeed, there were smudge marks on it and some very small scratches, but nothing dramatic. So I cleaned the disc more thoroughly than I’d ever cleaned a game before, put it back in, and lo and behold, the glitches disappeared (weirdly, they didn’t completely disappear until about 3 or 4 plays later, but still).

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      The only glitch I ran into in RDR was one where all the cougars were hyper-aggressive, efficient man-eaters. It was insane. Anyone else run into this one?

      • The_Helmaroc_King says:

        Cougars? Pfft. Still the deadliest game: MAN.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        There was a mission to head out from Manzanita Post to rescue a stagecoach.  Three times I attempted this mission.

        The first time I was attacked and mauled to death by a pair of bears as soon as I got close.

        The second time, I stopped farther away and spotted bears nearby, shot them, and was killed by another bear who somehow snuck up on me as I approached.

        The third time, I killed the bears, and was charged by a cougar.  I hopped a fence to get away from it, but it clawed me in mid-hop, ran around the fence and killed me before I could stand back up.

        I decided it wasn’t worth trying to rescue someone from an apparent army of trained animals.

        • Bakken Hood says:

          Shortly after I discovered you could drag dudes behind your horse with the lasso, I tried to drag a bounty capture all the back to Armadillo.  He was with the Bollard Twins, BTW, so I needed him alive to complete one of the outfits.  He got away when my horse got pounced by a mountain lion.  I narrowly survived and killed the lion, but he jumped on a horse and fled.  As my horse was in a mountain lion, I couldn’t just whistle for a new one, so I grabbed the other one from the bandit camp.  It didn’t trust me, so I couldn’t run it at full speed, and he made it all the way to Pike’s Basin before I caught up with him.  He fell off a cliff and died before I could rope him.

  39. ItsTheShadsy says:

    There’s an unfathomably weird bug in Donkey Kong 64 where, if you press two buttons at the same time in a certain location, you’ll teleport to an old debug area.

    It’s like the Donkey Kong equivalent of the Red Room from Twin Peaks: it’s completely silent and empty except for a banana balloon you can’t pop and a few platforms. Even weirder, there’s another Donkey Kong in the room, but he never moves. You can leave the room, but it leads you right back to where you started.

    I first encountered this when I was maybe 11 years old, and I thought I was on drugs.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Couldn’t it have been both? I heard that nice, pudgy man on FOX say something about water fluoridation.

  40. PutSomeRanchOnIt says:

    I love beating Kraid in Super Metroid before going to Norfair for the Hi-Jump boots. If you can do the wall jump in Super Metroid, Zebes is ripe for the plucking.

    But the best is skating on one foot when you jump out of a pipe in Super Mario Bros by holding B.

  41. ItsTheShadsy says:

    Don’t mind as I post multiple of these.

    The absolute funniest glitch I’ve ever encountered was in Battlefield 1942, already a haven to Grade-A insanity. I was messing around with a mapmaker and decided to make a large naval map with a number of massive aircraft carriers. Of course, I forgot to put water in the map.

    Now, the physics engine of BF1942 had absolutely no reasonable way to deal with an aircraft carrier on dry land. So the carriers started bouncing. Not just shaking uncontrollably like in some glitches. They bounced like fucking basketballs, spinning through the air, all over the map. Half a dozen enormous ships. It was like some sort of steampunk, comedy version of Shadow of the Colossus.

  42. Swadian Knight says:

    When playing Mount & Blade: Warband, I found out that your soldiers will sometimes remain airborne if you push them onto and then off of a moving siege ramp. And that’s how Swadia became the first Calradian nation to have an air force.

  43. Dikachu says:

    If y’all haven’t seen it, has some great articles on video game glitches.  This one nearly made me piss myself with laughter.

