Exploits are a common occurrence in gaming, some incorporated into the games themselves – bunny-hopping for instance, which involves quickly crouching and jumping to increase speed, actually started out as an exploit in Quake II, before being adopted by the developers. In these instances, the exploits are welcomed augmentations, enhancing the gameplay experience.
Sometimes however, exploits are game-breaking, negating any semblance of challenge or accomplishment by allowing players to manipulate technical loopholes, allowing them to gain unfair advantages against online opponents.
In some cases, these become detrimental – despite their novelty – harming your continued investment in a given game, and eventually causing you to lose interest altogether.
Exploits are usually unintended, meaning some are downright hilarious, and others are easily ignored, but there are numerous exceptions that wreak havoc with the mechanics and functionality of classic video games, ruining them in the process…
Perhaps the most infamous gaming exploit in history, this particular oversight is remarkably advantageous, despite its devastating consequences.
Ttravelling to world 3-1, the player is essentially able to harvest infinite lives by bouncing on a Koopa Trooper located towards the midpoint of the stage, jamming the poor, defenceless turtle between a rock and a hard place.
Performed correctly, this will trigger Mario to begin automatically jumping, which requires zero input from the player. That said, the exploit will eventually cause some pretty surprising glitches to occur, many of which are game-breaking – including Mario’s lives actually decreasing into negative numbers, and the game randomly crashing without warning.
Regardless, the infinite lives exploit from Super Mario Bros. is one of the earliest examples of a game-breaking exploit ever recorded, which makes it historical as well as completely irritating.
Wavedashing – featured in Super Smash Bros. Melee – is a physics exploit allowing players to dodge more effectively, performed by sliding back and forth, and attacking simultaneously.
It’s incredibly irritating – creating an unnecessary barrier between veterans and newbies – permitting experienced players an unwarranted advantage. Besides, wavedashing isn’t exactly difficult; it just isn’t common knowledge, meaning newer players are just kept in the dark.
Performing the exploit involves jumping and air-dodging into the ground, allowing players to shield themselves and side-step potential attacks simultaneously, something which was not intended by the developers. That said, wavedashing isn’t included in any subsequent entries in the series because the practice is annoying and unnecessarily unfair, distancing players who haven’t had as much experience with the series.
In short, it’s complete bulls***.
MissingNO. – the infamous glitch from Pokémon Red & Blue – is actually an exploit, allowing players to duplicate any item an infinite number of times. That said, this particular oversight has a nasty tendency of crashing and corrupting saved games, rendering it somewhat game-breaking.
Performing the exploit involves catching MissingNo. – which is discovered along the eastern shore of Cinnabar Island, besides the Pokémon Centre – inside a Pokéball.
Once done, the mysterious Pokémon would duplicate the sixth item in the player’s inventory – including master balls, and rare-candies – opening up a wealth of possibilities.
That said, MissingNo. causes several unwanted side-effects – including corrupting hall-of-fame records – which many players value tremendously. Besides that, the exploit renders the player so overpowered that the entire experience is nullified, leaving you only one remaining option: Stop playing.
Also known as the Ironman Exploit, Unlimited Manoeuvres is a game-breaking oversight in X-COM 2, allowing players to execute as innumerable amount of actions in a given round. It’s devastatingly effective, and not especially difficult to perform despite its damaging ramifications – essentially rendering ironman mode completely redundant.
Performing the exploit is simple enough, and involves ending and reloading a round simultaneously, which causes the game to disregard the player’s final action. Performed correctly, this permits players to eliminate every opponent with a single soldier, who is granted unrestricted movement around the environment and unlimited shots on target.
Again, this completely ruins the game, especially considering the point of ironman mode, which is to provide a genuine challenge for experienced players.
That said, the exploit is yet to be patched by the developers.
This particular exploit is another counterproductive example which ruins the experience without completely breaking the game in question.
It’s pointless – rendering any sense of achievement non-existent – allowing players to purchase anything in the game without accomplishing anything whatsoever, removing any sense of progression or development.
