Top 7... horrendously buggy games we loved anyway

Games so good we could forgive the technical shittery

2. Red Dead Redemption | 360, PS3

Let’s just kick off with this…

Donkey woman is just one example of when animal characteristics are accidentally fused with human NPCs in Red Dead Redemption. Have a search on YouTube and you’ll find loads of equally scary/hilarious examples of cross-breeding in Rockstar’s Wild West classic.

If you see such a glitch in almost any other game you’d be riding straight back into town to demand a refund. But with Rockstar it inadvertently adds another level of intrigue and fun to the world. Players are keen to capture footage of the most bizarre things they come across. It seems that the more Rockstar tries to create realism in its games, the more freaky glitches they feature. Even GTA IV has its fair share, including the spooky swing. And yet, rather than feeling we’ve been sold short, the presence of amusing bugs is actually considered a positive 'feature'. Think of it as unpaid DLC.

With so much complex cleverness going on behind the scenes in Red Dead Redemption – like a fully functioning eco-system where animals roam around and eat each other – you’re obviously going to stumble across a fair share of mad stuff. But it helps to keep those treks across dusty trails entertaining and that’s why we love stumbling across them.

Above: John Marston wonders why flying people are in his game

The most memorable glitch we came across involved a mighty vulture. It starts waddling toward us at pace, like some nightmarish penguin, so we rapidly unload a clip of revolver bullets into the intimidating feathered beast. We trundle over to carve it up, but just before we reach the bird it stands bolt-upright, sets off away from the knife-wielding John Marston and takes off into the sky. The wings never flap but it disappears into the distance. We like to think that it's up there somewhere with our Gears of War magic sky-car.

1. Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas | 360, PC, PS3

The modern Fallout games are a lot like the game coding equivalent of method acting. So crumbly and shambolic are they that it’s almost as if Bethesda has tried to create a total immersion post-apocalypse experience for the player, making the gameplay experience the same combination of hardship, random disaster and sheer untamed madness that would be a day-to-day occurrence when trying to survive a lawless nuked-out wasteland.

AI will chase you indefinitely and indestructibly across the map like a Terminator. Infinite XP and money exploits are everywhere. Correct clipping is frequently optional. Character models will explode into stringy elastic polygon reinterpretations of themselves in a modern abstract art style, before launching themselves high into the sky. Hell, you can even play the game as a baby. And that’s just Fallout 3.

Pre-patch, a lot of the Fallout 3 DLC was unplayably shoddy (particularly on the PS3), with frame-rates frequently dropping to below 1 FPS. In fact it’s a testament to that legendary choppiness that it was occasionally impossible to tell whether the game was just frame-hanging or had hit a full-on hardware-killing crash. And then Fallout: New Vegas arrived. And sweet Jesus, we had been prepared for it by nothing we had seen before. Take a look at this list of documented glitches. It’s like a bottomless pit of coding errors. The game could almost have been put out like a video game version of a build-it yourself kit-car. Still, at least the magic bucket glitch was fun.

September 26, 2011

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I don't have the energy to really hate anything properly. Most things I think are OK or inoffensively average. I do love quite a lot of stuff as well, though.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi, I’m Nathan. You may remember me from such websites as, erm, this one circa 2011. Been hustling in games for over a decade and write for Official PlayStation, Official Xbox, Gamesmaster and more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The longest-serving GR+ staffer, I was here when all this was just fields. I'm currently Reviews Editor but still find time to speedrun Sonic levels and make daft Photoshop articles.
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