Wednesday, December 7, 2011

QA Quandaries: How Nintendo Dropped the Ball This Gen

If you own a copy of the latest Legend of Zelda release, Skyward Sword, you are probably familiar with the game-breaking glitch that the title possesses late in the game. This is yet another glitch that stops dead the progress of players from Nintendo. What happened? When did the quality of Nintendo's QA drop so suddenly between generations?

The first glitch takes place in the infamous cannon room in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The glitch occurs when players save their data in the room and then quit or reset the game. When Link wakes up, the cannon room attendant who was there before disappears. When players try to warp out of the room, Midna stops them stating that the room attendant is watching when he actually isn't. If Links attempts to walk out of the room, an invisible (see: glitched out) room attendant stops him, not letting Link out. If players come across this glitch and do not have an alternate save from an earlier point in the game, they have no choice but to restart the game from the beginning. This glitch only affects older copies of Twilight Princess as newer ones have the glitch fixed. Has this happened to you? I somehow avoided this as I felt no need to save my progress and quit inside the room.

Link might be a silent protagonist, but even he'd curse
if he had to start his journey all over again because of a glitch.

The next glitch, although not game-breaking, just game-crashing, happens in some PAL versins of Super Paper Mario. The glitch involves Mimi in Chapter 2-2 while the player is searching for Merlee inside her mansion. If one speaks to Mimi before retrieving the needed key and after entering the room with the falling spiked ceiling, the game will crash. The owner of their Wii will be forced to hold the power button on the console down for approximately five seconds to get things back to normal. Future editions of Super Paper Mario do not apparently have this glitch in it.

Returning from games crashing to games impeding one's progress permanently, Metroid: Other M has a game-breaking bug which halts the player's ability to advance. This occurs if players obtain the Ice Beam weapon, backtrack to the save room after destroying the "two-legged spiked enemy" in lieu of going to the next door and opening it. If players simply move forward after the fight, the glitch should not happen. Nintendo copped up to the bug, and gave players the option to send the SD cards to a Nintendo facility to have the problem fixed. It was an inconvenient solution to a botheration that should not have been there in the first place.

Forget the baby. The bug, the bug, the bug, the bug, etc.

The next game-breaking bug takes place within the realm of Skyloft in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. When players reach a plot-relevant three-way quest (the quest will be obvious to those who make it to this point of the game), if players talk to Golo the Goron twice without finishing the three parts of the quest, proceeding in the game will be impossible. Players will have to start the entire game from the beginning. There is no word on a fix to this obstacle such as sending one's SD card to Nintendo to have them remedy the situation. Nintendo themselves have owned up to this issue, but as said there is no solution other than restarting the game.

Just don't talk to Golo the Goron again, and you'll be fine.

The final and most recent glitch happens online in Mario Kart 7 on the Maka Wuhu track (the sunset-soaked Wuhu Island race). It happens if a player falls off the course in a certain section. The racer will then be dropped off by Lakitu way further ahead on the track. This exploit is something that is common with players who care more about winning than actually having fun and racing fair (see: people who snake). Hopefully, you have a decent community where players who pick Maka Wuhu won't exploit this unfortunate glitch.




The main problem with Nintendo's glitches is that they are not able to be patched like the HD platforms. As stated with Metroid: Other M, players who ran into the save room glitch either had to restart their data or send their SD card into Nintendo for them to fix. This makes QA exponentially important for Nintendo as they cannot just skimp out on testing and hope for the best. Even with hundreds of hours invested in QA, these aforementioned problems persist and exist. Some glitches can be fun to use, but the ones listed are completely hazardous.

Have you encountered any of the above glitches or glitches not mentioned in various Nintendo games? If so, let everyone know your horror stories via the comments section.

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