When Glitches Just Ruin It

Image by Flicker user yhancik
Image by Flicker user yhancik

The Last of Us is considered one of the “must play” games of 2013. It’s received praise upon praise for its story, mechanics, and style. Despite all the great reviews and such, we decided to rent it first. (Hey, there’s a lot of great games to spend a hard-earned $60 on these days!) When it finally arrived last weekend, my husband called dibs on playing it first. I was looking forward to watching it more than playing, so I settled in for some visual fun.

The game took a very long time to load and stalled once during the process; but we didn’t think much of it — we’ve had similar issues with PS3 games before, particularly games we’ve rented. When things finally got underway, the viewing experience was beautiful. The Last of Us is truly deserving as far as art and art direction go. Everything in the game is gloriously rendered in a style that’s a cross between naturalism and photography. And oh man…that story. After avoiding as many spoilers as possible about the game, I couldn’t wait to see how the story of the main protagonist Joe unfolded.

About 15 minutes into the game, it glitched pretty awkwardly (not like there’s ever a “smooth” glitch). We both watched as Joe froze mid-stance during a stealth moment and magically floated over the terrain. He eventually unfroze, and my husband grumbled as Joe went back to what he was supposed to be doing once he was positioned next to his companion.

The next glitch happened just a few minutes later during a fight scene. One of several enemies walked right through a wall to attack. The scene was pretty dark and it took a moment for the glitch to register, but it became pretty apparent when the bad guy just suddenly appeared next to Joe. We both flinched at the surprise. “Really??” My husband exclaimed.

The third glitch was a true “charm” and one that prevented any further progression. Without giving too much away, shortly into the game, Joe and his companion face a series of enemies on a dock that’s filled with cargo containers. He went through all the necessary motions, and with everyone dead, moved to meet his companion. Only when we found her, she was standing on the edge of the dock under a floating light. And I don’t mean floating as in supernatural — it was obviously a light fixture that was meant to be affixed to a wall. Yet there it hung on absolutely nothing. Joe’s companion was also affected as she simply stood on the edge of the dock glancing around. No amount of button-pressing got her or the scene to progress in any way.

“Is there supposed to be something here? A room or something?” I asked. “I don’t know but something’s not right!” Came the exasperated reply. As he searched for as way to possibly get things moving again, I went to the Internet for as walkthrough. What I discovered was that a key element of the game just simply missing from our play through, and that there was probably nothing to do except restart at the last checkpoint. When I relayed that news, a glaring look came my way, and the game was turned off.

A couple days later, he decided to give the game one more try. This time, it stalled for good on the initial load screen. “That’s it!” he exclaimed, “send it back!” After reporting the game to Gamefly, I dropped it back in the mail. We didn’t ask for another copy of the game. I know that the fault here was with the disc rather than the game itself, but the experience still left a very sour taste behind. I doubt we’ll be seeing The Last of Us in the house any time soon.

Has a game ever glitched out on you so badly that it totally ruined the experience?

26 Comments Add yours

  1. C. T. Murphy says:

    I’ve had several less than good JRPGs completely demolished by corrupted game saves. Nothing more daunting than playing through a game you don’t love for a second time, so I just don’t.

    Like

    1. cary says:

      Ah, when games turn both unbearable and unplayable, then it’s definitely time to move on.

      Like

  2. Glitches are the worst! In terms of bad discs, Gamefly sent me an unplayable copy of L.A. Noire on the PS3 and the experience unfolded just about as you described. I also had another game that they sent me act in a similar fashion. My overall experience with Gamefly was a bad one. Y’all might want to try out Red Box for game rentals. I haven’t had a bad experience the few times I’ve used them. Downsides? They have a much, much smaller library. Also, you don’t want to spend too much time playing through your rental, or it starts to get expensive.

    Anyway, as far as regular glitches go, a semi-recent example would be the Omega DLC for Mass Effect 3. It wasn’t game breaking glitches, but it was still pretty bad and almost comical.

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    1. cary says:

      We’d been having a fine time with Gamefly up to this point, and it was really just disappointing. (Also, their online “complaint” section isn’t all that great. Unfortunately, it’s made us start thinking about if we really want to keep going with them.) I think we have a couple Red Box’s near us — maybe I’ll take a look and see what they’ve got sometime.

      I actually had an odd glitch happen in ME3. At one point, my Shepard became strangely “attached” to a nearby Volus — she appeared as some strange human/Volus hybrid. It only happened for a minute or two, but it was kind of funny.