Performing the exploit involved murdering the Redguard, Dorian – located in the Talos Plaza District of the Imperial City – and looting his lifeless corpse indefinitely. Alternatively – perhaps in case you’re worried about the karma – the money can be pickpocketed, meaning the exploit could be performed without a single sword swing, which is just disappointing.
There are similar exploits available elsewhere in the game – as well as in Skyrim – but this particular oversight was especially undemanding, requiring nothing on the part of the player yet rewarding them with everything.
Halo 2 – despite its tremendous appeal – was plagued with exploits, including the aforementioned super bouncing.
B+X+R was another oversight, allowing players to melee and shoot simultaneously, bypassing opponents’ shields completely, granting a guaranteed assassination with minimal exertion. It was utterly infuriating, ruining many player’s online experiences, and encouraging everyone to adopt the irritating practise for themselves.
Performing the exploit involved performing a melee (B), reloading (X) and firing (RT) in quick succession, thus cancelling each animation prematurely and beginning the next.
That said, the exploit required a full magazine – because otherwise the character would actually attempt to reload the weapon – but even this minor drawback could be side-stepped by pressing B+Y+Y+R which would caused the character to swap weapons midway, thus avoiding the issue entirely.
Super Bouncing in Halo 2 – which utilised terrain flaws in similar fashion to bunny-hoping – was a massive nuisance for online players, and removed from subsequent versions of the game in order to encourage a more composed online experience.
Crouching in very specific areas of certain maps would desynchronise the game – which would appear as though the game were lagging – allowing players to launch themselves into the air, sometimes into oblivion and sometimes to special advantage points.
Performed correctly, the oversight could be exploited to tremendous effectiveness, propelling players across the map, disadvantaging grounded opponents and creating a lopsided online experience.
Interestingly, Super Bouncing made a reappearance in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which corrected many reoccurring problems from the original yet chose to ignore the particular exploit.
Dark Souls necessitates a massive amount of patience, rewarding persistence and determination and punishing inattentiveness and over-eagerness. That said, there’s an exploit which completely ruins the experience, permitting players to accumulate massive amounts of souls immediately with minimal investment.
The exploit itself – which involves farming souls – is easily performed, and involves cancelling a move and consuming a soul simultaneously, granting players the experience without consuming the soul in question, defeating the entire point of the game in the process.
After all, farming souls is counterproductive, rendering Dark Souls easy – which is the gameplay equivalent of making chocolate tasteless. It’s downright criminal, ruining a classic game in the most redundant way imaginable.
In 2005, WoW was patched to include a new multiplayer raid – Zul’Gurub – which tasked players with overcoming a new adversary, Hakkar the Soulflayer, armed with the powerful enchantment, Corrupted Blood.
The spell was incredibly overpowered, but restricted by the developers to a certain area – which players soon overcame using pets and minions, allowing them to carry the plague beyond the confines of Zul’Gurub into the over world.
The result was a virtual epidemic, permitting some players a massive advantage in combat – annihilating players in a single move – which programmers attempted to contain by quarantining massive portions of the world.
Eventually, the issue was solved after a series of patches and gameplay tweaks corrected the problem, following weeks of mayhem and discontent.
This particular exploit – which rendered the playable character, Cyan completely overpowered – was infamous, somewhat breaking the game in the process.
Essentially, it was performed by having the character incapacitated by a physical attack during combat. Once revived, Cyan would begin mercilessly pummelling his opponents into submission – including some of the game’s most challenging bosses – until nothing whatsoever remained.
Psycho Cyan was an unstoppable monster – rendering any sense of accomplishment mute – and breaking the game in numerous and considerable ways. Trouble was: the exploit was too effective – meaning the moment you found yourself in trouble – you’d exploit the oversight, without exception.
The prospect was too enticing, the character completely overpowered, easily available and easily manipulated into an unstoppable weapon of mass destruction.