When everything in a game goes right, it's a wonderful experience. You actually feel like you've become an elite assassin, pro race car driver, or caller of duties. But when things go wrong it's ... well actually, sometimes it's way, way better! A good glitch can transfer you from boring, gritty realism into a magical world full of the most physics-defying, madness-inducing randomness this side of a mushroom trip at the bottom of a ball pit.
#6. Bioshock's Dancers
We shall be bold here, for we are bold men and fortune favors us for it: Bioshock was the best game of its generation. It was intense, thoughtful, immersive, and somehow still fun. But one thing it was not was "silly." At least, not when everything went according to plan ...
But the philosophical tone and serious atmosphere just made the few glitches all the more jarring. For example: It's not unheard of for bodies to twitch or shudder after you kill them in a game -- that's just physics trying to reconcile some uppity limbs with an unforgiving floor. Bioshock opted to forgo all that twitching, however, and deliver on an ominous threat that 1987 made to all of us long, long ago: This, friends, is what it looks like when the rhythm finally gets you.
We really dig the way you shake that thing -- by which we of course mean your desiccated chest cavity.
Bioshock 2's multiplayer function apparently carried on the grand tradition of insane genetic mutant corpses suddenly discovering the joys of a sick beat in a philosophical-themed dystopia. One player recorded this bit of unintentional hilarity in an online match:
Either that's the glitching corpse of a player caught in the aftermath of a cyclone, or else he just overdosed on the Breakdancing Plasmid and everybody thought his moves were too fresh to put the poor bastard down.
#5. Left4Dead: Gatling FUN!
Look, we all love a good gatling gun. The single best part in any first-person shooter, like Valve's excellent Left 4 Dead, is when you pick up that Zombie Mower and get to trimming the undead population a little bit. But the gatling gun is not for the faint of heart. The gatling gun needs to be tamed, for it is a wild and beautiful beast. If you treat the gatling gun rough, it will treat you rough -- by which we mean it will fire you across the map like a gritty Angry Bird.
"So this is what my sperm feel like."
To exploit this glitch, you need to find a gatling gun on the map and bash it with your rifle a bunch of times. Strangely, the amount of force with which it will launch you is proportionate to how many times you hit it. That's right: This glitch operates on the same principle as your childhood BB gun.
As far as an exploit goes, the gatling gun glitch is mostly useless and usually only serves to fire the zombies a big screaming pile of you. But if you get it just right, you can use it to get to a few nominally inaccessible areas of the game. Like this big neon sign:
Where you're free to just sit and wait out the apocalypse from on high while the wave of undead consumes all of your friends -- those same friends who so callously mocked you for beating up a machine gun in the middle of a zombie fight.
It seems to work too perfectly for a mistake -- if it was just a physics error, why would the gun fire you proportional to how many times you've hit it? But it apparently was indeed a glitch, and not an Easter egg, as it has tragically since been fixed. Apparently it breaks the immersion somewhat when every tense undead standoff is interspersed with men frantically punching inanimate objects and then suddenly cartwheeling over the horizon apropos of nothing.
#4. Buckets of Skyrim
The best and worst parts of Skyrim are the glitches. It's the video game version of that beat-up old car that only starts when the radio is tuned to KSFT -- all soft rock, all the time. Or that one deranged uncle who gives you beer at every family reunion because he thinks you're his old 'Nam buddy. They're utterly broken things, sure, but that's also what makes them kind of awesome. For example: These backwards flying dragons look like they're being sucked into a black hole -- all flapping in terror and trying to escape. Witnessing that happen out of the blue is way better than participating in a perfectly functional, perfectly boring ol' dragon battle.
"You've been hanging out with Puff again, haven't you?"
But for the true connoisseur of random hilarity, there is the pure and beautiful simplicity of the bucket glitch.
Exploiting this curious error makes stealing in Skyrim as easy as taking candy from a baby. A very, very stupid baby. Who is also blind. Simply place a bucket, pot, cauldron, or whatever you have on you over any of the local merchants' heads, and you can stroll into their shops and take whatever you want unimpeded.
"Is it dark o'clock already?"
There are no penalties for the theft. In fact, there's no acknowledgement whatsoever -- even if you're getting your discounts from the counter right in front of them. The best part is it's not a physics glitch or anything -- it doesn't kill or immobilize or otherwise take the characters out of the game. Every single character in Skyrim functions on that famous 5-year-old logic: If you can't see it, you can't get mad.
"This is like that secret game I used to play with Uncle Roger!"
The glitch is so noteworthy it's even warranted its own video tribute. Shit, somebody tell Hollywood; they've been looking pretty desperate for content lately, and Grand Theft Auto: Swing of Doom sounds like a pretty good flick.