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Bizarre Things That Almost Ruined Great Games

Video games have come a long way as a medium, from the simplicity of "Pong" to the grand stories and high-resolution graphics of epics like "The Last of Us." Games offer a unique chance to experience a story in an immersive, interactive way and have become a powerful form of storytelling and entertainment. 

However, no matter how far games come, everybody makes mistakes. Even the greatest of games can have an Achilles' heel, and just like in the myth of Achilles, all it takes is one arrow fired by a Trojan prince to send the whole thing crashing down — or a coding error or bug that no one predicted. It could be unintentional body horror that warps NPCs, or it could be a game-breaking glitch that completely derails the player experience. 

Thankfully, developers are often able to catch these problems and save the game, leaving no trace of the error but an interesting behind-the-scenes story. Here are some of the weirdest bugs that thankfully got squashed.

Assassin's Creed Unity's horror faces

This Parisian installment in the popular historical adventure franchise is often considered to be the buggiest "Assassin's Creed" game ever released (via Kotaku). Some of the bugs were just funny, if not a bit off-putting, whereas others completely derailed gameplay. NPCs rendered incorrectly, resulting in horrifying faces with exposed eyeballs and floating teeth. Other NPCs in crowd settings would dance randomly, float, and walk through walls. Unsettling, but doesn't really prevent the player from continuing the story. 

However, other glitches resulted in Arno, the game's protagonist, walking on air, getting stuck in buildings, and sometimes falling through the map. It's a bit difficult to fight off opponents when you can't even walk or get your feet to touch the ground. 

However, despite its rocky release, the issues with Unity have since been patched. Not only have the game-breaking glitches been repaired, but CBR noted that the gameplay is more fluid and the open world setting is beautiful. It might be worth taking a second look at this one – you might be surprised! Sure, you won't see as many exposed eyeballs, but it's probably still pretty fun.

The Skyrim bee

Pretty much everyone is familiar with the iconic "Skyrim" opening scene. The game begins with the player character on a wooden cart, looking into the face of an NPC that says: "You're finally awake." It's famous now, and it's hard to imagine "Skyrim" without it, but, according to the game's developer, it almost didn't happen. Nate Purkeypile, a developer who worked on "Skyrim," dedicated a Twitter thread to the unexpected saga of the "Skyrim" intro scene. Apparently, because the cart was physically simulated rather than just being on rails, it was very easy for something to go wrong in-game and cause the cart to fly off of the road. 

There was a persistent problem with the cart shaking and flying into the sky, seemingly for no reason. As it turned out, the culprit that almost ruined "Skyrim" was a bee. When attempting to fix a bug that prevented the bee from being picked up for a quest, the developers accidentally made it capable of colliding with other objects. If the bee flew into the cart's path, it could not go through it or around it, so the cart would simply shoot up into the air. All it took was one absurdly strong, indestructible bee to literally derail the game. 

The bee was eventually moved, but it just goes to show: No matter how small or insignificant you feel, you can accomplish great things. If a humble bee can take down "Skyrim," you can do anything. 

Spinning heads in Fallout: New Vegas

"Fallout: New Vegas", the 2010 addition to the post-apocalyptic roleplaying game series, is set in and around a retro-futuristic, bombed-out Las Vegas. In the game's opening scene, the player character is rescued and taken to Doc Mitchell in the town of Goodsprings. Doc Mitchell saves the player character's life and performs several medical tests before sending them off into the open world of the larger game. Simple enough, right? However, before the release of the game, news of a bug in this intro portion leaked (via Console Monster

Video of the bug was uploaded to YouTube, which showed Doc Mitchell's head inexplicably spinning around while he talked. And this isn't an Exorcist-style spin, either, with the head rotating horizontally. Poor Doc Mitchell's head rotated vertically, turning completely upside down as he continued to talk like nothing had happened. Thankfully, according to fans on Nexus Mods, this bug was fixed by the time the game released. "Fallout" can get pretty intense, but that's an intensity no one was ready for.

Demon babies in The Sims 4

Ah, "The Sims." A wholesome game about family, building a career, and learning what "woohoo"-ing is. Even though there are some bits that aren't so kid-friendly, "The Sims" is typically fun for the whole family and — oh GOD, what is that?! 

After the release of the highly anticipated "The Sims 4," many users attempted to expand their Sim family only to discover that their brand new bundle of joy was more like a cluster of nightmares. One user requested help on the EA official website, writing, "Every single time one of my sims have a baby they look like demons with a mix of Freddie Kruger." 

Other players soon chimed in, saying they did not want their sims holding their new babies, and didn't even want to look at them. They're not wrong, either. These glitch babies had popped-out eyes, long fork-like fingers, floating heads, and bizarre distended torsos (via Kotaku). Don't call an exorcist just yet, though. An update thankfully patched the bug, and now "The Sims 4" comes with the same amount of nightmare fuel as the previous games — but no more than that.