  44. Bagna the Irate Supervillain says:

    The glitchiest gaming experience I’ve ever had was with Knights of the
    Old Republic on the X-box. One time on Tatooine when I was about
    to negotiate with the sandpeople with HK-47’s help, I stole some shit
    out of one of their baskets, prompting them to attack me. However,
    before they attacked me I managed to initiate a conversation with their
    leader. What followed was an absolutely insane sequence where the
    conversation played out as usual, except that during the conversation a
    battle between my party and the sand people was progressing. Since
    battles will proceed automatically in that game if you don’t give any
    input, the battle was raging all around me and I conversed with the
    leader while he tried to kill me. Since the camera was set for dialogue
    mode, I got kind of a sucky view of what was going on, and characters
    would run in and out of the camera’s view even while their dialogue was
    being delivered. Watching HK-47 calmly act as an interpreter between
    the two of us while gunning down sand people was totally awesome, and
    also oddly in-character for him. Since I couldn’t direct the battle, I
    think I ended that conversation with my entire party dead.

    The other noteworthy glitch I ran into in that game is that my astromech
    droid (T3-M4) transformed into the wookiee Zaalbar. I actually
    continued to play the game normally after that point, since I no longer
    needed the droid for anything and never really used him in my party.
    From that point on, I could select two Zaalbars in my party and just
    have a pair of identical wookies following me around. Also, whenever I
    was inside the Ebon Hawk the glitchy Zaalbar would multiply every time I
    walked in and out of the room. The result was that I could get dozens
    of Zaalbars just sort of milling around the room by walking in and out
    until the room filled with copies of him. The real payoff to all this
    came when (SPOILERS FOR KotOR) I had the opportunity later in the game
    to turn to the dark side. Normally, Zaalbar is one of the party members
    who sides against you so that you have to kill him, whereas T3-M4 sides
    with you because droids don’t care about morality. Since my droid was
    actually a wookie at this point, I ended up with one Zaalbar fighting
    against me and one Zaalbar fighting at my side, which I naturally took
    as an opportunity to get the two Zaalbars to fight each other.

    • evanwaters says:

      There was a point where I managed to trigger the cutscene where you rescue the wookie despite being in the wrong room completely- unfortunately this doesn’t add him to your party but rather just somehow made Mission fall over dead, and since it was out of combat she didn’t recover as normal. Had to reload from there.

      Of course on my older Macbook the game just crashed all the time for no reason except that Aspyr just gave up on properly porting it to Intel Macs. Fortunately the Steam version doesn’t have that problem so far.

  45. UsurpMyProse says:

    NHL 08 is probably the buggiest game I’ve played, or at least the one where the glitches had the most profound impact. The worth of my college roommates and I as human beings lived and died by that game, and it was the source of many a shouting match even when we weren’t getting screwed over by all manner of improbable hockey shenanigans. But even worse than pucks momentarily gaining the ability to phase through goalies’ bodies or players getting stuck in an infinite loop of the hip check animation was something we referred to as “pulling a Jedi.” Every so often during a 2-on-1 rush, the puck on a player’s stick started to pass to another player, only to yoyo back onto the stick. The problem with this – besides the blatant disregard for the laws of physics – was that the defense always followed the puck. Thus, the defense was sent careening in the opposite direction when the puck slung back, resulting in a breakaway that always – fucking always – led to a goal.We never discovered an actual method for triggering this. There was no science behind it, just the faith in some intangible mystical force. So, y’know, original trilogy “pulling a Jedi,” none of that midi-chlorian malarky.

  46. Sean Smith says:

    Re: that Halo 3 stretchable Spartan glitch, I encountered it in Halo 4 while playing some Grifball custom games long before they launched the official Grifball playlist to matchmaking. Not sure if it still happens:

    I would stick with the Halo universe for my favorite glitch, if only because it was so useful. The “glitch through the gate” glitch on the Nightfall level of Halo: Reach saved me oh so much tedious battle on my legendary run through that level, and made Nightfall the go-to mission for knocking out daily and weekly challenges quickly.

  47. DrGogol says:

    Ugh. Dan Whitehead writes for this site? That petty a-hole? Screw this site.

    • aklab says:

      Really? You’re going to dismiss the entire site because of one contributor who… rubs you the wrong way I guess?

      Who’s the petty a-hole again?  

      • Girard says:

        As far as I can tell, he’s contributed one piece (on Double Dragon Neon) to the site, so if someone really found him objectionable for some reason, it would be very easy to read the site and not encounter his writing.

      • DrGogol says:

        I suppose I am too.

