Glitches seem to just be an inevitable part of life as a gamer. From the mundane to the game-breaking, glitches come in all shapes and forms. Some are humorous quirks that really harm no one. Think the Yoshi’s Island glitch where you can actually eat baby Mario or some of the many little Skyrim bugs. They’re good for a laugh, they’re unbelievable when they happen, and they make up many of our favorite compilation videos all over YouTube.
But others, like the ones we’ll be covering in this list, absolutely ruin the games they’re found in. This is no exaggeration. These are the kinds of bugs where it almost seems like the developers either didn’t care to clean it up or simply hated the players.
From deleting save files to making some levels unconquerable, these game glitches are absolutely malicious. And while some of these can be avoided if players are careful, others are there from the start. With these 20 glitches, you better watch out. Our entries on this list are varied. Some come from more recent games and others from the not-so-far-removed past. They’re all united, of course, by their universal awfulness. Prepare to throw your controller at your TV, as all of these glitches are that frustrating. So without further ado, let’s begin.
And as a fair bit of warning, many of these bugs occur during certain points in their respective game’s story. There will be unmarked spoilers so watch out.
20 The Banter Bug - Dragon Age: Inquisition
The adorably named Banter Bug sounds innocent enough. But for players who encountered this bug, it meant the game couldn't even be enjoyed properly in the first place.
First, a bit of background. In Inquisition, you travel with a rag-tag team of characters. What's supposed to happen is your characters all engage in harmless, random banter every so often while you're traveling around Thedas. It's a fun little feature that, when working properly, adds a little more life and color to the game.
For players who have the so-called Banter Bug, players are instead treated with long blocks of silence. This might sound like heaven to anyone who's ever had to deal with Vivienne or Solas, but as Simon and Garfunkel can attest, the sound of silence gets depressing.
The banter bug was supposedly fixed in a recent update, but many players still report experiencing the bug for various reasons even to this day. It can, however, be fixed with mods (at least if you're playing on PC) or by following a series of convoluted steps.
19 The Cannon's Core Suicide Glitch - Sonic Adventure 2
Love it or hate it, Sonic Adventure 2 was a historic game for the Sonic franchise. Along with introducing characters like Shadow the Hedgehog and Rouge the Bat, it was the last game produced for a Sega console (RIP Dreamcast). Not all players are nostalgic for the 3D Sonic games, but a good chunk of those players had experienced the Cannon Core Suicide Glitch first-hand.
So here's how the glitch works. In the game's final level (unmarked spoilers, like I said), you spend part of the level playing as series villain/temporary-ally Dr. Eggman right after you play through as Tails. Ordinarily, you should be able to just zoom around normally, but some copies of the original game (roughly a third) came with a serious misprint.
What this meant was that you would start out the Eggman portion, hoping to bring the game to its end, only to fall through the level's floor and die instantly. Or you'd continue falling through an endless hole. For a game that already inflicted Shadow the Hedgehog on the world, it was more salt in the wound. Players affected couldn't even finish the game and for Sega's struggling, albeit wonderful for its time, Dreamcast console, it was another nail in its coffin.
There are a few ways around the Eggman glitch, though. If you have one of the affected copies or your emulator experiences the glitch, you can force Eggman to hover as soon as you start his section of the level, which should circumvent it entirely. Otherwise, you can simply play through one of the re-released editions of the game where the error was fixed.
18 The Far Land Void - Minecraft
This glitch was eventually corrected through the 1.8 beta update, but the earliest players of this cult classic block building game would experience this particularly infamous glitch if they dared travel beyond the boundaries of the game's "infinite" map.
What would happen is as players moved into the Far Lands, located on the far edges of the game's horizontal axis, they would experience strange terrain, including floating chunks of land. And if they continued onward, they would soon fall into a deep, black, and inescapable black void.
Believe it or not, one fan actually brought back the glitch through a mod a couple years back for players who wanted to recreate their nostalgia for being trapped in a deep, dark Eldritch tunnel. We can't say we're surprised.
17 The Berry Glitch - Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire
Let's be perfectly honest. Pokemon is not immune from a glitch or two. Back in the Red and Blue days, players regularly encountered game-breaking glitches like the Missingo bug (we'll actually go more into depth about that one later). By the time Ruby and Sapphire were released in 2002, we assumed the franchise had gotten past that point.
Enter the Berry glitch. In some of the earliest copies of the game, players would find that after a year of playing the title, berries that players planted would no longer grow. Calendar and other time-based events (like the Lilycove Department Store lottery) would be delayed by 366 days. The problem had to do with a bug in the game's internal calendar, which Bulbapedia has a detailed rundown on.
The glitch was corrected in later printings of the title and through various patches, including a downloaded patch available in the bonus disc offered through Pokemon Colosseum pre-orders. Players could also mail in their copy of the game to Nintendo up until 2012 when the practice was discontinued.
