On the Perfectibility of Games

A discussion has sprung up on Gameological regarding the abuse of glitches in video games. One asks, though, how these glitches are discovered in the first place, and what impulse drives their discovery. Whence arises the desire to find glitches in video games?

I would say that glitches are uncovered not from a desire to expose a game’s flaws, but instead from a belief in its perfection. Players take the game at its word that it is complete and self-contained. How, then, could a player not wish to explore this alternate universe? How could they not wonder what is on the other side of a pixelated hill?

Players look for hidden areas and secret powerups because they want to experience everything in a game. A lot of that exploration exposes flaws that were never meant to be seen, flaws that are exploited for ends the developers never intended. Having laid bare the secret workings of this world, players start hungering for even more secrets.

At this point the meta game of breaking the programming appears. But it all started from an abiding worship of the eidos of the game.

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