Glitches are usually minor annoyances to be patched over. But sometimes, glitches can provide much-needed inspiration for a feature/mechanic/plot point of a game! Here’s a selection of ten glitches that survived the QC process and officially became cherished part and parcel of their respective games:
1. TF2’s Spy
In the earliest days of Team Fortress 2, when it was still but a mod for good old Quake, teammates were identified by the colour of the text floating above their heads. If you were green and they were pink? Bang! But sometimes, the feature wouldn’t work as intended, and instead both friendlies and tangos would sport the same team colours. This provided the seed from which the idea for the Spy, capable of disguising themself as anyone, grew.
2. Super Mario’s multi-coin blocks
As you know, some blocks in Super Mario Bros. give out more than just one coin, sometimes even an extra life! Well, this was actually a bug the developers patched over, but they felt like the chaotic random fun part of the game was missing, so they put it back in.
3. Lara Croft’s bosom
When Toby Gard was designing the visual aspects of Tomb Raider, he wanted an Indiana Jones-esque character, complete with hat and whip. Fearing a lawsuit from Lucasfilm, however, they decided to make the main character a woman instead. Messing around with the blocky 3D model, Gard wanted her boobs larger by 50 percent, but accidentally inputted 150. Of course, his (mostly male) colleagues loved this and decided to retain the size, and the change has survived multiple generations of consoles and become a point of interest per se for the franchise.
4. Street Fighter combos
Before Street Fighter II burst onto the scene, fighting games were just about who could launch the most attacks and exhaust your opponent’s HP. Everything changed, however, when Noritaka Funamizu found a bug in the game that allowed him to launch multiple attacks using certain button combinations. At the time, he didn’t think too much of it, but when the game’s popularity ballooned, he made the executive decision to retain it as a feature for future Street Fighter games. And thus, the combo was born.
5. DotA denials
One of the most important things in a MOBA game is the Last Hit, because that’s the only way you’ll get extra gold. In DotA II, however, you can be blocked from gaining that sweet, sweet booty if your opponent ‘denies’ you the chance to perform a last hit on a creep! This originated from when DotA was a Warcraft III mod. A glitch enabled you to attack your own team, and Icefrog was so enthralled with the idea, they incorporated it into the game proper.
6. Quake rocket jumping
ID Software’s Quake was expressly designed to be fast-paced. But some players learned that you could give yourself a big old boost by jumping and firing a rocket at the same time! ID Software was so impressed by their ingenuity, they decided to put it into Quake III as a feature in its own right.
7. Race ‘N’ Chase’s Killer AI
In 1995, DMA Design released its revolutionary Race ‘n’ Chase. The top-down action racer where you could play on both sides of the law was infamous for hella bugs, one of which turned the police AI into sadistic killers hell-bent on hunting you down if you so much as sideswipe them, even mowing down pedestrians to do so. The end result? Yep, you guessed it, DMA folded into Rockstar and have been churning out GTAs ever since.
8. Minecraft creepers
When Notch was in the middle of developing Minecraft, he wanted to put a pig in the game. So he created blocky 3D models of pigs and inputted them, except he messed up the texturing. The result? The abominations known as Creepers. But Notch seemed to like them, so he put them in anyway!
9. The first ever Easter Egg
Decades ago, when Atari ruled the video game market, it was also one of the worst companies to work for, as their employees were treated like slaves and weren’t even credited in the games they made! Ticked off, Warren Robinette, the guy behind Adventure, hid his name deep within the mazes of the game, only revealing it by inducing a glitch known as sprite flickering. Of course, Atari executives, being the greedy capitalist bastards they were, never caught it, and when savvy players discovered Warren’s name, they backtracked and called it an easter egg.
10. A franchise based off a single glitch
While developing Onimusha: Warlords for the PS2, Capcom found a glitch whereby you could launch enemies into the air, and if they were attacked once there, they’d stay that way. Something like that obviously wouldn’t fit the game, so Capcom decided to bring it over to Resident Evil. Coming to the same realization a few months later, they finally made it into a brand new franchise called Devil May Cry.