10 Bugs, Mistakes, and Happy Accidents That Created Iconic Video Games

It feels like every game ships broken these days, but in the case of these landmark titles, "broken" turned out to be a good thing. Here are 10 examples of bugs, glitches, and behind-the-scenes mistakes that turned games into iconic pieces of pop culture.


 

1. Team Fortress's Spy Class Was Originally a Bug

The Spy might be the Team Fortress series' most unique class. With the power to disguise himself as a member of the enemy team, it's the Spy's job to infiltrate enemy positions, lying in wait for an opportune moment to strike. The idea for that feature came out of a bit of dumb luck.

Back when Team Fortress was a mod for the game Quake, a graphical bug would occasionally cause players to look like members of the enemy team, leading to some very surprising and memorable gameplay moments. The mod's creators wondered what would happen if they allowed players to do this on purpose. What if there was a class whose entire role was to throw a wrench in the enemy team's flow? They took that idea and ran with it, eventually creating what would arguably become Team Fortress and Team Fortress 2's most iconic class.


 

2. Silent Hill's Fog Was There to Cover Up Hardware Issues

The look and feel of Silent Hill owes a lot to the fact that there's fog everywhere. A dense blanket of it covers almost everything, to the point that in some areas, you can barely see a couple of feet in front of you. The atmosphere this creates, the idea that there could be anything lying in wait just out of sight, helped Silent Hill to become one of the most tense and immersive horror games of all time.

The story behind that design choice is a heck of a lot less compelling. Unable to get enough rendering power out of the original PlayStation console, Silent Hill's creators decided to just cover the entire screen with fog, in order to hide the fact that they couldn't display the entire area around the player all at once. This proved to be such a popular feature with fans though, that subsequent Silent Hill games kept it in, even when consoles became powerful enough to make it unnecessary.


 

3. Fighting Game Combos Were a Total Accident

Fighting games and combos go together like peanut butter and more peanut butter. They're basically the same thing is what I'm trying to say. Strangely enough though, the idea of using combo attacks happened entirely by accident in Street Fighter II.

During bug testing before the game was released, lead producer Noritaka Funamizu noticed that you could glitch the game and perform extra attacks. He decided to leave the bug alone though, as he thought that timing the attacks would be too difficult to reliably do. Turns out he was pretty wrong, and combos have been a staple of the genre ever since.


 

4. Space Invaders Was Almost Killed, Then Made Better, by a Lack of Powerful Computers

The iconic arcade game Space Invaders almost never happened due to technical issues. In the 1970s, microcomputers in Japan were not powerful enough to even program a game like Space Invaders, much less play one. So after coming up with the idea for the game, creator Tomohiro Nishikado had to spend an entire year building his own custom hardware to make it playable.

Unfortunately, despite all of this work, his final computer still wasn't powerful enough to make the enemies move as fast as he wanted them to. In fact, they were downright sluggish. While trying to program a solution, Nishikado noticed that the enemies sped up as more of them were killed, as this was freeing up memory on the computer. Rather than try and fix this, he decided to leave it in, as it made the game more challenging as you went along.

The game went on to become a massive hit, and it's hard to imagine it playing any other way.


 

5. The Konami Code Happened Because the Designer Sucked at Video Games

Pretty much anyone who grew up playing video games knows what the Konami Code is (Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A), and since its first appearance in the 1980s, it's become one of the most common Easter Eggs in gaming. However, the fact that anyone outside of Konami knows it at all was entirely an accident.

While developing a home port of the arcade game Gradius, developer Kazuhisa Hashimoto found that he was unable to properly test the game because it was too hard for him to play. To make things easier for himself, he coded in a custom cheat code that gave him a full set of power-ups.

After finishing the game, Hashimoto forgot to remove the code, and some very observant players discovered it after the game's release. Luckily, Konami had a good sense of humor about it, and it's since gone on to appear in everything from the Metal Gear Solid series to the Opera internet browser.


 

 

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