We’ve all seen those walkthroughs with gamers getting mad at glitches spoiling their fun. Even though video game glitches can ruin excellent gameplay and irritate players, they’re impossible to avoid. Video game glitches are any type of fault that causes a game to do something it otherwise shouldn’t.
Whether we like it or not, these glitches and bugs are essential to the gaming experience. After all, game developers are human and aren’t immune to mistakes. While you can’t control these glitches (aside from hope that they don’t ruin your save or progress), there are other steps you can take that can help improve your gaming experience. For instance, a reliable gaming VPN can protect you against security threats that regularly target gamers, like DDoS attacks and swatting.
On the other hand, sometimes a game design mistake can lead to unexpectedly fun glitches that get a new life on social media with its own fandom. Some glitches became so iconic that we almost feel nostalgic when we stumble upon them.
10 Iconic Video Game Glitches
Below, we look at ten iconic video game glitches that have made it into pop culture history:
World of Warcraft – The Corrupted Blood Incident/World of Warcraft Pandemic
In September 2005, back when World of Warcraft was still popular, there was an in-game pandemic that remains one of the most talked-about incidents in the gaming world till this day. A bug caused a virus-like debuff that was supposed to last for only a few seconds and to be confined to a certain space to spread throughout the WoW population.
The WoW pandemic soon led to panic among players. While some took the pandemic seriously and stayed in self-imposed quarantines, others decided to ignore the warnings and risk their character’s lives by entering the infected area.
Interestingly, during the COVID-19 outbreak, epidemiologists returned to the corrupted blood pandemic data and used it for disease modeling to better understand people’s behavioral patterns in times of distress.
Madden NFL 15: Tiny Titan Christian Kirksey
After the Madden NFL 15 release, players spotted a peculiar bug that soon became viral. A 6ft 2 linebacker Christian Kirksey appeared as a tiny one-foot-tall character. Despite his size, he didn’t seem to have issues rolling with the giant ball, high-fiving his teammates, and grabbing opponents’ ankles. The scene was hilarious!
Before fixing the glitch, EA sports embraced the mistake and invited the players on their blog to see a Tiny Titan in action. Soon after, they even released an interview with Kirksey titled “The Story of Madden Tiny Titan Christian Kirksey.
Assassin’s Creed Unity – Disappearing Face Glitch
Some glitches have bestowed players with comic but terrifying moments. Ubisoft is no stranger to game-breaking bugs, but a particularly terrifying bug in Assassin’s Creed Unity caused characters to appear faceless or even levitate. Making it especially memorable. The developers immediately started working on fixes to improve players’ experience.
Still, it was a little too late — the glitch had already gone viral. After facing backlash from the gaming community, Ubisoft started apologizing to those that bought the game via email and offered them free content to minimize the reputational damage. Given the Ubisoft name is still synonymous with buggy games, I’m not sure their strategy actually worked.
The Witcher 3 – Roach’s Bug
Aside from its elaborate storyline and captivating visuals, The Witcher 3 is famous for its glitches that have gone on to become some of the most recognizable internet memes. Geralt’s loyal companion, Roach, a mare, often defies the laws of physics in this glitch. She has been seen walking through walls, standing on her head, or on random rooftops.
The “Roach on the roof” glitch is the most recognizable Witcher meme, and devoted fans have even turned it into a painting. On April Fool’s day, CD Project Red released a video explaining why Roach is so glitchy.
Their explanation was that the famous horse’s initial version was so good the developers started experiencing motion sickness. The result? They had to recruit a special team of bug designers to help make Roach more imperfect.
Super Mario Bros. – Minus World
It’s no surprise that this video game classic has its own iconic glitch. Players found out if you perform a series of uncommon and complicated steps, you can end up at World -1. This secret underwater level is a glitch that keeps players in a perpetual loop they can’t escape.
After entering the pipe at the end of the level, players simply return to the start of the level, rather than progressing, until their time runs out or they get killed. This glitch soon became famous, and was dubbed the “minus world” or “negative world.” Since appearing in the 1985 version of the game, the “minus world” glitch has appeared in various different ways in other Super Mario Bros. games and has been removed from remakes of the game.
Nowadays, some people in the gaming community still use the term “minus world” to define any area outside the original scope of a game.
FIFA 14 – The Giant Hand Glitch
The FIFA video game has seen some spectacular glitches over the years. We’ve seen it all, from the giant goalie and invisible team glitches to headless players and broken legs. But one of the most recognizable glitches is FIFA 14’s massive hand glitch, where everyone on the field gets giant hands.
