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Top 7... horrendously buggy games we loved anyway

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5. Sonic Adventure | Dreamcast

For a game that started life on the Sega Saturn, you'd think Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast would've been easily ready in time for the Dreamcast's launch in 1999. Even though the game was available on day one, even contemporary reviews noted the abundance of bugs and glitches. The number of times Sonic glitched through the floor, got stuck on a step or juddered around like a rogue pneumatic drill did take a little of the shine off the jewel in the crown of Dreamcast's launch. And when you start looking for ways to break the game… well, it all just falls apart.

But it didn't matter. Not really. So you lost a couple of lives because Sonic was going so fast he beat the game's collision detection. You were playing a real 128-bit console game and the gaming world was changed forever. And the game had everything, just… everything with bugs in. Racing, snowboarding, sandboarding, pinball, air combat, virtual pet-raising, fishing… sure, it arguably diluted the core Sonic action, but it showed everything that the Dreamcast could do, right from the get-go.

Above: Erm, Tails, you really need to rephrase some of your mannerisms. People are starting to talk

That said, there was no excuse for the bugs reappearing in the subsequent GameCube remake, and even less the XBLA re-release. That last one not only left bugs in, but even added some more of its own. We (OK, Justin) had never lost a life on the killer whale bit in all our 12 years of playing the game… until the XBLA version arrived. Conversion: fail. Game? Win. But only just.

4. Far Cry 2 | 360, PC, PS3

In Far Cry 2 one of the hazards that can have a seriously damaging effect on your health is malaria. You know, malaria - that potentially fatal, infectious tropical disease spread by mosquitos. Death by bugs. So, the funny thing is, that Far Cry 2, the actual game, could also be killed by bugs. Not filthy flying ones that bite, but catastrophic programming ones that corrupted save data faster than a politician's penis in Amsterdam. One game. Two dangerous bugs. Irony so painful it needed to be administered with an epidural.

Above: What we've done here is use actual bugs as a metaphor for programming bugs

The game released in October 2008 and in the following days, widespread problems emerged on forums. Games freezing and crashing. Crucial mission-giving NPCs vanishing in a puff of confused algorithims. And, most cruel of all, save data going completely screwy, rendering all accumulated hours of gaming invested utterly worthless. Developer Ubisoft did eventually release a patch seven months after release (SEVEN SHITTING MONTHS!) which fixed the problem. However, it wouldn't uncorrupt save data that was already shafted. So you'd still have to start the game over again. If you hadn't already abandoned the will to live.

Above: That plane has definitely crashed

We gave the game a 9. We say 'we' but it was actually Dave. So blame Dave. Luckily, as is made apparent by the game's enviable Metacritic rating, we (i.e. Dave) weren't the only ones that completely managed to bypass all bugs during the review process. The last line of the review reads like so: "You’ll regularly play it until embarrassing o’clock in the morning, and then you’ll get up and shamelessly start all over again. And you’ll love every second."

In hindsight, this should have been added as the final sentence: "Unless bugs kill your Far Cry 2 and then you might want to go play something else for 7 months while waiting for Ubisoft to make it not broken."

3. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion | 360, PC, PS3

Welcome to the bug-fest known as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Where do we begin? Paintbrushes is probably the best place to start because it just goes to show how a bug as simple as gravity not being switched on for an in-game object can create hours and hours of fun. People climbed the highest towers in the land. Trapped their foes in the Arena. Not to mention decorated their houses as shown in this incredible video:

Some bugs were just annoying, like the Unknown Item that has no weight nor value, yet crashes your Xbox if you try to equip it. Some others could help you a great deal. Like, for instance, the bug that let you keep the effects of the Boots of Springheel Jak. Or the one where you could gain infinite money by looting the corpse of Dorian again and again and again. Is it possible to be over-encumbered by money? Not in Oblivion, it's not! Amazing considering its reputation…

Above: If it was possible, this is what being over-encumbumbered with money might have looked like

Oblivion set the precedent for buggy games from Bethesda, with Fallout 3 and its numerous expansions flying the gold standard for bugginess everywhere. Did it hurt our enjoyment of Cyrodiil? Not one iota. In a game this big and intricate, it's virtually impossible not to have some bugs that the programmers missed (or never expected gamers to discover), and finding them is just part of the fun. That said, if Skyrim isn't absolutely bloody perfect, there'll be hell to pay.

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56 comments

  • chill21genlee - October 26, 2011 4:40 p.m.

    To this list I would humbly submit the addition of: Virtually every EA sports game made on the current gen consoles. Most recently NHL12, which freezes more than Mr. Freeze's freezing freeze machine of Freezery... And, oh by the way, they darn well know they are pushing out incomplete games, and then take their sweet ass time to patch the mistakes they voluntarily ignored for the sake "going gold" by deadline. When the execs bonus' and funding is tied to the gold date, these things tend to happen more!
  • CharlieFockstrot - October 1, 2011 11:01 a.m.

    F1 2010&2011 should be on the list, More bugs than a hobos balls.
  • FOZ - September 28, 2011 5:16 p.m.