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      1. That’s good to hear that it isn’t always bad. I guess disc wear and tear is bound to happen and maybe I just had a bad luck of the draw in my short time as a member. What made it worse for me was the long time period in-between games because of where I live. It might be better if I lived in a bigger city. The customer service thing is something they should be able to do better on, though. I just realized something about Red Box. Everytime I’ve used them, I’ve rented a game that just came out. Brand new disc, in other words. So, that definitely is something that should be mentioned. They might have the same problem as Gamefly with older discs.

        That is pretty funny! Mass Effect 3 was definitely the glitchiest of the three games.

        Like

  3. RaccoonChad says:

    Countless! There were so many games that I remember completely glitching out on ly SNES or NES. Once they glitched and I couldn’t fix the problem myself, I never played them again. Ah, the thought-process of a child is something that should truly be treasured, “This doesn’t work. Welp, what else can I play?”

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    1. cary says:

      So true! When we used to rent SNES games back in the day, we got so many glitchy copies, it was almost hilarious. But we’d just return ’em and go on to the next games. Simpler times.

      Like

  4. Walters says:

    I only have one: Pokemon Red and Blue. That was because I learned about the Missingno trick. Well, let’s just say I did some stupid stuff with that, resulting in:
    *Red becoming so unplayable I had to get rid of it
    *Blue unfortunately can no longer save at all

    …Aside from that? Thankfully I haven’t run into too many glitches in my video games!

    Like

    1. cary says:

      Really bad glitches, like the stuff we encountered in The Last of Us, have also been few and far between in my own repertoire. Before now, the worst one I had ever dealt with was in Castlevania 64. But that was a crappy game anyway, so I just took the super glitch as a sign to quit.

      Like

  5. fminuzzi says:

    Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns was the worst for me. Not only did it freeze often (I was willing to forgive it for that after dealing with the elder scrolls/fallout), but the game doesn’t let you save until you end your day. I couldn’t even pro-actively deal with the potential freeze by saving often. I even tried speeding through to summer, in case it was an issue with the first spring… And it continued to freeze (alright, the chances of that being the issue were not high, but I thought I’d try).
    @ Walters: I was too paranoid of the missingno glitch. I tried doing it because I didn’t believe the internet at first… And as soon as I saw missingno I turned off the game.

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    1. cary says:

      Okay, now you and Walters have me very curious — what is/was the Missingno glitch?

      It stinks when you try your best to move past the glitches in a game but simply can’t. And in-game glitches are one thing, but having a game completely freeze up is another. We knew as soon as The Last of Us froze on the load screen that there was no help for it.

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      1. fminuzzi says:

        Essentially, if you followed a random sequence of events (talk to someone, then fly to cinnabar island and surf on the coastline?), you could find a ‘pokemon’ called missingno which just looks like a bunch of pixels. You could use him to duplicate items, or I think you could also find level 148 pokemon instead of missingno sometimes. It just freaked me out at the time (ok, I was about 12).

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      2. Walters says:

        I wish I caught this earlier, when I didn’t disappear from the internet for a good while.

        1) How could you have not known about the Missingno glitch lawl I guess you’re never gotten into Pokemon?
        2) fminuzzi covered all the basics. Missingno was basically a mistake made by the programmers when it came to the role of the old man in Viridian City. I can’t find the original article (But this will do fine enough) but in short, once they allowed the Old Man to temporarily take over to catch a Pokemon (you usually only have your MC and Pokemon), you were no longer the trainer. It usually gets cancelled since you head to a defined field where you can only walk after that, but Cinnabar Island’s shore was instead defined the same way (but you can surf there). So long story short, the result is every item in the 6th slot in your items menu would reach its cap (99), and it could be done at any time because Missingno appeared. You’ll also run into PKMN that have no business being in the sea. I’ll just end that it was fun times talking to people about that Glitch back in my youth :3

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      3. cary says:

        Wow, that is quite a glitch!

        Guilty as charged here though — I’ve not played a single Pokemon game. Except for a few of the characters, I don’t know much about the games. I guess it’s never too late to jump on the bandwagon, but I’ve just got too much else to play right now! Besides, Pokemon people seem to be doing just fine without me. 🙂

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    2. Walters says:

      lol amazingly enough, I caught it and almost was going to fight with it (I had actually stumbled onto it by accident). My sister was saying I should try it out. I turned the game off because I had no idea what it was. Next day, I learned it was the best decision I ever made.

