Find out which developers are intentionally making bugs and glitches

In early 2015, Daniel Mullins was working on a PC version of Grandia 2 at Skybox Labs in British Columbia. Mullins was a seasoned programmer at the time, but the Dreamcast title transfer from 2002 seemed to start from scratch. “I was looking at this ancient symbol written by a Japanese team,” he says. “It was very difficult to parse – it wasn’t like anything I’d ever done. Just getting essential things on screen was a huge achievement.” When the transport team was able to produce the graphics, they were mired in errors, including improperly fitted grilles causing the knees to “move as if they were elbows, resulting in a strangely distorted gait.” Mullins only spent a few months on the project, but the ordeal remained with him. This will prove to be the foundations of the 2016 Pony Island game, which is locked inside a sparkling arcade machine that is actually the work of the devil.

Loosely designed with pixel streaks, boot noise, and curved low-resolution screens of vintage PCs, Pony Island is a sinister celebration of video game mistakes. The graphics alternate dramatically between a pastoral pink background and a glowing white wasteland. Corrupted menu options under the cursor. The rotating artifacts open up a desktop behind the main menu, where you will exchange messages with other imprisoned souls. To restore some broken features, you must guide a switch around a maze of command-line text dotted with English words – a representation of how you feel wading through the bowels of Grandia 2, deciphering the weird line here and there.

(Photo credit: Thomas Happ Games)

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