Half of the art you enjoy every day is probably due to some happy accident. For instance, most of the tension in Jaws can be credited to the fact that the fake shark they were using was a mechanical nightmare and too ridiculous to show on screen.
You wouldn't think video games would be subject to this, however -- a mistake in the code of a game would most likely just melt your Xbox (again) rather than invent some fun new game mechanic. Yet, some of the most iconic features of games can be credited to serendipity:
6A Bad Mouse Click Leads to Lara Croft's Rack
It's not fair to say that Lara Croft and Tomb Raider are only famous for one reason (or even two). There have been many excellent and critically acclaimed games in the series. But they would not have sold as well, or become as iconic, if not for the choice to give the main character gigantic boobies.
Via 101 Video Games
Those are the protruding orbs on her chest.
Well, as it turns out, Lara's bust is a result of a mistake. Artist Toby Gard, one of the people in charge of designing Lara Croft, was toying around with the dimensions of the character. When setting the dimensions of her chest, he slipped with his mouse and increased the boob area by a cartoonish 150 percent.
And apparently replaced them with oil-change funnels.
The rest of the (male) crew immediately asked him to keep it that way, solidifying a stereotype about video gamers that we have not been able to shake in the 15 years since. And the rest is video game history. To quote the team, "Gard's accidental 'one-fifty' design made picking out a marketing strategy remarkably easy."
Lara Croft and her blockbuster franchise paved the way for female game characters. She was considered the first video game sex symbol and she regularly tops and appears on various lists of -- sigh -- video game hotties.
And before we come down on them too hard for what is clearly some of the most blatant sexism and objectification in entertainment history, you have to remember that it was still a step up -- before Lara, female characters were either hostages or not featured at all.
She's the one on top, getting her ass sniffed by the Kong.
Sure, Samus Aran of the Metroid series came first, but her gender was kept a secret from anyone who didn't beat the game -- the iconic image of the character was somebody hiding behind a bulky metal suit.
Lara is strong, independently wealthy, beautiful, smart and great at what she does. If it took a 150 percent inflated chest to blaze that trai, well, maybe that's just the way it is. Meanwhile, Lara led the way for 3D gaming (along with Mario 64). The first Tomb Raider sold millions of copies, reinvigorating a platforming genre that had been written off as Mario-style kids games for years. All thanks to the slip of a mouse.
Via Wikimedia Commons
"You're welcome, polygon booby lovers!"
5A Racing Game Glitch Gives Birth to Grand Theft Auto
Long before the Grand Theft Auto series became the gold standard in video game mayhem simulators, Rockstar Games (back then known as DMA Design) was working on a racing game called Race and Chase. The idea was "to produce a fun, addictive and fast multi-player car racing and crashing game" which sounds like it could be Mario Kart until you see what it looked like:
So more Matchbox cars than Mario Kart.
If there was ever a game in need of a bit of attitude, this was it.
Eagle-eyed viewers will notice a stark similarity between the above screen shot and the original GTA series, that isn't a coincidence. As far as the play testers were concerned, the game sucked, except for one glitch which made the police in the game go apeshit for no reason. Instead of politely pulling you over, the cops would ram you off the road (their AI was accidentally trying to drive through the player). Suddenly everyone was crashing non-stop.
For the next 10 solid years.
Play testers thought this was freaking hilarious, and in fact abandoned the missions just to screw around and see what kind of mayhem they could cause. The designers decided to not only leave the psychotic cops in there, but build the entire game around the kind of ridiculously violent car chases caused by the glitch.
The game was eventually completely overhauled to create Grand Theft Auto. By the time Grand Theft Auto 3 came around a few years later, the series was one of the most influential ever. It would go on to revolutionize "open world" gameplay that now seemingly half of the games on the market try to emulate. But at its heart, it's still all about the joy of abandoning the objective and just dicking around. All because nobody knew how to properly program a video game policeman.