Exploring Gaming's Glorious Glitches

Not everything goes according to plan when making games. Michael Hicks runs us through gaming's most memorable bugs and glitches.

Michael Hicks
27th November 2017
Image: Flickr.com

I love video games. If there’s one thing I love about video games, it’s watching games break. Glitches are present in every game; from the most polished, finely-crafted technical masterpiece, to games about as easy to break as a wet Weetabix. As a self-proclaimed buff of bugs, I’m here sharing my favourite glitches in games.

5: Backwards Flying Dragons - Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

When it comes to glitches, no one can beat Bethesda for sheer quantity. Really, I could’ve picked any single game of theirs from the past two generations and been spoiled for choice, but my favourite Bethesda glitch is in Skyrim. Skyrim in a place of many wonders. I vividly remember the first time I found a dragon. It was majestic; breathing scorching fire, looping gracefully in the air, all backwards. It truly was a sight to behold. I both couldn’t believe my eyes, and couldn’t breathe from laughing so hard. Though now sadly patched out, they will live on in legend.

4: FIFA Glitches - FIFA Franchise

I don’t watch much football, but I would if the goalie was 30 feet tall, bow-legged with a tiny torso, and phased through the floor every time they jumped. Or if a player’s face suddenly stretched across the pitch, transforming them into a terrifying spider monster hellbent on scoring the equaliser for AFC Wimbledon. Ever wanted to live out your 2011 Premier League fanfiction and have Andy Carroll kiss Fabianski? Well now you can, and so, so much more. Fifa glitches are EA’s greatest contribution to video games.


3: The Minus World - Super Mario Bros

One of the earliest well-known glitches comes straight from one of the most famous games of all time; the original Super Mario Brothers. The Minus World (also known as World -1) is an endlessly looping underwater level. Accessed via using a walk-through-walls glitch to gain access to the 1-2 warp room, and jumping into a pipe before the game properly loads. The pipe at the end of the level loops back to the start, thus dooming Mario to endure this underwater purgatory until the timer (and his lives) run out.

2: MissingNo - Pokemon Red and Blue

We finally come to what is possibly the most famous glitch in all of the video games. MissingNo (so called because of character limitations for names) is the most famous glitchy resident of the Pokemon world. A Bird/Normal type (Bird itself being dummied out, present only in code) that was rumoured to cause all sorts of chaos, from deleting your save file to possibly evolving into the MewThree of playground legend. All it really did was increase the item in your sixth slot of the bag by 128, allowing for some sneaky duplication of rare items. It also messes up the Hall of Fame, but no one ever clicked it. Free rare candies for all.

1: The Swingset of Doom - Grand Theft Auto IV

Deep in the Firefly Projects of Liberty City lies a secret. One so powerful, it can launch men with fishy Eastern European accents and cars flying into the sky. Lying in a park is a swing-set with some strange collision detection. Standing on, or between, this swing-set can catapult Niko (and whatever rare and fragile supercar he happens to have borrowed at the time) literally across the map, usually exploding in a giant fireball as it collides with the Statue of Happiness’ face. This one is very easy to set up, and well, well worth trying out yourself.

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