        Although that guy made it his business to do some ugly, ugly things and any site that deems fit to publish him is no site I want to read. But, seriously though; one less hit for the site means nothing. In the grand scheme of things (or even the minor scheme of pageviews equalling ad money for this site), my one-man boycott is less than nothing.

  48. PaganPoet says:

    The only one that really comes to mind is the item duplication glitch from Final Fantasy VII. Oh, how did I get 99 Megalixirs? How did you NOT get 99 Megalixirs?

    • There was an item duplication glitch in the American version of FFIV as well (that still works on the virtual console version). It’s super-easy to do, but it only works with weapons. But that does mean that you never have to worry about GP, and you always have a steady supply of things for Edge to throw.

  49. evanwaters says:

    There was a PC arcade-style Monty Python’s Flying Circus game, with Gilliamesque artwork portraying you as Mr. D. P. Gumby out to recover the missing pieces of his brain by collecting Spam from four worlds and throwing fish at enemies. One of the gimmicks was that the scoring system is in reverse- you start at 9,999,999 and you want to make it go down. Lower it by enough and you get an extra life.

    At some point, if you get enough, the game glitches out and you somehow end up with infinite lives, enabling you to brute-force your way through the rest of the game. Of course you still have to collect enough Spam to get the good ending (the bad ending is a picture of a frog.)

    In retrospect that was a great game.

    • Matt Kodner says:

      I played that game so much when I was little, but the only thing I remember is getting to watch the Lumberjack song ad infinitum in a pre-youtube world.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      ARRRGH, I loved/hated that game!  It was so damn hard, but I loved the interruptions for The Larch, the premature Game Over, etc.  And the Argument game was too fast on my processor to get more than a couple of wins.

  50. aklab says:

    A few on the SNES for me. In Donkey Kong Country, if you fail a bonus stage while playing as Diddy Kong, he jumps in the air and then stomps on his hat. If you time it so you do a roll then a jump right when the hat-jumping animation starts, he jumps really high! 
    It’s pretty simple and inconsequential, but man, it amused my sister and me to no end. 

    …and of course there’s video of it now: 

    I also stumbled on Relm’s famous sketch glitch in FFVI. I actually ended up with a still-usable savefile and a pretty great inventory, with 255 Gradius daggers and Pearl lances and all this other stuff. Had a lot of fun in the Coliseum with those items — until my dumbass cousin saved over my game!!!1

    • What was the deal with the warp trick in DKC? Was that a glitch?

      • aklab says:

        Yeah, I think that was one too. Which, OH MY GOD, I forgot the most mindblowing DKC glitch of all! 

        In the first minecart level, when you get hit, your remaining character kind of jumps into the air and then back into the minecart. If you take control of the character when he’s up in the air, you can do a roll and then jump around the level with impunity. As long as you roll before every jump you never fall.  

  51. Effigy_Power says:

    Nice Q&A topic.
    For someone who’s been playing Elder Scrolls games for years, glitches are certainly no rarefied experience, but of course you have to sort the bugs from the glitches.
    My most interesting glitch happened in Skyrim, when my mass-murdering Dunmer stole a horse made by a daedric prince, at least I have to think so. From the moment I mounted up, I was trapped in the saddle, unable to get off. I didn’t realize that for a while, as I was just riding up and down the countryside. It was when I tried to dismount that all hell broke loose.
    Permanently fused to my trusty steed, it could suddenly only walk sideways, but at massive strides, leaps and bounds. Every time I turned the horse, it began to hover, spaz out like on bath salts, wildly wobble its extremities around and slide across the landscape like a pebble skipping on a pond. Once this had begun, there was no stopping either. I skipped, slid and basically skated all the way from Falkreath to Morthal (in record time, I might add), attracting hordes of enemies unable to even reach me. The entire time my character was probably screaming in utter horror as her horse flopped around like a ragdoll, only I couldn’t hear it over the laughter of my girlfriend standing behind me. I tried to hit some enemies with magic while swooping past, but the crosshair was also entirely screwed up.
    In the end the horse finally succumbed to skating sideways off a mountain outside Morthal, after which the game crashed.
    And that’s why you have to wear a helmet when riding.

