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10 ‘Intentional’ Mistakes of Video Game Developers

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Image Credits: JazzReviews

Video games are expensive projects. Whether a company outsources developers or permanently hires staff, it’s still a time-consuming affair. With limitless trial runs, constant repairing of bugs, glitches, crashes, and aversion of potential hacks, each video game will test a developer’s patience. They have to face extreme time limitations, and due to the rise in the competition of studios in both the Triple-A and Indie genres, the teams have to be in a constant crunch mode.

Developers working on potentially popular titles, or the ones purported to be generational hits, have to be equipped with an immense amount of patience, skills, and sleeplessness.

Nove since most of their time revolves around computers, any bit of fun which they can professionally choose to instill can be done so in their projects.

One way is by adding easter eggs. These are nothing but minuscule or small facets built within the games, which can be understood by players, but in a not so simple way. The results can vary from a simple printed message or image to a page of programmer credits or a small video game hidden inside an otherwise serious piece of software. They can be references to elements of pop-culture, ideas from the maker’s own franchises, or some quirks of developers.

But the other way is by inducing “happy accidents.” These are nothing but intentional mistakes of developers approved by their team-leads, which were discovered purely through accidents.

By switching-off effects, entering different codes, and incorporating other purposeful aspects that the player can’t discover by progressing through story-driven locations, in the game’s world. These are carefully placed, discreet ideas that are interesting and sometimes hilarious.

Here are ten of such mistakes intentionally placed by video game developers, along with their backstories.

1) Claw

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Image Credits: Old PC Games

Countless fans must’ve enjoyed defeating enemies with sword thrusts, and many must’ve discovered that even after the enemy dies, you keep pressing the attack command to keep the enemy mid-air, in what seems to be a kind of hilarious ‘juggle’. This wasn’t actually intended, for the original game plan.

Claw developer Keven Lambert said “So, when you kill an enemy, they arc-up and then fall down – splashing into the water like they got thrown off a ship. The programmer who did the coding for this forgot to turn off the hit detection when the enemy died, however, so you could step forward and hit them again… this resulted in being able to keep walking forward and “bouncing the enemy” all the way across the screen before he finally fell down and died. I told the programmer, “This is AWESOME!” and he argued vehemently, “No, it’s not. It’s a BUG!”

He was determined to fix it, and I had to fight with him for DAYS before he agreed to leave it in. Eventually, we embraced this “bug” and added a bounce counter. To this day, in over 25 years of game development, that is still my best, ‘It’s not a bug it’s a feature!’ story.” over a discord chat.

Also Read (relatable): Time and Tide Waited for this 23-Year-Old Video Game

2) Half-Life 2


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Image Credits: GameSpot

One of Valve’s legendary games, Half-Life is the FPS title that’s one of the best among this generation.In a sequence of the game’s second episode, the player comes across a dumpster, from which we can hear banging noises coming from inside. To kill their curiosity, lots of players decided to throw a grenade in there to kill a zombie which presumably exists in it. But funnily enough, it gets thrown back them leaving them surprised.

Kerry Davis, one of the game’s developers said “However, with this particular dumpster, any time you throw a grenade in, it gets thrown right back out. Many players thought this was a glitch or mistake in the game’s programming, but it was intentional, coming about thanks to a freak accident.

In this scene, we rigged an entity called a physics explosion to create movement inside the boxes among dumpsters. One playtester threw a grenade into the dumpster and the physics explosion entity caused the grenade to fly back out. The player was shocked, thinking the zombie has tossed back his grenade. Although this happened by accident the first time, we went ahead and set up the entities to make sure it happened for every player who lobs a grenade into the dumpster ” in his commentary.

3) The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time

The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time Link
Image Source: Screenrant

The Legend Of Zelda is one of the most beloved video game franchises of all time, and Ocarina Of Time is one of the most beloved games within the franchise. But originally when released, the game was riddled with bugs and hilarious glitches, which were bittersweet. Their admirers used those glitches to discover locations, and play the game in uncanny ways. After a short while. Japanese studio Grezzo did its makeover for the Nintendo DS. Funnily enough, it was released in its unrepaired form.
The developers later admitted that this was all intentional and was done to preserve the memory and charm of the game. They decided that the best thing to do was to leave in the old tricks for people who wanted to use them. Some of the more serious glitches were removed, but the 3DS version still allows you to exploit the game in a myriad of ways, like clipping through walls to access blocked off areas.

4) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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Image Credits: NDTV

Skyrim. One of the games of the decade, is known for its massive world and immense customizability amidst lovers of the action/adventure genre, is the lore of bugs and glitches like many of Bethesda’s popular titles. Some are fixed, and some are left to be messed with under the request of fans and/or devs. On the latter note, one thing that’s interestingly cool in the game is that your character will go all airborne when you die, and wobble like some sort of medieval ragdoll. Any sort of death can result in the second one’s happening, whether you get stabbed, burned, or you fall on some rocks. In addition to the ragdoll effect, some deaths will also result in the player being launched across the world at an alarming speed, as though an invisible catapult was trying to shoot them into the afterlife. It’s like a human version of a space shuttle taking off.

