Video game bugs are just as old as the world’s first-ever game, aren’t they? Today, I decided to revisit some of the most common bugs and glitches that exist out there.
You may have crossed paths with most of these in one or the other game. However, I’ve discussed them from a more technical perspective.
What causes these bugs, and how can you fix them? Better yet, how do game developers fix these bugs?
All of that and more is what I’ll be discussing in this piece. Let’s get started, then.
What Exactly Are Video Game Bugs?
Before we discuss the top video game bugs, let’s understand them better.
Video game bugs are obviously anomalies, unexpected errors, actions, or reactions in games.
These things aren’t supposed to happen or aren’t consciously coded into the game.
They may have a wide range of effects. In most cases, they’re harmless and do not cause significant problems. However, in certain cases, they may be game-breaking.
Some games are so bad they ruin a company’s reputation, finances, and future prospects. Yes, you guessed it right; CyberPunk 2077 is precisely what I’m talking about.
Do note that not all video game bugs are negative. A fair share of these is fun video game glitches that are either funny or improve the experience.
Now that you know game bugs better, let’s look at some of the most common occurrences.
These are the most common game glitches by a wide margin. As the name suggests, these glitches are primarily caused by or affect the “graphical presentation” of the game.
“Clipping” is something I can guarantee you’ve seen if you play video games. It’s when an element or character’s parts are cut off or pass through other objects.
Polygon Stretching is another widespread video game bug. Haven’t you seen your character’s shoulder/sword/leg or some other part being weirdly stretched out as if being pulled by a magnet?
(Image source: EA Games forum)
Lightning bugs are prevalent as well. It’s when the light in games doesn’t react as it should.
Aliasing is something that isn’t as common on more powerful hardware. However, you must have noticed edges being jagged up on cars, characters, buildings, or many other things, haven’t you? That’s Aliasing for you.
Then there’s the screen flickering. Graphical elements on your screen often flicker momentarily, and that’s what I’m talking about.
And how can we forget about choppy frames, eh? Nearly every game ever made has this issue at some point. Remember the early Assassin’s Creed games and the Eagle dives? Yes, sometimes it’s just your weak hardware, but not always.
A.I. glitches are the second most common games that happen in video games. These are when the game, its characters, switches, doors, or anything else doesn’t react as it should.
A.I. being non-responsive tops the list. It’s when you walk up to a door, a person (NPC), or anything else, and it just doesn’t react!
Commonly, you walk up to an NPC, and he doesn’t give you the task, reward, job or information you need.
My personal experience with this was in the Witcher 3 game. There was a button on a pillar I must push in some basement. Without it, I couldn’t move forward. I remember having to restart the entire game and lose weeks’ worth of progress just so the button would let me open a door.
A.I. getting stuck is another common issue with games. You’d meet a character, complete his/her mission, and they’d still refuse to move. Or you could open/close a door, and it would stay that way even though it should’ve reverted.
Dumb A.I. Yes, that’s an oxymoron, but also one of the most frequent occurrences in any game today. Cars driving in circles and NPCs trying to run into walls or closed doors continuously are some of the most common examples.
Incorrect spawning of NPCs and vehicles (especially on rooftops) is something else I’m sure you’ve seen, haven’t you?
Progression and Save File Glitches
I’m sure you’ve been in games when either side quests or even main story missions just stop popping up. No matter what you do, they won’t show up on a map or get activated.
You may have faced complete disabling of the autosave feature at the most basic level. It exists and saves your file, but that file is never there!
The other progression bug is something I call “do us both or none at all” (no pun intended). It’s when you complete a mission, and it doesn’t get saved. You must complete additional missions for the save file to work!
Similarly, there are times when you do everything you’re supposed to do and still can’t level up. If the higher level is a mission requirement, you’ll never progress!
This is when Einstein is personally insulted. When a game doesn’t seem to obey the rules of physics, that’s what these glitches are. In my opinion, these are some of the most exciting and fun glitches in games.
Two words, flying cars! I’m sure you know what I’m talking about if you’ve played the GTA games. At times you may even spot flying NPCs.
Do you remember being able to use projectiles from rocket launchers to launch yourself up in the air?
Sometimes, you can cut off a person’s body, and all the body parts continue as if nothing has happened. This one’s more like a “biology glitch,” eh?
To this day, I use the super jump in GTAV to jump out of a moving car and become superman for a few seconds!
And cars colliding with space is another exciting way game developers make Einstein mad.
More hardcore examples are fire spreading in water or a car crash that turns a building into a ruin.
