Platform Nation’s “A Simple Question”: Classic Game Bugs

I don’t think I’m alone in recalling fond memories of gaming days gone by, and some of the quirky things we did while playing.  Hours spent trying to Metroid-bomb ourselves up a wall to get to a previously unreachable area.  Days spent leaving the Nintendo on while playing Rygar because it did not have a password or battery save system.  Minutes spent playing ET before realizing you were playing what may be the worst game ever created.  While many players are putting similar time into games today, I often hear criticisms about how a game’s campaign is too short, or too easy, or too buggy.  The last one made me stop and think, especially after it was paired with the comment of “When did it become acceptable to release a game with so many bugs in it?”  Games in my youth had tons of bugs; they are just considered part of the charm of that era.  Super Mario Brother’s 1up exploit, Zelda: A Link to the Past’s super bunny glitch and a ton of other game glitches were found in almost every major release of the old consoles (check out this site for more). While the reasons WHY games of old get a pass may need further analysis beyond the scope of this article, it did get me thinking:

If classic games were released today, would the bugs and exploits in them be tolerated, or would there be demands for patches?

For this question, I’m not considering cheat codes to be glitches, as these were intentional workarounds that the programmers included (so the Konami Code, Ikari Warrior’s ABBA, Mike Tyson’s 007-373-5963, or Metroid’s JUSTIN BAILEY are all OK).  Also don’t consider graphical artifacting that would happen with dirty game cartidges.  Obviously there wasn’t an easy way to patch games back in the day, so this question is more about whether there would be a public outcry over why a game was released that had so many glitches in it.  Personally, I don’t think classic games would receive the same pass they currently get if they were put out today.  The very good ones might, if they could stand on their own two legs as a quality game (Portal is riddled with bugs and exploits, but the quality of the game (and difficulty in performing the tricks) makes most people forgive them).  I will always remember my classics fondly, but I’m not naive in thinking they were perfect.

Some responses this week included:

@krisspade: Nah that’s what made them good 🙂 Epic memories of glitching. No serious multiplayer so you were only cheating yourself. #PNASQ

@Ind1fference: old bugs seem more tolerable but rose colored glasses don’t come off easy #PNASQ

Thanks to those that responded this week.  Keep an eye out in #PNASQ on Monday when I’ll pose next week’s question.  Want to sound off?  Vote above, and comment below!

A Simple Question (ASQ) is a weekly segment for Platform Nation.  Each week on Monday,  I’ll  ask a question on Twitter at #PNASQ. Give a response and let the world know what you think; there is no right or wrong answer here. If you have a suggestion for a question, hit me up on twitter @vttym.

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