    • Fluka says:

      The like I’ve given here doesn’t adequately express the fact that I nearly died choking on a raisin whilst laughing at this post.  Elder Scrolls bugs are the best bugs.

  52. Mike Podgor says:

    I’ve encountered numerous glitches. The two most believable ones were for, of course, “Fallout: New Vegas” and “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion”. Then there’s two more that only those who have seen can believe.

    The New Vegas glitch is relatively straight-forward. I decided to take out that nest of Deathclaws by that mining camp. I had a system worked out where I’d send my seemingly immortal companions in to tank, and then shoot the Deathclaws with various weapons when they got too close. If I saw them coming, I’d run. This worked until the mother Deathclaw showed up, killing me numerous times until I lucked out and a mine I laid down hurled her hundreds of feet into the air. I just watched as she stood stock-still, flying high, and when she came back down I wondered if the fall would kill her as it would have killed me. It did.

    The Oblivion glitch is also pretty straight-forward. I was in the final stages of the Arena, and I had to go up against the Gray Prince. I had done this many times before, as I have a habit of starting games over from scratch when I get bored. I had taken the precaution of tracking down the Gray Prince’s father, and since his spirit was broken, he basically laid down to die. When I struck the death-blow, long past feeling any sort of guilt for breaking this opponent to the point where death is a release, the game gives me a message that someone saw me kill the Gray Prince. In an arena filled with screaming people, someone saw me kill someone who I was there to kill. 

    The third glitch was on an old Game Gear copy of “Major League Baseball ’95”, obtained with the system. They had a create-a-team mode, and for the longest time, I had a pitcher named BLBLBLBLBLBLBL whose stats were maxed out and never tired. One day, he vanished, but I shall always remember him.

    The final glitch is real. I assure you of this. I think it might still work, but I haven’t checked in a while. When used in concert, my Super Nintendo and copy of “Super Mario All-Stars” has a curious trait when playing “Super Mario Brothers 3”: when I pressed the select button, Mario would transform into a different suit. He could even have Kuribo’s Shoe or invincibility, with the right buttons pressed. I maintain this to be true.

  53. Basement Boy says:

    The first glitches I remember encountering were in the original “killing dragons with a sword” game… yes, Atari’s 1979 “Adventure”, the one where your hero was a square, literally. There were several, especially in the game’s “random” mode, but the best was when a dragon ate you, then the thieving bat grabbed that dragon, all three of you would fly crazily through all the screens of the game, sometimes even seeing things that were otherwise inaccessible.

  54. His_Space_Holiness says:

    I’ve got a couple of Skyrim glitches under my belt already. The first, which is the exact opposite of fun, is when my character forgets how to run. Occasionally, when I’m switching armor around to allow myself to carry more loot than usual, I’ll get stuck into the slow-walking mode that indicates I’m carrying too much. No matter what I do, however much loot I drop or spells I cast, I’ll never run again. What’s worse, the same problem then afflicts every save game I have. The good news is that it goes away if I quit and restart, but I was mighty ticked the first time it happened.

    The other one is much better: in my first fight with a giant, I got my ass beat. I got my ass so beat that when he clubbed my brains out, said clubbing sent my lifeless corpse rocketing into the air at near-escape velocity. Alas, I didn’t take a picture before the game auto-loaded.

    • George_Liquor says:

      You could try toggling God mode on & off by bringing up the console & typing tgm. Turning it on negates the slow movement penalty when you’re overloaded. I haven’t run into that specific glitch, but when I’m carrying too much crap and don’t feel like spending hours juggling it around in my inventory, I use God mode to get to the nearest shop quickly.

      Lydia, my horse, and I were all launched into the stratosphere at the same time by a giant once. Lydia was the only one lucky enough to survive that impromptu skydiving trip.

      The only really egregious Skyrim bug I’ve encountered so far was during that Dreamstride quest. Quicksaving or allowing the game to auto-save during this quest causes it to crash to the Windows Desktop. From that point on, every  time you quicksave, no matter where you are, the game crashes! To fix this, you have to load a game save created before you began the Dreamstride quest, disable auto-save, create a new save game in the pause menu, kill yourself by typing player.kill in the console, load the saved game in the Dreamstride quest and finish it without quicksaving again. Why Bethesda hasn’t fixed this bug is beyond me.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I had that happen countless times, usually while having the key to run pressed during a level change. I found all I had to do was crouch and get back up.

