Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Favorite Bugs

My last post, which made gratuitous mention of annoying bugs, has inspired me to make this post about my favorite bugs. Well, not that kind of bug. I guess if I were choosing a favorite arthropodal bug, it would definitely be the firefly. They don't bite, they're pretty, they're easy to catch in your hands for closer inspection, and bioluminescence is just scientifically fascinating. Oh, right, and then there's the resemblance to a certain little 03-K64-Firefly class ship. But as I was saying, I'm not writing this post about my favorite insects or arachnids, but about my favorite computer game bugs.

Some games are particularly buggy, but even the greatest games can be broken. Bugs are totally annoying. They can be disastrous, if something goes wrong and you have to go back to a much older save and redo things, or if you simply cannot get past a certain point. On the rare occasions that bugs actually help the player, the player cannot even take advantage of them with a clean conscience, since it's basically cheating. But in some cases, bugs can supply us with enough bewildered amusement to compensate for the fact that something has gone terribly wrong. Here are a few of those that I have encountered.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - Spacesuit Adventures
This is probably my favorite of all time, with actually two bugs layered on top of each other. I'm not sure exactly how I did it, but it had something to do with a party member falling behind when going out of the airlock on the Leviathan so that I was able to reenter the spaceship without closing the airlock, and thus without removing my spacesuit. In any case, I found myself inside the spaceship still wearing the spacesuit. Now, in KotOR, the spacesuit is an unwieldy thing. No combat occurs while wearing the environment suits, and the character moves very, very slowly. It's really quite an annoying part of the game that comes up a couple times to make it more difficult to get from point A to point B. Anyway, finding myself inside the Leviathan, confronting numerous enemies, I knew I wasn't going to last long moving at a snail's pace without the ability to fight. I made it through the first battle because my two party members were not in their environment suits and were able to defend me. Interested to see how far I could get in the spacesuit, I saved the game, but it wasn't long before I made it to a more difficult battle on the bridge and died. Oh, right, and then there was the other bug I forgot to mention. On top of all this, I was getting a strange bug where certain items didn't show up--they were just transparent. As I recall, these objects included parts of the floor and walls, the bodies (but not heads) of soldier-class characters, and, yes, the spacesuit. So all this time, I was basically invisible.

Me on the bridge in my invisible spacesuit, outlined by an explosion.

Since I had died, I decided to quit out of the game (I knew relaunching the game would fix the invisible objects bug) and reload. That's when it got really fun. When I reloaded, the graphics still thought I was in the spacesuit. The invisible inner workings of the game, on the other hand, thought all was well. I could run, and I could fight, but since there were no spacesuit graphics to go along with such actions, I would simply skid across the room, plant my feet, and my enemies would fall before me. Mwahahahaha.

Those dark Jedi are going down!

I even made it to the encounter with Malak while still wearing the spacesuit. Unfortunately, after one of the cut scenes, the game finally figured out that I should have taken the suit off and set me back to normal. Alas. At least I got to see the look on Malak's face when I came at him in the environment suit.

Malak says, "WTF?!"

Hellgate: London - All Is Darkness
Ah, HG:L. A buggy game, but still fun. My favorite bug was actually one time when my brother and I both found ourselves invisible, except for our weapons, and invincible. It was a little difficult to aim and maneuver but, since we couldn't be hurt, the gameplay was forgiving and we tore our enemies apart. Unfortunately, I didn't get a screen shot of it, and it probably wouldn't have looked too impressive--just some floating weapons. So here is another bug, where essentially the only images loaded were the dynamic lights and smoke. As far as the scenery goes, all is black except for the fires, smoke, and rift portal. I am front and center. You can see the blue aura around my feet and a puff of smoke coming out of my chest from my unique armor. Spooky.

Mass Effect - The Dream
I had this one bug on my second play-through (so I knew what was supposed to be happening) where a character whose body I was supposed to find on the floor of a lab facility was not there. I was pretty amused, saying, "Yay, he escaped! He didn't die this time!" but at the same time it was annoying because I knew I couldn't continue with the quest unless I found his body, and I had to redo the whole planet to get the game to load the area correctly. That bug didn't yield any good screen shots, though. But this is my favorite Mass Effect bug, anyway. I call it "The Dream". Why?
The sun of Feros was setting in the distance, and I was running across the clouds. Just running. I wasn't going anywhere, but I knew I had to keep running. I looked up and saw my party members, high in the sky above me. They were running, too. I wondered why they weren't running with me. But they were falling. They grew bigger and bigger and bigger, then suddenly they fell past me. The sky grew darker. I was still running, heading in the same direction. My friends were still running, too, but now they were running far below me. The sky grew darker still. Before I knew it, all was black around me, but for the blue sun in the distance and my friends far below. And then I could run no more. I collapsed, unable to move, the world spinning slowly around me. Just spinning... spinning... spinning...
And then I woke up. I mean, and then I had to force quit the game, relaunch, and load an older save, because that one I had loaded to find "The Dream" was clearly screwed up. But I did get a screen shot of me running across the clouds, bound to my never-ending quest to save the galaxy.

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