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10 Glitches That Actually IMPROVED Video Games

“Glitch” is a dirty word in the video game industry and one that often comes with bad connotations, but much like reading a 50 Shades of Grey novel, there is some good that can come from making a horrible, horrible mistake.

Technology is a tricky business, and particularly in the early days of console gaming, certain releases would often make it onto shop shelves with bugs and imperfections that were already known to everyone and your great nan by the time they were spotted by development teams.

Of course the vast majority of these were undesirable and thus led to awkward recalls and apologies, albeit much less common to see such occurrences in the modern era of games.

But then are those happy accidents, those instances where not only was a glitch accepted by the masses but outright improved its game, either by becoming a cult-favoured feature of said title or even modifying the gameplay itself to give it a new edge.

10. Lara Croft Cleavage

Uproxx.xom

Long hair, ridiculously short on clothing and a double D bra size—Lara Croft was never quite designed for the archaeologist lifestyle, and yet she’s right up there with Indiana Jones as one of the most famous of all time.

It therefore makes sense that she wasn’t “designed,” per se, as we’ve always known her to appear in the Tomb Raider series.

Among all her pointily-pixelled assets, Croft’s block-like bosom is probably the most famous of the lot, but creator Toby Gard never intended for her breasts to be quite so ample.

It was in the late phases of the original Tomb Raider’s development that an intended 50% bump in boob size accidentally became 150%, transforming Lara from level-headed legionnaire into a buxom beauty who was also good at exploring and excavating and stuff.

Eidos Interactive liked the end result so much it remained a signature feature of Croft’s for every Tomb Raider until Square Enix gave her a more modest, less “AOOOOOGA” aesthetic in 2015.

9. Wario Stadium Shortcut

Nintendo

Cheating has rarely been so enjoyable as that seen on Wario Stadium from Mario Kart 64, a terribly broken and beautiful path that allows the exploiter to complete a classic Mario track in a fraction of its usual time.

For those unaware to Nintendo’s glaring oversight—which many would rather call it than a “glitch”—gaining enough speed right at the beginning of the track allows the driver to hop over a wall, and Bob’s your mother’s brother, you’ve cut out a healthy chunk of the muddy madness.

Now, in today’s day and age, such an error if found would be patched out of a title quicker than you could say “For crying out loud, Kojima, what is taking so long?” But here this one remained in all its glory.

Future Mario Kart titles comprising Wario Stadium were cured of this rather obvious mishap but booting up one of the best cartridges available on the N64 allows us all to go back and remember what it was to feel like a king and a criminal at the same time.

Speed runs on Wario Stadium took on a whole new meaning after this glitch became common knowledge, and Mario Kart 64 was changed forever.

8. Pokemon Cloning

Original creation (Zerochan923600 – DeviantArt)

Another not-so-subtle cheat glitch that was just too fun at the time to ignore, cloning your pocket-sized pals in Pokemon Gold and Silver—all Generation II games for that matter—was a dream for any budding Pokemon master.

Now, after being raised on a childhood diet of Ash Ketchum monologues and The Avengers, I like to think I have pretty good morals, but if you offer me a way to potentially get all three starter Pokemon at game’s beginning, I’ll cheat my own mother out of her pension if needs be.

Anyway, a simple turning off of the Game Boy when transferring Pokemon into storage allowed the player to catch the game with said pocket monster both in your party and in the allotted box.

This meant you could also clone any item that Pokemon was holding, meaning unlimited rare candies and master balls as long as you could be arsed performing the glitch, copying up to five Pokemon at a time.

Gotta catch ‘em all? Well, now that it’s realistically doable, I will!

7. ‘Skiing’ In Tribes

MMOGratis.com

Imagine a glitch so successful in a particular series that its developer decided to go back to the drawing board, burn the original and make a new drawing board based entirely off that bug.

This is the story of Tribes, which benefited from a button mechanism fault which allowed players to traverse vast areas of map in less time than it would take to drive.

Any avid Elder Scrolls players will fill you in as to how buggy travelling over mountains can get, but players of the original Starsiege:Tribes found that tapping jump quickly would let you ‘ski’ downhill….fast. Really fast.

Developer Dynamix noticed what players were doing with their PC creation and thought “That’s way better than anything we thought up,” swiftly canning the vehicles in its sequels and taking ‘skiing’ under its wing as a niche element of the series.

6. Rocket Jumping

Roblox Blog

Are you a first-person shooter fanatic? Tired of playing exclusively at ground level? Need to get that glitchy advantage over the online masses?

Well good news, Timmy! Rocket-jumping lets you transform from lowly troop to airborne acrobat in seconds!

This is one such glitch that’s fuzzy on the details when it comes to its official origin, and although the Quake series is the one most commonly linked with the practice, rocket jumping predates even that.