      But hey, as long as you don’t be a fool and use it in battle (or catch it), it’s cool. Honest. I was young too when I saw it (it freaked the crap out of me at the time, but I got used to it xD)…I dealt with it!!!

      Like

  6. simpleek says:

    I can’t say I’ve encountered glitches that have ruined a game experience for me. Maybe more like I wanted a glitch to go away so I can focus better on the game.

    I was playing Borderlands with my friend online and we had just finished killing off these bug creature things. I freak out easily during these encounters. For some reason, and it only happened on my screen, the dead bug was belly up and stuck to our vehicle! When my friend drove it, the bug stayed stuck onto the vehicle for quite some time until we moved into a new area and it disappeared. My friend laughed at me the entire time because I was freaking out over my screen and she didn’t see that glitch at all. So I’d say my experience was more of a distraction glitch!

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    1. cary says:

      Haha! That’s exactly how I’d describe that ME3 glitch I mentioned in one of my replies above — when Shepard and a Volus “merged.” It was absolutely bizarre and momentarily frustrating, and thankfully it didn’t last long. But I can’t imagine having glitches happen when you’re playing online, when only you can see what’s glitching out unbeknownst to everyone else! That truly seems like it’d be a pain in the neck!

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  7. duckofindeed says:

    I had various glitches from bad discs (a used copy of “FFVII” freezing at the same spot every time, forcing me to buy a new copy) and bad consoles (my old GameCube loved to freeze whenever I pet a chao or dug a hole in “Sonic Adventure 2: Battle”). I enjoyed the games, even though it ruined the experience, so I bought a new version of whatever was the problem. But, glitches that are part of the game are the worst, since you can’t fix it.

    One of the main games that come to mind is “Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction”. Lucky people don’t get this one. Unlucky people do. For a select group of people, the cut scenes skip all the time, causing lip synching to be off and cut scenes to end before the dialogue does. Sometimes the sound just disappears entirely. And it ruined the game. It was likely a fun game, but I had trouble enjoying it as much as I could have, and it’s pretty much my least favorite of the series now.

    Like

    1. cary says:

      That sounds like it’d be annoying, for sure. It also sounds like something worse than just a glitch, almost like a horrible error had occurred when the game was written to the disc. Not to bring up ancient history, but something similar to that occurred with a copy we had of Super Mario 3. I can’t remember how the cartridge got damaged, but something happened to the connectors inside it. The game still played, but the music was all messed up and sometimes didn’t play. And what’s a Mario game without music? Nothing.

      Like

  8. cary says:

    Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    Last month over on United We Game, I told the sad, sad story of how glitches marred the experience of The Last of Us for me as the viewer and my significant other as the player. As terrible as it sounds, they really did ruin the game; and though I’m not pointing any fingers (*cough* GameFly *cough*), I’m pretty sure we just got a bad disc. Still, it was enough to relegate The Last of Us, hailed as one of the best games of the year, to the far backseat of our gaming SUV until the glitchy experience becomes a very distance memory.

    Like

  9. Vitosal says:

    Not one game yet. Most recently the one that’s ticked me off is Batman: Arkhham Origins,,,,with three patches already been released.
    I was lucky with The Last of US. Not one glitch the whole way through 🙂

    Like

    1. cary says:

      Hey, that’s cool! I know we just got a crappy disc, which really is too bad considering that we’ve had good luck with Gamefly games so far. (I’d like to think that Gamefly tossed it rather than sending it on to frustrate someone else, but who knows.)

      Thanks for the note about Arkham Origins. We’ve been thinking of getting it, but haven’t yet. Something to keep in mind as I doubt another glitchy game would go over so well.

      Like

      1. Vitosal says:

        don’t get it on Xbox. Here is what the new patch does. I think that if you guys had to get it now, and then update, I don’t think you will have any problems with the single player campaign. You can read what the update has fixed on my blog if you need to.

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      2. cary says:

        Ah, cool! I’ll provided a link here to your latest article on the topic for anyone else who’s curious. http://gamerstherapy.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/batman-arkham-origins-patch-update-v1-3-ps3/

        If/when we do get Arkham Origins, it’ll definitely be on the PS3.

        Like

  10. Vitosal says:

    excellent. Thanks Carey. Maybe it will help other people. Just read on the WB forums, and people are threatening law suits now…

    Like

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