16 The Crooked Head Man - Fallout: New Vegas
To say that Bethesda games have bugs is like saying water is wet. Open-world games have bugs galore. However, some of them are so bad that they ruin the game's experience. Enter the crooked head glitch, which players would encounter in New Vegas' very first scene.
In fact, many players went through the game assuming it was intentional. You'd start out the game, face-to-face, with Doc Mitchell. Without warning, Doc Mitchell's head will begin to spin rapidly, with no regards to biology, physics, or Jesus, around his neck and shoulders. You have to see this glitch to believe it. Players also report that other NPCs in the game will take after Mitchell and do the same. We knew the game took place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but we didn't think it was this bad.
15 The Ice Cream Factory - Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Vice City is still considered one of the best games in the Grand Theft Auto franchise. But for many players who played an early release of the title, they would encounter the literally game-breaking Ice Cream Factory bug.
The Ice Cream Factory was a fun little mission where players were asked to help sell drugs out of an ice cream truck. In early copies of the game, however, it wasn't all sweet. If players saved during this mission, their save files would become corrupted. Upon trying to load their saves, players would be confronted with a blank screen and they would have to start the entire game over. It could be avoided through simply not saving during the Ice Cream Factory mission. Thankfully, it was corrected through later releases of the game. Still, it left a bitter taste in many players' mouths and gained notoriety for being one of the series' worst bugs.
14 The Doghouse Glitch - The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
We're going back in time with this glitch. Link's Awakening was originally released back in 1993 for the Game Boy. It's still one of the most popular Zelda games of all time and fondly remembered by fans. The game itself was kind of trippy (let us remember that the game literally took place inside the dream of a giant fish). But nothing encountered through the normal game compared to the Doghouse glitch.
Players can encounter this glitch at almost any point in the game, proven they've killed at least one monster. To access it, they must go to Madam Meow-Meow's house (the one with the dog chained outside). If players make a few quick maneuvers, they can enter this house through the side instead of through the front door and encounter a warp. They'll find themselves inside a nightmarish dungeon, which actually changes every time players enter it.
Players will be treated to a series of nightmarish images, not limited to disembodied NPCs, unobtainable items, glitched out versions of monsters, and copies of every single monster you've killed in the game. Players can only escape by dying inside the dungeon or resetting their Game Boy. Yikes.
And no one's really sure what the deal was with this dungeon. It may just be a bunch of junk data (for example, you can obtain items in this dungeon that don't actually appear inside the game, indicating that these were items that were dummied out of the code). Either way, it's a dungeon you won't want to be awake for. Speedrunners, however, seem to love this dungeon, due to its ability to glitch them to a further point in the game's story.
13 The Deus Glitch - Xenogears
The worst glitches, as we all know, aren't the trippy ones. They're the ones that actually prevent you from being able to play the game at all. Enter the Deus glitch from Xenogears.
Deus is one of the main antagonists in this PlayStation title. He's big. He's bad. And he'll actually freeze your game if you fight him. And if you didn't guess from the fact that I said he was one of the main antagonists, you need to fight him in order to finish the game.
Here's how this glitch works. While fighting Deus, Deus would often launch an especially powerful (and graphically extravagant as in the manner of most big bad guys) attack. This attack would freeze the player's games. But, bizarrely enough, this glitch is often only encountered when players play Xenogears on a PlayStation 2. If players stick with the original PlayStation, they'll usually be able to avoid this glitch.
This glitch could also be avoided if players killed Deus before he had a chance to launch his infamous, game-freezing attack. But by the time you figure that out, chances are likely you've given up on Xenogears and you're just playing an entirely different game, which we wholeheartedly endorse as a plan of action.
12 Jiggy Glitch - Banjo-Kazooie
This is yet another glitch that makes it next to impossible to finish the final game. Banjo Kazooie was one of the most notable titles on the much-memorialized N64. And though it's a little dated, it generally holds up well to modern scrutiny. But one glitch (and there were a few notable glitches in the first Banjo-Kazooie game) threatens to ruin entire run-throughs of the final game, making obtaining 100% completion of the game next to impossible, if you're not staying vigilant.
Enter the Jiggy glitch. In the game, you're tasked with collecting ten Jiggy pieces, which can be earned through a variety of ways, most notably through helping out the fox-like Jingos while exploring the land. But in Clankers Cavern, sometimes you'll find a Jiggy that the game doesn't count towards your collection. Players can sometimes avoid the glitch by simply restarting their game and collecting the Jiggys in an alternate order but for players who are playing the game for the first time, it's a beyond frustrating experience that leaves players all too eager to throw their controllers into the TV.