This mostly happens with giants, who will thrust you up in the sky whenever they strike a death blow, and at face value. It’s actually an intended feature of the game.

5) Sonic The Hedgehog 3

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Download Game | GameFabrique
Image Credits: GameFabrique

The Sonic games are all about achieving blazing speeds, collecting hoops, and constantly defeating Dr. Robotnik. One of the most popular and looked-upon classics of SEGA. But there’s a cheeky bug set by developers for those adrenaline junkies, who can never have enough of the speed. By going too quickly at certain times, there’s a chance that Sonic will clip into an object and get stuck inside it, forcing the player to start over if they want to continue. What makes it even more hilarious is gamers often do it, just to ‘achieve’ this bug.

Sega knew all about this bizarre, frustrating bug, and just decided to leave it in the game. Page 27 of the user manual even contains an excuse as to why this might happen to the player: “Dr. Robotnik has created many diabolical traps which take advantage of Sonic’s ultra-fast speed. Watch out for traps that Sonic cannot escape. If you fall into the wrong trap, you might have to reset the game (by pressing the RESET button) and start again at the beginning of the Zone you were last in. When Sonic is flashing (after being hit) don’t let him travel too quickly.”

6) Portal

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Image Credits: Game System Requirements

Portal. Another significant game of the era, developed by Valve. Known for its pass-through interface, well-designed levels, and fun characters, the title has been a major hit. One of the Challenge levels can be completed in a little flurry of seconds by exploiting the game’s mechanics, with highly precise timing and placement of an opening. This was initially believed to be a bug left unrepaired, by the developers, but they actually knew about it all along and left it in the game intentionally. The team had discovered the strategy during testing but actually explained in the in-game commentary that since it took such a lot of skill and crazy timing to pull off, they wanted to leave it in for the most skillful players to find out. It’s a feat on its own.

Also, there’s a medal associated with finishing that level in this way.

7) Mortal Kombat II

Mortal Kombat II Video Game
Image Credits: Mortal Kombat Fandom

This isn’t exactly a bug or a glitch, but it was inspired by one. In the first Mortal Kombat, a bug caused two heads to appear when players performed Cage’s original upper-cut fatality. Players got fond of it and thought it only added to the game’s ridiculous, over-the-top sense of gory violence.

In Mortal Kombat II, the character Johnny Cage is set with a lesser-known, hidden fatality. The move shows Cage performing an uppercut and punching off the head of his opponent. He then crouches down and performs another two uppercuts, which make another pair of heads grow from the victim, and get severed off. So the developers decided to not only keep the bug in the game’s sequel but to make it better. They added in a third head and the ‘Triple Decap’ became one of Johnny’s most memorable and amusing finishing moves.

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8) Borderlands II

Borderlands 2 Video Game
Image Credits: Epic Games Store

Made by Gearbox Software, in Borderlands 2, Tiny Tina is known to be a hilarious wreck of a character. With her love for explosives and a deep love of crumpets, she will provide the player with oddly crazy, yet very helpful assistance to eliminate the main antagonist.

But what players began to notice after seeing her for the first times, was that her left eye would occasionally flit back-and-forth (while her right eye remained still), which, although it fit well within the wacky world of Pandora, looked like a straight-up error, and many players assumed that it was a bug/glitch.

And it turned out that that ita actually was. While the developers never meant for this to happen while they were designing and coding Tina, they decided that it matched her utterly insane and bonkers personality, and chose not to fix it.

9) Fallout 3

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Image Credits: Fallout Wiki

In the Fallout video game series, when you recruit characters for your journey, they might demonstrate some slightly strange behavior. For instance, they remain unaffected by radiation poisoning and at times will refuse to give you weapons or items.

Besides, since the NPCs (non-playable characters) usually want things or money in exchange for other items, some companions will refuse to give you stuff unless you offer them something in return. The developers intentionally added this feature, as it gave the companions a sense of autonomy and personality, rather than having them just being the receivers of the player’s orders at all times. This originally started as a bug since the decision to add companions to the games was quite a late one and much of the game’s code was already written.

10) Quake 3

Video Game Quake 3
Image Credits: Somag News

Quake 3 was the first game in the series to ditch the singleplayer campaign, to be centered purely as an arena-based battle-royale and/or multiplayer. This was an odd design for its time but got highly acknowledged and became influential. Due to this, you’ll be able to kill a lot of enemies during your time playing, since that’s really the only thing you can do.

While at your fun bloodshed, you might’ve noticed that enemies sometimes explode into a smattering of fleshy chunks when killed. In the Quake series, this effect is known as “gibbing” – derived from “giblets” – and can happen to most characters, regardless of their shape, size, or race. Most interestingly though, it can also happen to Bones. Why is that interesting? Well, Bones – as the name implies – is a skeleton, and doesn’t carry any soft tissue on top of his basic frame. So, when he gets gibbed, where does all that flesh come from? In the game’s instruction manual, which features the line: “where do the gibs and blood come from??”, we get to know that the developers of ID software simply did not create a different gibbing animation for the character.

Materials’ source: Whatculture

Written by Pramshu Peri