Of course, jumping from a 50-story building and SURVIVING tops the list of physics glitches, doesn’t it?
These are less common, at least in my experience, and yet they exist.
These are obvious when a game’s audio doesn’t function the way it should.
The most common example is characters missing their dialogues, or there is a delay between their actions and the audio.
Then there are volume irregularities. At times, vehicle sounds may increase suddenly; the same goes for characters and NPCs.
The more common occurrence is a complete lack of audio. The entire game or certain scenes/portions may lack audio entirely.
Freezing and Crashing
Ah! The holy grail of video game bugs!
Can you tell me if there’s a more familiar game bug than the game freezing/crashing?
The reason it’s widespread is that it can be caused by almost anything. Lousy coding, A.I malfunction graphic or memory overload or even just hot CPU temperatures.
In some games, some specific actions/areas trigger this. In others, it may be a specific progression percentage after the game crashes.
Glitches in Multiplayer Games
Glitches aren’t limited just to single-player campaigns, are they?
I’m a big PUBG and Valorant fan, and I’ve seen my fair share of glitches. Even in games like RDR2 or COD, they make their humble presence felt.
The most common glitch is getting disconnected at the wrong time. And no, your internet isn’t at fault.
De-synced teammates are something else that frustrates me. No, I’m not talking about the network lag. It’s when your teammate’s name may get hidden, so you assume him/her to be an enemy.
You may also not be able to pick/drop items at times. Unable to get in/out of cars and getting stuck in various rooms/walls are some other occurrences.
A helpful bug, however, is the “no wall” bug. When you’re close to a wall, you may be able to see through/over the wall. This reveals the location of your enemies, neat, eh?
How to Fix Bugs and Glitches?
I let a bug exist unless it’s game-breaking. However, if you’re aiming for proper and total immersion, you’d probably want to fix that bug, eh?
Restart: When something doesn’t work, just hit the restart button! In the majority of the cases, restarting the game or a specific save file may solve bugs. If that doesn’t work, try restarting your entire system. Do note that only “accidental” bugs are solved by doing this. For example, you falling off a cliff and getting sucked inside a mountain model. Maybe you got stuck in a tight corner of a room? Yes, that gets solved as well.
De-render and re-render the game elements: Let me simplify the words for you. Go far away from the location with the bug/glitch, and come back. This works best if the A.I am unresponsive, or something isn’t popping up.
The element is deleted from your game when you’re far away and re-loaded once you’re back at the location. This may fix a few of those glitches.
These do not solve graphical or A.I bugs which have been hardcoded unintentionally into the game.
For those, in most cases, just being patient is your best bet. Game devs generally run hundreds of tests on their released versions. They do spot most bugs and fixes in a game’s early days. Updates are then released, often fixing the most prominent/common bugs the devs may have found. Look out for updates and install them as soon as they’re available.
If you’re getting low FPS or jagged edges, those can be solved on your end. You may try upgrading your GPU for better graphics. Note that this doesn’t solve “glitches.” It only solves those issues that weren’t on the game’s end but were your weak hardware’s fault.
How Do Game Developers Fix Bugs?
Game devs have more control over games they’ve made than you have as a player. Hence, the way they fix bugs slightly differs from what you may do.
Tests: Before a game is released, it’s generally tested very heavily (unless you’re working for CyberPunk 2077). These beta tests and early access give developers information and an idea of all the updates and bugs that need fixing.
Updates & Patches: You know what this is. The updates I asked you to wait for are in the above section. Game developers write new code to fix the bug/glitch and release it as a patch. When installed on your system, it overwrites the existing malfunctioning code, and your game works.
Hotfixes: I call these “lite updates.” That’s not a technically correct term. These are smaller, more lightweight updates that fix bugs and glitches too.
Turn it into a feature: It may be surprising, but it’s not something that hasn’t been done before. Developers sometimes let bugs exist willingly.
It’s mostly done when fixing it is too expensive or if the bug has gained a massive fan base. Sometimes bugs may be left in the game simply because they’re funny. Some of the examples include the link glitch in Legend of Zelda or the Suplex glitch in the Final Fantasy series!
Hey, that was a fun list of fun video game bugs, right? I get it; they’re sometimes frustrating, but that’s not always the case, is it?
The best way to deal with these glitches is to enjoy them. However, I hope this piece helped you fix some of those glitches if you want to.
There isn’t much to say, so I’d instead sign off. If this piece made you smile or even nostalgic, maybe share it with your squad.