11 The Not-So-Happy Holiday Glitch - Viewtiful Joe 2 Demo
Players who were members of Sony's own PlayStation Underground service were treated to a free demo CD, which featured a demo of Viewtiful Joe 2, back in 2004. The Holiday Demo 2004 Disc seemed innocent enough. But players who dared pop it into their PlayStation 2 while their memory cards sat in the console were treated to a nasty surprise.
See, other demos on the disc would do nothing harmful. But the Viewtiful Joe 2 demo would actually reformat and delete every single saved game file on a player's memory card. It got to the point where Sony had to release a public announcement about the demo disc's glitch. Not exactly the best way to introduce Viewtiful Joe 2 to the public. And we have a feeling that part of this title's lukewarm reception (apart from it not being an amazing game) had to do with the horrors of the demo disc.
Players could, of course, avoid the glitch entirely just by removing their memory cards prior to inserting the demo disc. All things considered, the demo wasn't even worth it. And yes, the glitch would affect multiple memory cards. Woe to all families back in 2004 who had an overeager young brother stick the demo disc into the family PlayStation 2.
10 Save Corruption - Soul Calibur III
As you'll note for most of these entries, many of the games here are great titles. Soul Calibur III is yet another solid entry in the long-running Soul Calibur series. But it was particularly infamous for its game-breaking save corruption glitch, which threatened to upend hours upon hours of progress in the game.
A bug in Soul Calibur III's coding meant that if you decided you wanted to clean out your PlayStation 2's memory card by deleting an older game off of it or you just happened to have older games on there (like most people do), you would activate the glitch. All would be well and fine. You could go weeks before this glitch ever reared its ugly head. The game would function normally.
But one day, you would go to load your save file, expecting to continue playing as normal. And you'd come to discover that your entire save file had been corrupted. All your progress, gone. Hours of your life (and you could've spent hundreds of hours trying to reach 100% completion) are now in the toilet.
Yes, we're still salty. Could you tell?
9 boot.ini - EVE Online: Trinity
Imagine a PC glitch so bad that it actually broke your computer. You don't have to imagine anymore. For EVE Online this was what many players experienced when they bought the Trinity expansion back in late 2007.
An oopsie with third-party patching software lead to a bug where players' /boot.ini files would be deleted once Trinity was installed. For those of you who aren't especially tech-savvy, this file was necessary in order to boot Windows. So you'd destroy your entire operating system just trying to load Trinity. Ouch. While the developers quickly made amends with fans and eventually released detailed instructions for how fans could save their computers, but it was a rough start to the expansion pack's release. Moral of the story? Stay vigilant and back your PC up whenever possible.
8 Too many to count- Assassin's Creed: Unity
The fact that this game made it on this list should be no surprise to anyone. Assassin's Creed: Unity was especially infamous, both due to its rushed release date and a plethora of bugs.
Some of the more infamous? Character models wouldn't render properly, leaving characters without faces or random NPCs would collapse inward on themselves, devolving into expressionless crotch monsters. Or there would be times when you'd leap, only to find yourself stuck in the air or falling through an endless pit. There were so many bugs that Ubisoft eventually released a public apology, but it was too late. While the series is still producing new titles, Unity is still considered one of the worst titles in the series.
But there is a bright side. We have enough memes and compilation videos to circle around the sun five times.
7 The Shivering Isles Mega Glitch - The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion
The Shivering Isles was Oblivion's first major expansion pack. And while it was otherwise a fun experience, allowing players to embark on a mad-cap adventure where they had to help the Daedric Prince Sheogorath, one serious bug prevented players from even being able to finish the game at all.
What this bug would do is make it so that after playing for dozens of hours, new items would stop spawning. See, scripts in the mod for some of the new NPCs introduced in the game would use up internal ID codes within the game. These ID codes would normally be allocated to forming new items. But as they exhausted the space on these codes, players would eventually get to the point (which varied based on their frame rate- the higher the rate, the quicker they would experience this glitch) where new items would no longer form and they would be unable to finish the game as planned.
A patch was eventually released for PC as Bethesda developers caught onto the problem. Xbox 360 players were advised to create a new character and hope for the best.
6 The Missingno Glitch - Pokemon Red and Blue
While Pokemon Red and Blue are among the most fondly remembered titles of the original Pokemon series, they were plagued with a number of bugs and glitches. One of the most infamous bugs, though we could almost make an entire list comprised of just bugs in these two games, was the Missingno glitch.
Missingno was easy to encounter through normal gameplay. When players did come across him, often by surfing along Cinnabar Island's shore, they'd be greeted with a buggy mess of a 'mon that either took the form of the ghost players fought in Lavender Town, a fossilized Aerodactyl or Kabutops, or a backward L.
If players caught him (and why wouldn't they?), they'd find that Missingno was an absolute mess. He was Bird and Normal type (and if you're not familiar with Pokemon, bird wasn't a type Pokemon were supposed to have. It was dummied out of the game and replaced with Flying). His individual characteristics and the form he appears varies on the player's name.