Missing players in Madden NFL 2003

Football is one of the great American pastimes, next to baseball and adapting cartoons into Broadway musicals. The "Madden NFL" games provide a great option for those who want to take their love of the sport to the next level, controlling the game from the comfort of their own homes, complete with digital versions of some of their favorite players throwing the old virtual pigskin around. Of course, since football is a team sport, the players are a pretty integral part of "Madden" gameplay. It would be pretty disastrous if you booted up your game only to find that the players had all mysteriously disappeared. 

Well, during the development process for "Madden NFL 2003", the team behind the game experienced just that. According to software engineer Jim Hejl, the dev team discovered that all of the players had suddenly vanished, leaving just an empty stadium, a field, and a ball placed at midfield. 

There was no solution in sight, until a junior programmer suggested checking inside of the ball. There, to the surprise of the developers, were all the players. Due to some unknown error, they were all shrunk down to a tiny size and still in their formation, inside of the football. Luckily, the problem was fixed before the game's release, all thanks to that junior programmer thinking outside the box (and inside the ball).

The corrupt doll in The Sims 3

"The Sims 3" has a community-run feature called The Exchange. Made available by EA Games, The Exchange gives players an official place where they can show off their custom content to each other and download content made by other players. In June 2010, players began to notice that a strange package file was attaching itself to other packages in the game. The file came in the form of a little girl doll with blonde hair and a checkerboard patterned dress. Any game files that included this doll, such as Sims and houses, would become infected with long loading times and even crashes. Unfortunately, the file got uploaded to The Exchange, which meant that a number of players unknowingly added this corrupted file to their own games.

The problem became so widespread that EA Games added a note to its official game forum to warn the community about the doll. The warning actually included instructions to check the game for her presence, as well as an explanation on how to get rid of the doll and stop her from spreading to even more games. As "The Sims" continues to include ghosts, vampires, and other supernatural figures in its gameplay, fans must never forget the time the game itself created its very own cursed doll.

Dark Alliance and the Day One patch

Fantasy co-op game "Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance" was released in June 2021. The title attracted a lot of buzz, promising dynamic multiplayer, real-time combat, and legendary monsters, as well as the ability to play as one of four iconic heroes from fantasy author R.A. Salvatore. The day before it launched, much to the surprise of excited players and game journalists alike (via Game Revolution), it was announced that there would be a 15 GB patch implemented on the first day of the game's availability to fix a game-breaking bug. 

This sizable patch was intended to provide balancing improvements, as well as various other unnamed bug fixes. However, the biggest problem that the patch addressed was to fix one of the game's missions, "Kelvin Act 2." As the devs explained to MP1st, players would not be able to complete said without the patch, meaning players who didn't download the patch would be prevented from making any progress past a certain point in the game. Thankfully, this was one game-breaking glitch that was fixed prior to release.

Ultima 9's ship in a bottle

"Ultima 9: Ascension," the final chapter in the role-playing "Ultima" video game series, was developed by Origin Systems and published by Electronic Arts in 1999. As part of a twitter thread asking developers to share embarrassing and humorous stories from their time in the industry, game designer Damion Schubert shared a story he'd been told from the development process of "Ascension." 

One day, according to Schubert, the game's development team was confused to see that the frame rate had unexpectedly dropped out of nowhere. No one could determine a cause. It took a thorough examination of the game before the figured out what was behind the slowed frame rate. As it turns out, an artist decided to add a ship in a bottle to the player's house, and selected a full-sized pirate ship for the job (just scaled down, naturally). 

However, putting a massive pirate ship asset on the shelf of a house took up quite a large amount of space, which in turn caused the frame rate drop. Apparently, you can't put a pirate ship on your digital shelf without some consequences. The ship had to be removed to fix the game.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla's mystery bug

"Assassin's Creed Valhalla," 2020's massive Viking-themed installment of the franchise, was released in November of 2020. Pretty soon after its release, it became clear that the game was not all cool bushy beards and horned helmets. Users on the Ubisoft forums reported a massive bug with the in-game quest "A Brewing Storm." The game asked the player to go to sleep, then the screen turned black, no cutscenes played, and the game just continued in a sort of purgatory without the story advancing at all. 

Players who encountered this bug couldn't do anything except aimlessly wander the game map. Dag, the character the player must fight in order to advance the story, did not appear when he was supposed to. He could be found in the northwest corner of the village if the player looked hard enough, but even if you did all of that detective work and killed him, he simply resurrected and kept walking around as if nothing ever happened.

According to a report from The Washington Post, no one, including Ubisoft, was entirely sure what caused the bug at the time. The devs must have figured out how to keep a good Dag down, however, as the issue was patched in an update five months after the game's release.