Goat Simulator: When Bugs Are Features

Just a few days ago, @crosswiredmind pointed out a strange little game he thought might interest me given our shared gaming history–Llamatron, anyone? So now it’s making the rounds in my geek and gaming blogs including this Ars Technica article:

Goat Simulator preview: Goat of the year | Ars Technica.

I may post more about it  in other more-appropriate venues along with the unrelated but oddly, personally relevant Bear Simulator [Bear Simulator is “like a mini Skyrim but you’re a bear” | Ars Technica], but something the developer said in the Ars article caught my attention as a fellow software developer:

Goat Simulator is currently ripe with glitches, particularly with the titular character’s bendy neck getting stuck in objects, but Ibrisagic pledged not to fix most of the problems in time for the game’s purported launch of April 1st (a date he insisted was no prank).

“I’m only fixing crashes,” he said. “Everything else is totally hilarious, so we’re keeping it.”

In ancient days, some of the craziest developers for the Commodore 64 and Amiga actually depended on flaws in the hardware, APIs, and operating system to push our platform beyond its limits. Of course the risk there is that we’d fix those bugs or correct those anomalies and break their games. In fact when we did our “clean slate” Workbench 2.0, we eventually backed out some purist changes to avoid breaking the especially cool stuff.

The deliberate retention of bugs in Goat Simulator strikes me as a brilliant kind of post-modern self-referential nod that’s possible now that computers and computer games (and bugs in computer software) have become so much a part of our everyday experience.  Like Marilyn’s mole, sometimes it’s the flaws that make mere beauty transcendent.

Related Links: Goat SimulatorBear Simulator by Farjay Studios — KickstarterLlamatron – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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