An Unintended Experience

As many know, games are never built perfectly and may contain noticeable flaws that can be encountered during gameplay. These are known as glitches, and come in all types of forms. What is true of almost any glitch, however, is that it creates a disruption in the normal flow of gameplay that may catch the player off guard and completely shift their experience in the game. While glitches are unintended by the developers of a game, they are important to recognize and analyze how they impact the game’s players. I viewed a particular glitch recently that encapsulates this notion (which is shown in the video at the end of this entry). Keeping in mind the original form of the game, the glitch creates an entirely new sensory experience for the player, and is viewed as its own artistic creation.

The glitch takes place in Mario Kart Wii, on the track “Moonview Highway,” and completely changes the games visual and auditory status. The music becomes warped and slowed, but because the players and viewers of this glitch know that it is caused by the random corruption of the game, it is seen as an art form. It has a nice sound to it, and many can see it as a full remix of the normal music, but the fact that it was essentially created by random program scrambling is more intriguing to the player than if a human created the mix. Ferreira and Ribas explain that “a glitch is both the product of malfunction and artificial creation,” which is shown in the sense that this corruption was an intentional creation by the corruptor, taking advantage of the game’s internal malfunction that produces the result (p 113). People that want to glitch games might have an artistic reason behind it, and want to see how the game can create a glitch, but this same artistic experience can be encountered by an unsuspecting player during normal gameplay in other ways.

Ferreira, Pedro. Ribas, Luisa. “Post-Digital Aesthetics in Contemporary Audiovisual Art.” Computation, Communication, Aesthetics & X, 2020.

This video features many corruptions, but the specific one described starts at about 1:53:19. The auditory change is especially notable.