  55. DrFlimFlam says:

    Another one – if your save file name has a certain amount of characters in Age of Empires for DS, the game will eventually brick out.

    Which is unfortunate, because I really liked it.

  56. Xtracurlyfries says:

    This is a long thread, so apologies if that was posted already. There’s a guy named Birgirpall on YouTube that posts a series of “I Broke…” videos which features the inherent glitches in games. I laugh my ass off at them. The fact that he’s got a funny accent helps.

  57. Fluka says:

    Showing up late to the party, but this might be my favorite comment section in Gameological ever.  I spent a good half hour laughing while reading it this morning (and shedding some tears over corrupted save files, sniff).  

    Not my own glitch, but my favorite is still this completely inexplicable Dragon Age: Origins glitch, involving a particularly, uh, light-headed templar.  Alistair!  Where are you going?!  Come back here!!

    • SamPlays says:

      Reminds me of this glitch in New Vegas…

      • Fluka says:


        “We’ll know right quick if you’ve got back all your faculties.”  I THINK SOMETHING IS STILL WRONG DOCTOR.

        • SamPlays says:

          I love the fact that this apparently happens at the very start of the game. I came across a handful of game breakers in Fallout 3 but this one really takes the cake – there’s clearly some Skyrim doozies out there, too. It’s almost inexplicable that these games can be equally awesome and broken simultaneously.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Creepy. Wrong. Inexplicable. Short. The perfect glitch.

  58. Boonehams says:

    A little backstory: since I’ve met her, I’ve been trying to get my girlfriend to experience different types of gaming. Before meeting me, the only games she ever played were turn-based RPGs.  That was it.

    That said, I was telling my girlfriend about Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which I had just purchased. I was telling her about how the game had an excellent story (something she looks for in a game) with a twist ending that felt organic and not forced. After some convincing, she decided to watch me play and she said that if she liked what she saw, she’d give it a go.

    After playing a bit, I came to the very first fight of the game and I started talking about the combat. “Oh, check this out,” I began. “I can leap-frog over the enemies by jumping at them and as I come down, I can attack and take them out. Here, I’ll do it to this guy to show you.”

    I approached the enemy, lept over him, but as I came down, I collided with a nearby pillar and got stuck in the environment. I was suspended in the air, caught in the middle of the pillar and I couldn’t move. Since I was so high off the ground, the enemies couldn’t hit me to knock me loose.  No matter what, I couldn’t get out. I was forced to reset the system and she walked off to read a book.  Needless to say, she has no desire to play it.

  59. ProfessorFarnsworth says:

    My favorite glitch is in my favorite XBOX 360 game: Alpha Protocol.  While fighting a boss and his health bar freezes.  Being naive and rather stubborn…I spent 2 hours fighting him, only to die hopelessly.  Another glitch to see came at the very end with a helicopter that would avoid direct hits by missiles, but not pistol shots.  Good times…

  60. Boo S says:

    I have a contender for strangest. It was in a PC game called STUNTS (sort of a more brainy PC version of the arcade hit Hard Drivin’) that came out in the era of 5 1/4 floppy disks. My friend’s little brother discovered that if you built a race course with a jump the length of the course and that revved the engine to top speed before hitting the edge, you could get stuck at top speed and then for reasons that only god himself would know, the back of your car would begin to lift into the sky and you would fly away thousands of game feet into the air suspended vertically as if a passing UFO had caught your back bumper in its tractor beam. If you did this right, you could stay up there for a few minutes and then upon crashing back to earth, bounce and do it again. The best part was that my friend’s brother called it Ah-Fweeeing because, duh,  that’s the sound you make when the car you’re driving inexplicably launches into the sky. Freedom.  

    • WarrenPeace says:

      If that’s the game I’m thinking of, I always used to do something similar, where if you crash into the back side of a ramp at a certain angle, it would just shoot you straight up into the sky, and you would go so high that it seemed like you were hanging there for a couple minutes before crashing back down to earth. The polygon graphics made this cooler because when you crashed it was like your car exploded, with bits of polygon hanging all around it and crashing down with you. Ah, the things I found endlessly amusing when I was twelve years old.

