Good glitches and Piqued Interest

I know you hate Borderlands 2 but you also said you were planning on writing that good games make good glitches article… What do you think of this Speedrun of BL2: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2YYwM1coOU)?

I saw it before, I was impressed. Mostly by the exploit that lets that one guy move absurdly fast by stacking a buff over and over again due to poor netcode.

I wouldn’t call Borderlands 2 a good game, but the point is to describe a tendency in games that give rise to interesting glitches like these. I think there’s a connection, a common thread. There’s a reason new things keep getting figured out for smash bros melee, and it’s not just the dedication of the fans.

A lot of bad games are glitchy too, but not in interesting ways usually. Glitches tend to arise when the programmers or animators or other people putting together the interactive components tend to “over-model” something. Like when they put more detail into something than is strictly speaking necessary. When variables carry over from other places, or certain things have dependencies on other variables.

Like bunnyhopping in Quake, they could have done something simple and just capped the max speed you can go, easy. Instead they decided to do something really silly, limit the amount of acceleration you can obtain on a given frame versus a vector projection of the current velocity vector onto the prior one.

Another example is how a lot of out of bounds areas have collision. Honestly it would take less time and effort to just use a ton of invisible walls, kill volumes, etc. Nobody is ever supposed to get over to those areas or outside the bounds of the game, so it shouldn’t matter if they can walk correctly on OoB areas, yet frequently they’re perfectly accessible.

When something carries variables over, reacts differently in response to different variables, it exponentiates the number of states that a game has. This means more depth, and in the cases of useful glitches, more depth that is actually relevant to the player. This is good game design in a nutshell.

This video is full of stuff I’d normally expect to see in a glitch exhibition. It was made by the game’s programmer, showing off that this ability, Center Stage, is capable of doing a massive number of things. When I first saw it, I thought it was kind of cool that they were playing with the standard fighting game convention of the camera controlling the walls, but never expected such application. I saw a few combos that used it and those seemed kind of cool but gimmicky, however because Mike Z allowed you to set any move as an assist, naturally this is included and clearly can be used for a lot more than basic combos.

This is the type of game design I’d like to see from major companies. Ori and the Blind Forest has it (at least partially intentionally), Axiom Verge doesn’t.

How can a game pique your interest personally?

By giving me the impression that it has some type of potential. What originally piqued my interest for Ori and the Blind Forest was seeing this video:

I was like, “Wow, what the fuck is going on? What’s he doing?” Because I didn’t know how bash worked. I went around, saw some other videos, couldn’t tell much of how the game worked, but I had this hunch that it would be good. Probably not the best reasoning, but my intuition paid off.

Demon’s Souls I got into because I heard yahtzee and other internet people whine about how hard it was, and I was like, “I want in on that.”

God Hand had a good reputation and I didn’t know much about the game other than that it was a cult hit. I was lucky to find it, my brother actually spotted it at a gamestop.

Again, maybe those aren’t the best case examples.

Though for upcoming games, only The Phantom Pain really gives me the impression that there’s something special to it. Kojima has all these systems working together in it, all these things to mess around with enemies using.
I was drawn to Skyward Sword initially actually, because they had implemented a stamina meter, you could run up walls, the item switch menus were in realtime, you could swing your sword in 8 directions and spin attack costing a chunk of stamina. It seemed to me like they were trying to give 3d zelda a depth it didn’t have before. I was really disappointed to say the least when all of these things only really had one purpose, could only be used in specifically designated ways, had no interaction between the different elements.

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