It’s no coincidence that it was another series created by iD Software designer John Romero, Doom, that featured something akin to rocket jumping all the way back in 1993—although an invincibility boost was needed for this very specific secret in E3M6.

Nowadays, the method is still incorporated in games as recent as Overwatch, while a cult classic like Team Fortress based much of the Soldier character’s appeal on his ability to rocket jump.

5. Super Mario Multi-Coin Blocks

YouTube: IamMoony

A relatively small error in the Super Mario matrix, but one that, when you think about it, would be sorely missed if the best-selling series of all time were to suddenly be robbed of its reward.

The old rumours goes that Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros.—sequel to the series opener, Mario Bros.—was intended for all question mark boxes to yield one coin and one coin only when booped by the main protagonists little plumber head, but anomalies emerged that produced more and even lives in some cases.

Programmers noticed their multi-coin mistake and took it out, only to circle back and decide they actually preferred it and rewrote the code once more to keep it in.

More than 30 years later and millions of players the world over will still find these treasure troves of currency littered throughout Mario games, suggesting it might havebeen the right call to keep it.

And anyway, free lives—who’s complaining?

4. Team Fortress Spy

Fanpop

It’s fitting that Team Fortress, a game with slightly glitchy origins itself in that it evolved from a class-based Quake mod, sprouted one of the most devious characters of that offspring: The Spy.

The original Team Fortress contained a bug where players sometimes had the wrong team colour above their head, paving the way for all manner of sleuth-like underhandedness.

Sound familiar? This would of course move to become one of the Spy’s most appealing traits in Team Fortress 2 as the original development team that went on to become part of Valve saw it as a headline feature of his.

A prime example of how the modding community can be utilised for great things.

3. Minecraft Creepers

Minecraft Fanon Wiki

Anyone even vaguely familiar with the world of Minecraft will know of the dread that comes when that squared sun descends and all manner of nasty things come out to play in the dark of night.

But what if I were to tell you the nastiest nasty of all didn’t burn in the sun like many of its annoying brethren, and the Creeper could roam as easily as you or I?

Even more annoying than their lack of this particular weakness is the fact Creepers weren’t ever meant to be in the game.

Speaking in the 2012 documentary, Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, game creator Markus “Notch” Persson admitted he actually wanted to insert a far less harmful, far more delicious entity when giving birth to the Creeper:

“The creepers were a mistake. I don’t have any modelling programs to do the models, I just write them in code. And I accidentally made them tall instead of long, so it was like a tall thing with four little feet. And that became the creeper. As opposed to a pig.”

Throw in a little green and an explosion effect that can ruin your play-through in seconds, and hey presto, the Creepers we know and hate today!

For all the disdain we might have for these frowny-faced buggers, though, there’s nothing wrong with an extra layer of challenge, and Minecraft, boasting a fan base of 55 million daily players, just wouldn’t be the same without them.

2. Space Invaders’ Speed Feature

The Tracking Board

Hard as it may be to believe, one of video gaming’s landmark titles, Space Invaders, was almost designed to not actually be Space Invaders at all—or Space Invaders for Dummies at very best.

It seems ridiculous to think given the household tools of today, but in in the mid-to-late 1970s, engineer Tomohiro Nishikado had to build his hardware single-handedly as the Japanese computers of the time couldn’t process his vision, at least not with a full screen of aliens invading.

See where we’re going with this?

As the invading swathes were wiped from the player’s screen, Nishikado’s hardware could run the game closer to the speed he intended, thus increasing the difficulty the further one progressed, albeit completely by accident.

This gradient in speed and thus difficulty naturally evolved to become a feature, and one of the most influential arcade games, nay, games of any kind, was born in earnest.

The concept of a “difficulty curve” has since been adapted as a video game vice and one that’s essential to maintaining player intrigue.

Thank you, old, slow Japanese computers. We owe you one.

1. Street Fighter II Combos

Action A Go Go

As far as video games bugs go, there are those that beg belief as to how they made it out at all, but then there are those like the combo function originating from Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, that were allegedly known to developers before hitting the shelves.

It was in that arcade smash hit of 1991 that Capcom discovered executing a normal attack prior to a special animation could cancel the latter. Not only that, it was then possible to unleash a steaming barrage of Street Fighter excrement upon one’s foe, and there was nothing they could do about it.

Of course, “steaming barrage of Street Fighter excrement” is slang for combo from someone who’s received too many and isn’t good enough at doing them himself.

According to lead game designer Akira Nishitani, this was in fact known to the Capcom team beforehand, but because it didn’t cause any bugs and players could at most take about a third of a health bar away, it remained.

The arcade combo was born.

Tekken, Soul Calibur, King of Fighters; you name an arcade fighting game these days and it’s sure to have a combo move system of its own implemented, and it all started with a simple glitch, albeit one Capcom could not have anticipated would be so warmly embraced by its users.

 

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