  61. I’ve got two.

    One was in GTA3. On the second island there was an underground tunnel with a hole in the universe sitting in one of the unremarkable grey corners. Push yourself into it and you would tumble down away from Liberty City until you popped back in the top (its turtles all the way down after all) and fell to the ground landing outside exactly up top from the tunnel. Total health loss for plummeting through the universe in its entirety? About 10hp.

    More recently, in Skyrim, I got into a premature battle with a frost giant. As I pathetically raced backwards shooting finger fire he closed the distance and got me in one good clubbing. As if to emphasize the power difference between us, my lifeless corpse bounced up into the air, flying, finally free. It sailed about as high as the dragons go before slowly descending back to earth. 

  62. c_bot2 says:

    My most memorable glitch was probably the one that prevented me from beating Quest for Glory IV. You had to place some kind of ancient symbol into a spot on an arch, and every time I did it would crash the game. I think there was a patch for it eventually but I just couldn’t bring myself to play through it again by that point.

    Most hilarious recent glitch was while playing Lego Lord of the Rings with my husband. Most of the characters can’t swim for shit and just start flailing around in a panic if they end up in water. We were at the part just outside the Mines of Moria, wandering around bashing stuff and whatnot. Suddenly we noticed that Aragorn had wandered into the lake and was drowning. One of us switched to him and walked him out of the water, then switched back and continued on. Moments later, Aragorn was back in the lake, drowning away. No matter what we did, he’d just end up back in the lake, flailing, once our backs were turned.

  63. ItsTheShadsy says:

    One more totally insane one: there is a certain corner in Super Mario 64 that, if you attempt to climb it, will kill you instantly.

    I still don’t fully understand what’s going on here. This baffled me so much as a child; it sounded like one of those awful made-up rumor “tricks” that people would spread. But it’s real, and it makes absolutely no sense.

  64. WarrenPeace says:

    I just watched Wreck-It Ralph tonight, and because of this discussion, there was one bit that amused me to no end: Ralph is in the back of the bar from Tapper, and a space marine stumbles down the hallway (presumably drunkenly), then proceeds to walk into a wall in exactly the nature of many a NPC. It was a pretty good gag, something that any player of that sort of game has seen countless times. That movie has so many easter eggs, and it’s also really good.

  65. grimnebulin2 says:

    Not sure if this is more a glitch or just bad AI, but in Grand Theft Auto 3, after getting a five-star wanted level, a tank chased me into a hangar at the airport and cornered me.  I thought I was done for, but when the soldiers piled out of the tank, none of them could hit me, since the tank itself was in the way and they didn’t move around at all.  I was able to squeeze off some head shots to take them all out, and the tank was mine.  I saved the game ASAP and then took a number of euphoric joyrides around town, delighted to discover that other vehicles simply exploded on contact if I didn’t blow the hell out of them first.

    I never saw a tank in Vice City or San Andreas.  In the former case I don’t think I ever even achieved a five-star wanted level, since the cops always took out my car with spike strips before I could cause too much mayhem.  I don’t recall offhand what the issue was in the latter case.

    Going a little more old-school, I was once cruising along having a great game of Nethack, when some glitchiness became attached to a set of candles (some of which are required to win the game) I’d picked up.  Every time I checked my inventory, I got the message:

    unpaid_cost: object wasn’t on any bill!–More–
    Program in disorder – perhaps you’d better #quit.

    No way was I #quitting–I’d probably already invested at least ten hours in the game so far.  I teleported into an alternate dungeon branch and abandoned the candles there like toxic waste.  To my great relief, I found enough additional candles to go on and win.

  66. Arokiuru says:

    my favourite glitches are probably those that I get in Guild Wars 2. We were in the middle of a goddang hard dungeon and my charr decided to quit his shit during a boss battle and slid halfway into the floor so his feet were sticking out of the ground and slid around the cave. I couldn’t help in any way so we kept losing. Fun times.