While catching Missingno will corrupt your Hall of Fame data, he also has the ability to multiply whatever item is in your bag's 6th slot. So say hello to a million Masterballs or Rare Candies. But sometimes, it's been known to actually corrupt save files and the overworld, causing scenery and NPCs to glitch out. So encounter with care.
How Missingno works is through a bug in the game's Pokemon generation system. Certain areas in the game are coded to generate certain 'mons. For example, when you're wandering through the grass near Pallet Town, you'll encounter Rattatas and Pidgeys because that's what's coded to generate there. Within the game's coding, despite there being only 151 Pokemon, there are 256 Pokemon slots, with all other slots beyond the actual Pokemon being filled with garbage. When players encounter Missingo by surfing along Cinnabar Island's shore (you have to be careful to stay right on the shore), the game isn't quite sure what to actually code and it'll pull from those empty, garbage slots, rendering Missingno.
5 The Sketch Bug - Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy is like most long-running video game franchises, not immune to glitches and bugs. But one of the most infamous was the Sketch bug in FF VI.
See, the character Relm had a special ability called Sketch. With this ability, she was supposed to be able to paint a copy of an enemy in order to use the enemy's powers against itself. It was a nifty tactic, but it was all too easy for things to go horrifically wrong.
It was all too easy to trigger the Sketch bug. If Relm missed her target or ended up trying to Sketch something that was next-to-impossible to actually Sketch, a variety of things could end up happening. Sometimes the effects veered towards mundane, such as freezing the game or causing some graphical hiccups. But at their worst, the effects were game-breaking. Relm might accidentally end up duplicating random items in your inventory, which would cause the game to crash. Or all your save data could be randomly deleted from existence. Not exactly a great way to end a battle. Patches were released for the SNES to correct the bug and the problem was solved in all of Final Fantasy VI's releases and ports.
4 The Killer Doll - The Sims 3
Sims 3 is a little buggy. It happens. But most of the bugs and glitches encountered by players are harmless and, at worst, mildly annoying. One glitch, however, was a far different story.
Back in 2010, players noted that a corrupted file was spreading around the online exchange program, attaching itself to houses, objects, and clothing that players shared with others. The file took the form of a corrupted doll. While the doll seemed innocent enough at first, it had a tendency to slow down or crash players' games if it was present on a user's file.
Fans eventually figured out how to delete the doll for good, though the steps to do so were notably a little convoluted.
3 Game Erasure: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Blue Rescue Team
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Blue Rescue Team and sister title Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Red Rescue Team were the first in the now on-going Mystery Dungeon spin-off series, which was co-produced by Spike Chunsoft.
While dual titles aren't new to the Pokemon franchise, these games were released across two platforms- Blue for the DS and Red for the Game Boy Advance. Players could insert Mystery Dungeon Red into the original DS's Gameboy slot and experience additional features in their copy of Blue, such as being able to encounter Pokemon not available in the other version.
We should emphasize that this bug was only present in the original Japanese version. But what would happen is when players booted up Blue on their DS, any game in the Game Boy slot that wasn't Red would have their save files wiped. Replacement carts, once the bug was discovered, were quickly shipped out and, in the meantime, Japanese players were advised to keep their GBA slots empty.
2 The Barrel of Doom - Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest
Donkey Kong Country 2 is wildly regarded as one of the best games in the series and a classic SNES title all around. However, it's also got one of the worst glitches on this list. It's not just the fact that this glitch exists, it's that this glitch has the potential to permanently ruin your game.
Enter the barrel glitch. While playing as Diddy Kong during the Castle Crush level, you can pick up the first DK barrel encountered in the level and throw it against a wall. If performed correctly, you'll end up holding an invisible barrel. If you throw this invisible barrel, chaos results.
Some of the side-effects are humorous, such as enemies glitching out in the background. But it has the potential to actually kill your entire game. No. Not just your save file like some of the other glitches here. No. This Barrel can corrupt the entire game, rendering it unplayable. The glitch has been corrected in ports of the game, including its Virtual Console rendition. But as far as the original SNES version, you're SOL. All for want of a barrel.
1 The Uninstallation Bug - Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor
It's one thing for a game to break itself. But it takes a special brand of evil for a game to go and break other games. This was the case with Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor.
It should be a fair bit of warning, but video games with titles that are that convoluted rarely turn out to be any good. Pool of Radiance received mixed reception upon release, with numerous complaints about its gameplay. Perhaps anticipating that people would uninstall the title, Ubisoft left a critical bug in the game's code where several system files would be deleted if Pool of Radiance was uninstalled. So when you uninstalled the game, you'd make it so, like EVE: Trinity, you couldn't load Windows.
There was a patch released to fix this, however, so the problem was at least addressed rather promptly. But it simply gave gamers one more reason to avoid the title like the plague.