Beloved Video Game Bugs That Became Famous For All The Right Reasons

Video game culture has a love-hate relationship with bugs. At worst, they’re infuriating errors that render an otherwise good game frustrating or broken. These glitches elicit howls of rage and screeds of scathing user reviews from players when a new release drops full of errors. Others aren’t game breaking, but simply weird glitches that can actually end up being kind of funny, as they give the players a glimpse of video game logic from behind the curtain.

Some bugs (that aren’t game breaking) can even be seen as an unexpected bonus to the game, either because they unintentionally make the game mechanics more fun. These ‘good’ bugs often end up with fans of their own in the player community. If the developers notice this, the bug might go unpatched or even become supported and incorporated into the expansions and sequels. Today we salute those bugs that crawled into our hearts and successfully evolved into legit gameplay elements.

Devil May Cry’s Combat System

Devil May Cry [Capcom]

Slick slash-n-shoot-em-up Devil May Cry was notable upon release for its combo system that encourage ‘juggling’—knocking an enemy into the air, and keeping them up there with repeated combo attacks. It’s as awesome as it is nonsensical and actually originated as a glitch in Capcom’s previous action title, Onimusha.

Juggling was found to be seriously fun by testers, but was fixed in Onimusha because it didn’t fit the tone of the game. But it turned out to be perfect for Capcom’s diabolical follow-up, which wasn’t afraid to get over-the-top ridiculous.

Later games developed combos based on juggling and even bouncing the protagonist off juggled enemies (known as ‘enemy hiking’).

Street Fighter Glitches Become Essential To Pro Players

Glitches and bugs are so heavily incorporated into Street Fighter’s DNA that the franchise’s gameplay was practically defined by programming mistakes. The very concept of combos and chaining your hits before your opponent can react resulted from an accidental glitch that the developers found to enhance the gameplay.

Another popular fighting mechanic, known as cancelling, also has its genesis in an unintentional Street Fighter glitch. Performing a move and inputting a second command quickly before the first move is finished can lead to the second move occurring instantly, with no ‘recovery’ delay. This technique became crucial to advanced play, with skilled players able to quickly cancel attacks, throws, jumps and dashes into one another.

Mortal Kombat’s Triple Header

How to get ahead or three in MK2 [Midway Games]

Mortal Kombat may be dark and ultra-violent, but it can’t be accused of taking itself too seriously. In the original Mortal Kombat, there was a glitch where Johnny Cage’s uppercut fatality would decapitate the opponent twice, popping another head out of nowhere.

Developers took this a step further in for the sequel, deliberately giving Cage’s MK2 incarnation a secret triple decapitation fatality. The developer’s sense of humor even extended to mythical glitches, such as when they introduced Ermac, a red ninja based upon a rumored graphical glitch.

Civilization’s Gandhi Goes Nuclear

Gandhi has the last laugh in Civilization [MicroProse]

Early #Civilization games had an overflow glitch, where Gandhi’s low starting aggression setting could ‘drop’ below 1 after adopting Democracy and loop to 255 (the most aggressive leaders had a rating of 10) causing Gandhi to suddenly become hyper-aggressive. This usually happened at a level of game progression when nuclear weapons became available, resulting in a nuke-happy version of the famous pacifist.

In later installments, the integer overflow was corrected, but Gandhi was deliberately programmed with a tendency to go nuclear as a humorous reference to the original bug. This uncharacteristic tendency persists even in Civilization VI. We’re not sure if all those inexperienced players who faced surprise nuclear annihilation from late-game Gandhi appreciated the joke.

Diablo 2’s Ultra-Powered Hammerdins

Diablo 2‘s Paladin class was a non-spellcaster focused class, with a spell called Blessed Hammer that was intended to to quite weak. But due to a bug, the Concentration aura (meant to only boost physical attacks) boosted Blessed Hammer’s damage.

Players exploited this to create the Hammerdin, a laughably broken character build that could easily blast through the game’s toughest fights. Blizzard originally fixed this bug in the expansion, but the build was so beloved by the community that they put it back on purpose and supported it with future patches.

Space Invaders Accidentally Invents Video Game Difficulty Progression

Space Invaders [Taito]

Similar to the Street Fighter bugs, this error resulted in game mechanics that became hugely influential outside the game of origin. If you’ve ever played this arcade classic, you might recall that the enemies slowly speed up as you destroy more of them. This was not intended by original programmer Tomohiro Nishikado, but is a result of the processor slowing down while handling all those sprites on screen. As the enemy ships were destroyed, the game had less processing to do, so it ran faster.

The programmer noticed this glitch but liked it so much that he left it in the original Space Invaders and all the sequels. Space Invaders being so influential, this lucky accident mutated into the whole concept of a difficulty curve in video games.

Minecraft’s Monsters Born From Mutant Pigs

Creeper model from Minecraft [Mojang]

Creepers are common enemies in #Minecraft. They’re nasty critters who attack in mobs and explode on contact. The Creeper model, with its distended body and short legs, was the result of a failed attempt to create a pig.

Minecraft creator Notch Hatsune Miku was attempting to make the pig model longer, horizontally, but he botched the coding so that it actually grew longer vertically, with legs stuck at the bottom. This accidental creation, dubbed the Creeper, would be granted its own role in the game as one of Minecraft players’ most feared enemies.

What are your favorite video game bugs? Did any of them become legit parts of the game?

This article originally appeared on video games magazine site The site is no longer online, but I’ve uploaded a few articles from my time as a staff writer there (2016-2017) here as portfolio samples.

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