  67. SirExal says:

    Starfox 64 was not a very glitch-filled game, although as a kid I always wondered how I could fly straight through a building and come out the other side.

    But anyway.  I’m playing what was probably one of my first times through the left path, the harder one, and get to the second-to-last level, the entirely forgettably named Area 6.  The boss of Area 6 is a massive spacestation that fires missiles, exposes obvious glowing weak points, and most notably, fires an enormous pink death-laser periodically.

    One time, it may have even been on my last life, my poor crippled Arwing gets smashed by this brightly colored beam.  The death music starts, I see a glimpse of the flaming ship consumed in the flashed pink-and-white laser…then nothing.  No music. The white of the laser consumes all.  I promptly came to the conclusion that the boss had destroyed me so badly, it broke the game.  And how glorious was that.

    That, my compatriots, is a glitch.

  68. Vermes says:

    I’m kinda late to this party, but I wanted to share some stories about my haunted/buggy house in Skyrim. It’s the Windhelm house, which as you probably know was on release the buggiest of all the properties and still has issues to this day. The first awful thing to happen was that my mannequins starting eating the clothes I put on them. I had the Dark Brotherhood jester outfit on a mannequin, and when I would leave and re-enter, it would be gone and the mannequin would be naked as a jaybird. After experimenting with other outfits, I just let the damn doll have its naked time… but, two days later, the jester stuff re-appeared (minus the shoes), destroying the other armor I had placed on the mannequin. And the jester clothes kept re-appearing, meaning I had several copies of the jester outfit, which I promptly tried putting on other mannequins in the house. Now, all mannequins in my house wear jester clothes with no shoes on. If you take the jester clothes off, they will respawn on the mannequins as soon as you exit the house. But never the shoes. Shoeless Joe Mannequin ain’t havin’ ’em. If you put shoes on the mannequins, they will add them to inventory and refuse to don them.

    One more Windhelm house horror story: once, while I was trying to balance a butterfly jar on a shelf, I heard a sword tumble off a wall in another room for no reason. Then, I heard two sets of footsteps. My in-game wife and housecarl promptly began arguing over who saw it first. Cut to one minute later: my wife is dead on the floor and the servant is equipping his shiny new daedric sword. I reloaded a save game and went back to decorating my house. As I am putting jewelry into one of the display cases, I notice the wife and housecarl creepily standing beside me looking at the necklaces. Once again, they start debating about who saw what at what time, and it ends with me standing between them soaking up sword thrusts, trying to save my marriage and not have to fire/murder a valuable employee.

    • Fluka says:

      Wait, for the second part, are you sure that’s a bug and not a feature?  Because, man….*shudder*…that house just sounds straight-up haunted.  (Appropriate for something gained during “Blood on the Ice”!)  That said, a hungry clothes mannequin is the lamest haunting ever.

  69. pragmatiker says:

    No one mentions the multitude of weird glitches in Ocarina of time? Look up the “reverse bottle adventure” and “wrong warp” and prepare to have your mind blown.

  70. UnclGhost says:

    It wasn’t a glitch, but I thought I was going insane when I found the “Fake Crash” in Crash Bandicoot 3. It doesn’t help that it’s not hard to trigger.

  71. Halloween_Jack says:

    The late, lamented City of Heroes MMO had its share of landscape bugs, not counting the number of times that a mob would be embedded in a wall, which happened almost as often as not. (It was especially a pain if you were on a defeat-all mission; sometimes you could whittle them down with AoE attacks, sometimes you could lure them out, and sometimes you had to either restart the mission or email a GM for help, in which case they could use their infamous I Win Button.) Sometimes, though, you could go beneath or behind the scenery in the world map (I once spent nearly half an hour touring the underside of Talos Island after slipping in some invisible crack in the tiles; from the other side, buildings and people were visible but the “skin” of the map wasn’t–it was an MMO for voyeurs, since you had the glass sidewalk effect). Some people used a similar flaw in Perez Park, a zone that was composed mostly of mazelike woods full of mobs, to get behind the scenery and cross it without having to fight or dodge mobs. 

  72. Chris Hansen says:

    I said it before and I’ll say it again, Alpha Protocol is great. Broken? Of course. But also great.