    I didn't actually find any major bugs in the PC version of Far Cry 2. You could phase through walls with the mortar, but maybe that was just a hidden feature, right? New Vegas, however. I guess there are tons of quests, but come on. It looks hideous, it can't handle more than like 8 NPC's, and I don't see any reason it's acceptable for the game running on ancient technology that has been around since the beginning of this generation to still crash so incredibly often.
  • komadose - September 28, 2011 9:47 a.m.

    also Stalker.
  • Craza - September 27, 2011 8:49 p.m.

    I've actually never had a big problem in Fallout 3. Maybe a couple of oddities, but I've had more glitches in Borderlands that I actually remember. However, 10 minutes into New Vegas, and I was getting quite a few. I'm surprised the dog's eyes in the "tutorial" section haven't been fixed yet.
  • d3v - September 27, 2011 7:38 p.m.

    Don't know why Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 isn't on this list (other than it being old). 80% of the strategies and tactics used in high level play (fly/unfly, infinites past the 50hit combo limit, guard breaks, etc.) were based on bugs and glitches. You literally has to break the game to play it at a high level and you know what, that's why the players loved it.
  • IChooseUAntistaMON - September 27, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    Halo 2 could also be on this list for that same reason, at a high level of play players always used the glitchs like bxr, bxb, fast reload etc.
  • lemur - September 27, 2011 2:12 p.m.

    gear of war 2 and 3 always seems to reset my rank. I don't cheat and it happens anyways. I just reached rack 5 on gears 3 and even got the achiement when my rank reset.
  • Mezolitik - September 27, 2011 4:37 a.m.

    The number of potential bugs in Fallout is incredible, but given the number of variables, it's amazing that the game actually works at all. I only witnessed one bug in Fallout 3, and that was in Mothership Zeta, but FO:NV is still a mess. However, I've yet to encounter anything that can't be fixed with a restart. I'm lead to believe that Gears of War is, and always has been, nearly unplayable on PC.
  • Hobogonigal - September 27, 2011 3:02 a.m.

    On my playthrough of Far Cry 2 I stumbled across a bug where my buddies would try to kill me after reviving me. I had to kill each and every one throughout the campaign and this really didn't help towards the difficult sections towards the end.
  • quincytheodore - September 26, 2011 10:50 p.m.

    Wow, I have to agree with the list, although not every one has happened to me. I'll sort it from the least fuked up. - Gears of War. I actually had not encountered many bugs. Maybe just slightly cropping and characters stuck, but nothing major or had hampered the game. - Oblivion. There were some annoying ones, but they were basically some clipping and whatnot. - RDR. The bugs ruined the atmosphere a bit, mainly because it happened when some missions and it glitched upon completion. Never encountered the donkey lady though. - Far Cry 2. Given the fact that I backtracked a lot, I've seen some dubious bugs, especially on the checkpoints where the enemies were supposed to respawn. Crashed many times on the final missions. - Fallout : New Vegas. Man, this one was quite a wreck. Crashed, slowed down, stuttered... and finally save game corrupted. :( Haven't played Dead Island. Will do soon..
  • Yeager1122 - September 26, 2011 8:45 p.m.

    Never encountered any bugs on dead island not finished yet though have to agree that bashing these zombies is so much fun.
  • TheZigMan - September 26, 2011 7:24 p.m.

    Red dead Redemption, Oblivion, Gears of War, and Far Cry 2 are all in my top 10 favorite games ever. I guess that goes to show a buggy game can still be awesome.
  • BackwaterRifle - September 26, 2011 7:14 p.m.

    Fallout New vegas is ******* glorious even with all the bugs. If you haven't played this game, shame on you.
  • HamsterGutz - September 26, 2011 7:01 p.m.

    I actually hate gears of war and fallout 3, but only because I couldn't get them to work on my computers(yes, 2 different computers I tried and still they didn't work) no matter what I did. Fallout 3 was actually the last game I bought for full price because of this. Oh well life goes on. XD
  • soxknight1127 - September 26, 2011 4:48 p.m.

    I've had New Vegas for like a year and havent played it yet for this reason. Gotta mention KOTOR 2 as well. Glitchy as hell and they had to throw a random ass ending on that made no sense because it referenced whole planets they never finished. Actually, you could pretty much make this list with just Obsidian games...
  • NullG7 - September 26, 2011 1:26 p.m.

    Olny have seen a coupple of bugs in the 360 version of Dead Island
  • QLev - September 26, 2011 12:47 p.m.

    Why the hell does Marcus have a Hitler 'stache in the picture for this article?
  • therawski - September 26, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    So many good memories playing Red Dead.
  • Crabhand - September 26, 2011 9:44 a.m.

    I had no idea Red Dead Redemption had such hilarious bugs. The only ones I encountered through the main story and Undead Nightmare were various clipping issues and weird interactions with the lasso. And I really enjoyed this top 7, partly because I've played several of the games on the list. I would like to think Dragon Age 2 deserves a mention, but nobody else seems to like that game :(

Showing 1-20 of 56 comments

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