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Bordello of Bugs

posted on December 9th, 2009 by jay

A few days ago I lost about five hours of time to the notoriously buggy Age of Empires DS. I’d waged a long war of attrition against the Taira and it was roughly round 80 when mid combat the game just froze. Majesco did put a piece of printing paper in the game’s case that warned of bugs, so really it was my own fault.

Ten minutes ago I got permanently stuck in Grandia for the PS1. A river of poison was just too magnetic for my four member party to escape and so no matter what direction I pushed, they simultaneously ran in place.

We have written about bugs and glitches many times before, but this time I have a solution. Not a useful, working or well thought out solution, but a solution none the less. Someone, preferably not me, needs to create an archive of game breaking bugs. It can be Wikipedia style and allow gamers worldwide up upload pictures of games being broken and heartbreaking tales of time lost to sloppy coding.

This project would serve two purposes. People could use it to research any game they are about to begin and learn what rivers of green poison not to walk in, thus potentially saving hours of time. More importantly, it would create a hall of shame for all the shitty, lazy developers (or greedy, visionless producers if you prefer). Want to know how incompetent a team is or how little a company cares about you, the end consumer? Now you will (after you create the site and then pay me a monthly licensing fee).

The thought of Sid Meier weeping softly over his crusty keyboard after spending days reading thousands of bug reports fills my heart with joy.

I’m just joking, he obviously doesn’t care.

4 Comments

  1. christian said on December 9, 2009:

    Programmers are human too :(

    I’m always on the fence with bugs. On one hand, yes they can destroy a game. On the other hand, I deal with them at work every day. I make ’em too. It just happens. Of course, there are ways to minimize them, though the solutions are many (and in today’s business world, needlessly difficult to implement).

    Generally, I try to assess a bug based on how bad it is and how exactly it gets triggered. Something that occurs in the most random of circumstances may get a pass, but something that is easy to trigger will fall under more scrutiny.

    Then there are bugs like the Javelin glitch that plagued Modern Warfare 2. Seems to me like it was the result of having too many weapons and features in the multiplayer, which meant for far too many variables and situations to test for. In that case, I don’t actually think Infinity Ward has an excuse, because there was no need to add in so much new stuff. MW1 was feature rich and fairly well balanced, while the sequel is a mess.

    Actually, there is a reason for it – IW knew that your typical kid on Xbox Live wants bigger and better guns and explosions regardless of how well they work. If that winds up being the reason for a buggy game, then the shame is deserved.

  2. pat said on December 11, 2009:

    ha. i had problems with age of empires and grandia also. the only reason that very informative slip of paper is even there is that my cartridge turned into a brick at one point (due to a combination of a three letter username and using the “save and quit” feature if i remember correctly) and they mailed me a new copy complete with printed out warning.

  3. Michelle said on December 14, 2009:

    While I can sympathize with your story, I think this is a strong a compelling reason to buy games later on after the release date so at least you can get some idea of how busted a game is from the horses mouth.

    I’d rather a game took longer to come out then rushed and released with a number of game breaking bugs.

  4. jay said on December 14, 2009:

    I did wait a decade 😛

    The issue is that until this generation, and still in some cases, console games are just unfixable once shipped.

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