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Game Glitch Gallery

by Michelle Deco on 03/12/18 10:24:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Like most things in life, video games aren’t perfect. There are bound to be glitches players stumble across during their playthroughs. While the most egregious offenders are often found before the game ships (such as a crash or other critical error), most have little to no harmful effects. Some can actually help the player, and others can have a humorous effect on gameplay. Here’s a few I’ve encountered over the years.

Final Fantasy VI – Save Points

At times, the gameplay in Final Fantasy VI requires the party to split into two or three groups. These groups, through constant switching by the player, require teamwork to solve puzzles in difficult dungeons. (For example, Group A needs to raise a gate so that Group B can proceed.) Normally, saving the game (indicated by a blue sparkle on the ground) is limited only to the party the player is currently controlling, but a glitch involving save points allows all groups to save. Let’s say Group A is standing on a save point and the player saves their game. If the player switches to Group B (or C for three-party dungeons), doesn’t move an inch, and opens the menu, the player can also save their game with Group B, as well as make use of items exclusive to save points, such as Tents (which fully heal the party). The glitch allows Group B to be treated as Group A, so long as the former does not move from their spot. This can be helpful for players who need to save their game after solving a puzzle, or need to heal with a Tent.

The Glitch In Action


Super Mario Galaxy 2 – Die in Credits

Probably the most unusual and hilarious glitch I’ve come across, this glitch can be difficult to pull off because of its requirements. For starters, the player will have needed to collect all 120 Stars during gameplay, which is no easy feat given the difficulty of some of the later tasks. After beating the final boss and viewing a lengthy cutscene, the credits will start rolling, during which the player can control Mario (or Luigi) as normal. During a certain credits screen, the player needs to obtain a Bee Mushroom (a power-up enabling temporary flight), which will only appear with the aforementioned 120 Stars. At the next scene, the player needs to fly away from a snow-covered hill. If done correctly, the game will count the out-of-bounds as death (with the appropriate “Too Bad!” text showing and music playing), and the screen fades. Though the screen turns black, the credits resume normally about a minute later.

The Glitch In Action


Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars – Kero Sewers Warp

In some cases where devs anticipate savvy and clever players, a glitch may be worked around to prevent players from exploiting the game’s environment. In Super Mario RPG, Kero Sewers is an early dungeon that contains an inaccessible rare item, meant to be obtained later via a warp pipe from a future dungeon. Players can access the rare item (which changes to a common item should players attempt to get it early) and the warp pipe by encountering a Boo, a ghost-like enemy, near the pipe, then running away. In this instance, the Boo becomes solid, allowing players to use it as a platform to get to the pipe and the item. Should players use the pipe to warp to the other location (Land’s End), a Shy Away (a flying enemy) warns the player that it’s a dead end and that they should turn back. The player cannot progress any further through Land’s End, but they can attempt to defeat the Shy Away (a VERY difficult enemy at this point in the game due to the player’s low levels) if they so wish.

The Glitch In Action


Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest – Screech Race

Considered to be one of the most difficult platformers on the SNES, Donkey Kong Country 2 contains a glitch that enables the player to ease the difficulty on one of the end stages. In the penultimate level of a normal playthrough, the player must transform into an animal buddy, Squawks (a green parrot) and race against Screech, a demonic-looking bird. During the race, however, there are numerous obstacles that need to be avoided, making the race even more difficult. If the player loses the race against Screech, they will also lose a life. However, the player can avoid the race by flying near the topmost part of the screen, over Screech. While the attempt will likely cause damage, the player is no longer bound to the race and can collect and explore freely without penalty.

The Glitch In Action


Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island – Bowser’s Castle Lava

Another rather unusual glitch hides in one of the most unusual platformers to grace the SNES. The last level of Yoshi’s Island stands out, as the player can choose which door they want to enter. If they enter Door 1, they will encounter a difficult platforming section with lava and spikes. Halfway through, they will come across a bridge that is activated by a temporary switch. Ordinarily, if the player falls into the lava, they will lose a life and be taken to the Continue screen. However, if the player falls into the lava and bounces back ONTO the switch, their life counter will still decrease by one, but the player is still considered “alive” and can continue to play the level normally. If this occurs when the player is down to their last life, the counter will overflow, setting their maximum lives to 999.

The Glitch In Action

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