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Video games are supposed to be controlled environments created by a team of developers over a period of years. But, inevitably, problems do occur. Games often ship with bugs which can have some really strange consequences, and though developers go over their product with a fine tooth comb they can't overcome the prying eyes of legions of players, who will inevitably find the smallest glitch and take advantage of it.
Some glitches, however, are bigger and better than others and take on a life of their own, be it for better or worse. The three video game glitches here are my top three of all time, and although they all came to be on this list for different reasons, I think they are all significant. So, let the glitches begin!
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Deus Ex UNATCO Friendly Fire
Deus Ex is one of my all time favorite games. Its levels are large and gives lots of room for exploration and experimentation. I have played Deus Ex about seven times through in my life, and even on the seventh play-through I was still finding little details I had not seen before.
However, this kind of open-ended gameplay leaves room for glitches. Lots of them. There are many I could talk about, but my favorite occurs when you trick characters into fighting one another. What this basically involves is shooting a soldier during the early visits to UNATCO, then running away and finding another soldier to hide behind. If you can get the soldiers to shoot each other, all hell breaks loose - and soon the entire UNATCO headquarters is in on it. However, at this early stage in the plot the characters are invulnerable (so you can't break the plot) so no one dies despite being riddled with thousands of bullets. Everyone will eventually run out of bullets and just start knifing each other. Yes, these soldiers can shank with the best of them.
For a particularly fun variation on this glitch, check out the Deus Ex "Things Never Seen" webpage. There are also tons of other Deus Ex glitches listed on this page, so check those out as well.
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Need for Speed: Shift Bouncing Cars
When EA announced Need for Speed: Shift they positioned it as an ultra-realistic reboot of the series. It was supposed to be a game that could bring real racing physics to the masses.
Well, things didn't turn out that way. While still a fun game, Need for Speed: Shift's physics clearly fell very far short of realism. Cars could tear around corners in the strangest ways. But the real problem with the physics was that they were often completely and totally glitched. For some reason tuned cars could be induced to bounce endlessly, turning them into hovercrafts. The worse glitches were the result of crashes with the same tuned cars, however. In some cases the crash would cause the cars to go into automotive seizures, flipping and bucking wildly.
As hilarious as these convulsions are to watch, the Need for Speed: Shift glitches are an example of how glitches can really hurt a game's credibility. The bouncing cars reduced the game's racing physics stature in enthusiast's eyes and brought to light the flaws in the physics engine.
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Oblivion Duplication (And More)
Short of MMORPGs, no PC game series has offered as large of a game world to explore as the Elder Scrolls games. The huge size of these games, however, means that there are usually tons of glitches which can be found. The rag-doll physics themselves can give you hours of fun.
My favorite, however, are the duplication glitches in Oblivion. It isn't hard at all to duplicate items. This can be used in various ways to make your character very powerful, but that isn't the point. It is very easy to make yourself powerful using the mod tools. There fun from the duplication glitch is that you can duplicate the most unusual items. Want a thousand watermelons? Why not?
Of course, this is best when used in combination with other glitches. Want to dive-bomb the guards with watermelons? Why not? Want to shoot enemies from an unobtainable position? Just give yourself infinite arrows and let the fun begin!