Explaining exploits: when gaming glitches can be good

George Bell discusses why a game cheat can sometimes be pretty neat.

George Bell
1st June 2020

Cheating in a video game is never okay. That much is as clear as black and white.

But playing a game in a way beyond the creator’s intentions? That’s a bit greyer. I think exploiting a game's mechanics can be okay, and fun, if used in moderation. Here’s why.

When you are playing a game, chances are you’ll come across a bug (and not the creepy-crawly kind), especially if it’s a Bethesda game. Some of those bugs can be game-breaking while others can give you access to endgame loot. Once you find this really cool glitch, you're probably going to share it with your friends, who will then share it with their friends. Soon everyone knows about this glitch, including the developers, who can now fix the problem. This is great as it means the fanbase helped fix their game, and developers are able to code a better game than before. Without exploiting those glitches and bugs, the makers would have no idea what is happening and the game would be a buggy mess with the endgame reached way too soon. It turns out using the problem can actually fix the problem.

A big part of gaming is speedrunning - trying to beat a game in the quickest time possible. For speedrunners, game exploits are their bread and butter, doing anything and everything possible to cut off just a few seconds to break the record for a game. Chances are that a speedrunner has already played through the game several times and know all the tricks, like walls you can pass through or bosses you can skip altogether. So, if you have sunk hours and hours into a game, surely you deserve the chance to play it however you want, especially because you bought it? It’s also great just watching developers react to how much people can break their games when attempting speedruns with things they didn’t even think possible. A particularly good one is from developers for Outer Space.

Looters are a popular genre in gaming, with looter-shooters like Borderlands and Destiny being widely known triple-A titles. These are games that take a while to complete due to the grinding and repetition you need to do to level up and gain certain weapons. The game, no matter how much you like it, can get boring quickly so to stay engaged fans try and find quicker ways to progress and get the loot they really want. I will admit I have done this myself in games like Destiny when doing raids with friends. Sometimes it is just easier and less frustrating to not do what the developers intended. It can also be a lot more fun figuring out ways around certain mechanics in a game.

Not playing exactly how the developer wanted is okay - at the end of the day you bought the game you can play it how you like. It is some people's job to try and break a game, so why not give it a try yourself? Finding a little exploit can make your day, almost like finding a £20 note on the floor. But it should be noted that game exploits shouldn’t be used for your benefit if it comes at the disadvantage of those you are playing against. Feel free to kill bosses over and over for loot, just please leave me alone when I’m playing Overwatch.

Featured image: Bago Games

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AUTHOR: George Bell
One half film addict, one part computer nerd. All parts Croc lover

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