Peter Mai, the Best Weekly Culture Writer You've Never Heard Of

Editor's note: Gentle readers, given this is our annual reminder to ustedes that there is more to the Weekly than the rag you're holding, that we have a vibrant, daily online blog presence, consider this an introduction to the best Weekly writer who never makes it into our pages—Peter Mai, our video-game blogger extraordinaire who writes for our Heard Mentality culture blog. His writing is witty and perceptive, and he explains video gaming for the two of you who have yet to purchase a system. Below is Peter's latest, “5 Video Games With the Worst Bugs of 2011.” Enjoy!
Gustavo Arellano

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It's not easy to make a video game, and it's certainly not easy to make one free from bugs. Developers have a limited amount of time to exterminate bugs and glitches before they're forced to release the games to the world, and oftentimes, there are a few that slip out unnoticed—until it's too late. Sometimes these bugs are hilarious. Sometimes they're just downright strange. And unfortunately, they can sometimes ruin an entire gameplay experience.


Dark Souls is tough. Now, imagine playing the game without any visible environments. A certain glitch in this game will make just about everything invisible to the player. The sky, certain items, sections of buildings and other random frames will appear onscreen, but that's about all you have to navigate through this game. Imagine a single false move will cause you to fall off a ledge you did not know was there. Surely, someone will enjoy this kind of punishment. (PlayStation 3)


As amazing as Skyrim is, the game's pretty buggy, especially on the PS3. In the game, using the “waiting” feature and accessing the PS console menu are among the two most common ways to crash your game. Oftentimes, the game will immediately crash after loading a saved game. After restarting, however, some unlucky players will get a notification that the hard disc is corrupted, which can take a few minutes—or hours—to restore. Repeatedly getting this error message will ultimately result in the corruption of the PS3 system start-up files and other important software, basically killing your PS3. Once the crashes start happening, it's probably a good idea to uninstall the patch and start a new, patch-free game. Sure, you've probably wasted dozens of hours of game time, but how bad can it be? You'll just have to play more Skyrim. Boo-hoo. Note: This is a very rare bug, likely caused by a corrupted download of patch 1.02. (XBox 360, PS3, PC)


Players can do so much in the world of Dead Island. Tackle objectives in any order, loot, kill and talk to anyone are what define sandbox games such as this. Considering how much stuff you can do in Dead Island, you wonder why developer Techland imposed an appalling save-size limit of 10,260 bytes. This will cause the game to immediately crash when loading a saved game, rendering your saved game useless. Another bug heard around the community includes losing save progress, in which players will reload their saved file, only to find themselves at an earlier point in the game with a lower level, wasting previous man-hours of game time. (XBox 360, PS3, PC)


It seems Battlefield 3 shipped a bit prematurely, considering the game was infested with so many bugs that it rendered the game practically unplayable at certain points. From game-halting glitches to graphical issues, developer DICE's forums were clogged with complaining fans. Here are a few of the known problems that plagued Battlefield 3 during the game's launch: game-halting glitch that occurs during the game's final mission that involves a broken Quicktime event that renders the game unfinishable; bodies hilariously flying across the map; if you die with the pause menu open, the screen will retain its blurred/blue tint until you re-pause the game; servers have been down on XBox 360; quitting the game leads to never-ending load screen . . . and many more! (XBox 360, PS3, PC)


Strike three, Nintendo: This is the third game on the Wii with a game-killing glitch. If you are unfortunate enough to stumble into this one, you're either going to have to start your game over, send your saved file on an SD card to Nintendo to fix the problem, or modify the saved file on your computer to remedy the problem. In an age in which bugs can quickly be fixed through a patch, it's ridiculous that players have to go through loops and hurdles just to get a game back on track. After similar game-killing bugs found in Twilight Princess and Metroid: Other M, you would think Nintendo would get its shit together. Hopefully, the Wii U will be technologically advanced enough to support patches. Considering several other games on this list also have game-halting glitches, Skyward Sword takes the top spot simply because of the poor method to fix it.

The game-killing bug here occurs when you complete tasks in a certain order during the “Song of the Hero” quest. If you save the game after the bug is in effect, prepare to start the game over. If you complete the desert section of the quest first and talk to the Goron twice, the game locks out completion of the other two portions, halting all progress. How do you avoid this? Just talk to the Goron guy once. Alternatively, don't do the desert section of the quest first. Nintendo is currently working on a program to repair the saved data that will be distributed. In the meantime, you can call Nintendo's hotline at (800) 255-3700 and talk to one of the ridiculously friendly service reps. (Wii)

This article appeared in print as “The Best Weekly Culture Writer You've Never Heard Of: Meet our video-game blogger extraordinaire.”

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