The Perils with Patching Glitches, and Unintentional Game Design.

To answer that, we need to talk about parallel universes.

Bilbo Baggins

Most big game developers think glitches are just issues to be ironed out. But what if they are more? And if they are, then why do developers murder them without hesitation.

Image:  Behaviour Interactive Inc. (Dead by Daylight: Jeryl glitch (patched))

Glitches have so many beneficial effects. They can form inside jokes in communities, create new speed run strategies and even be a topic for clickbait YouTube videos. In speed running, glitches are essential for keeping up with top runners (just ignore the glitchless category for this argument). When glitches disappear, it can mess up communities. If there’s a glitch that makes beating the game faster and Nintendo patches it, it alienates new runners from joining and leaves speed runners with three choices.

  • Make everyone play on the current patch even though the game can technically be beaten faster on the earlier version.
  • Separate the patches into two different categories, leading to confusion and division.
  • Download a version of the earlier patch using an emulator, which I’m sure Nintendo doesn’t like us doing.
Image: Nintendo (Breath of the Wild: the Lizalfo curse (Patched but then refound but then patched in Tears of the Kingdom.))

Now not all glitches are good. Some just ruin games. The release version of Fallout 76 was nearly unplayable because of the glitches. Some people have had their pc become bricks because of glitches. We can’t just say, “never patch glitches” because treating every mistake as a miracle leads to a shit painting (I’m sorry Bob Ross but it’s true.) So where do we draw the line?

I think developers before patching something should ask themselves, “Is the game becoming worse because of this glitch? And how likely is this going to ruin someone play session?” Or they could take the time to ask the community. a lot of people will be willing to put their input for how a game should be.

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