Being a goalkeeper was never easier, and the scene with players running with their enormous hands flailing around has already made countless rounds on the internet.
Hitman 2 – Homing Briefcase Bug
Some bugs become famous, but only exceptional ones become in-game gadgets. Shortly after Hitman 2’s release, the internet was flooded with funny videos of Agent 47 throwing a briefcase to knock down his targets.
Even though IO Interactive had worked hard to eliminate the bug from Hitman 3, the developers eventually decided to embrace the fun and give fans what they wanted — the legendary briefcase was introduced as an official feature.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Giant launch
Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish whether something is a glitch or an intended feature, especially when it comes to Bethesda games. We still can’t figure out if that’s a pro or a con. In the legendary Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, after getting hit by a giant, characters would get propelled so high into the sky they would end up spinning ridiculously fast before hitting the ground.
This sparked discussions on gaming forums since gamers weren’t sure if the developers wanted the giants to catapult their opponents with such ferocity or if it was a game physics overlook. After all, it’s common for mammoths, bears, and even giants to bug out and float into the Skyrim sky!
Bethesda never officially commented on it, although the consensus is that it’s likely a glitch. Since players liked it so much, this feature stayed on as an essential part of the game.
The Sims – Where Do We Start?
Showing friends newly found glitches in The Sims was a favorite pastime in the early 2000s. Needless to say, these glitches were often more fun than the game itself.
While some bugs cause visual distortions and make your characters appear freakishly funny, others can affect their behavior and disrupt the whole game. We’ve witnessed characters cloning themselves for no apparent reason, becoming obsessed with baking, or being mean to each other. Irrational behavior we can all sometimes identify with or find understanding for became excellent meme material.
The meme culture breathed a new life into Sims glitches, and they soon became an indispensable part of internet culture. What makes Sims glitches suitable for memes is the fact they’re open to interpretation, and we’ll often see the same Sims memes being adapted to fit the most diverse situations.
How to Fix Game Glitches
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about glitches resulting from in-game bugs, but you can report them to the developer to get them fixed. Most game publishers have a reporting feature you can use to let the developers know about any issues you’re experiencing.
Sometimes, the issues gamers face aren’t development mistakes at all but are associated with the quality of their internet connection and device capabilities instead. Luckily, you’ll find these easier to fix.
Let’s look into the most common issues that can affect the quality of your gaming experience and how to overcome them:
- Check if your graphics card is causing the issues
Graphical glitches that don’t arise from code bugs are most commonly caused by graphics card problems. If, after googling the issue, you see other players haven’t been experiencing the same problem, the culprit is most likely your computer.
Your next step should be to check if your graphics card drivers are updated. If you still face the same glitch after updating the drivers, try physically cleaning your computer. Dust can cause overheating, which can damage your graphics card and lead to subpar performance.
- Check your internet connection
A poor internet connection can be detrimental to your gaming experience. Check your upload and download speed, and, if you’re not getting the speeds you’re supposed to, see if your internet service provider can eliminate the interference. This is especially important if you’re also streaming your gameplay. Even though Wi-Fi may be more convenient, a cable connection can give you a smoother experience without disruption.
Sometimes, your ISP or the game will choose a suboptimal route for your connection to the game’s servers. This can cause lag and a high ping as the game’s data has to travel further and make more stops to reach its destination. Some ISPs may throttle your connection when they automatically detect certain high-bandwidth activities. Using a VPN can eliminate all these problems.
A VPN encrypts your connection and reroutes it to a VPN server. This helps if you’re struggling with ISP content-based throttling since your ISP won’t be able to detect what you’re doing. It could also help improve lag and minimize ping if your connection is routed badly.
On top of providing ultra-fast speeds with speed-focused protocols like WireGuard®, a premium VPN like CyberGhost also helps protect you against swatting and DDoS attacks.
- Stop any bandwidth-intensive operations
Ensure you’re not running any intense, bandwidth-consuming activities on your computer while gaming. Stop any programs or downloads you have in the background. Moreover, limiting the number of devices connected to your network can also help.&
Fight Glitches, Not Cybercrime
Even though every issue is unique and there isn’t a magic tool that will solve all your glitching problems, you can fight glitches by reporting them to developers to fix (hopefully quickly). Not every apparent bug is actually what it seems, though.
Sometimes the problem lies with your setup or connection. Eliminating potential causes can give you a better understanding of common problems that may ruin your gaming experience. Make sure you’re entering your next battle geared up with CyberGhost VPN to help keep you safe from DDoS attacks and swatting.