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Before bringing out a product—in this case, specifically a game or program—it must be tested. The stages of testing are typically called Alpha and Beta, but may include Gamma in some companies. Alpha testing is done by the developers themselves, while Beta testing is done by a specific, outside team called Quality Assurance. In late phases of beta testing (this phase rarely called "Gamma", "Open Beta", or "Release Candidate"), select members of the public are allowed to test the game. During Alpha and Beta tests, those doing the testing seek out bugs, note them down, and forward them to the parties responsible for fixing them. Those developers then either fix the bug, delay the fix due to whatever time or business constraints, or declare it as "will not be fixed". Ideally, testing will last long enough to fix the most noticeable bugs.
However, sometimes, this isn't the case. Software may be rushed for any number of reasons, which may include: a holiday release, desire to compete with another company's product, a studio's closing, or outright laziness. When this happens testing can be shortened or outright skipped. This results in buggy, unstable programs that no one likes.
Companies take note: Spending time fixing any errors before releasing a program is a lot easier than trying to fix them after it's released. It results in fewer complaints, too! One of the problems is that marketing and development are done by different people and sometimes even different companies. Once the publisher starts to nag the developer, rushed games happen...
On the other hand, companies may have to do this, particularly small ones. Not all companies have enough time, discipline, or money to go through all the development stages for what they're planning, and so have to release in the hopes enough people will buy it to get them going to go through the rest of the stages for them to better perfect it and then get attention to those changes to make more buy it later.
Naturally, the Obvious Beta skips the regular testing to go straight to release. In extreme cases, games have gone straight to release before it even enters the testing stage at all. To add to some confusion, the current paradigm in mainstream development renames and redefines some testing stages. Alpha for instance can be (depending on the company) used to denote a technically finished product (it's feature complete and could theoretically ship though it's probably still got issues of varying degrees) while beta can be used to note the same only with far less game-breaking bugs. Thus when the players talk about betas and a finished product with a developer, it can often mean two dramatically different things. The early access model of development muddies the waters further, basically extending the "public beta" privileges to any paying customer (even if functionally the game would still have been in the alpha stage under older development models).
If the single-player mode of a game is fine but the multiplayer isn't, please put the example under Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode. See Beta Test for more on the process and see Perpetual Beta for when the developers no longer have an excuse to update things. This trope can also overlap with Porting Disaster when it occurs in a particular port of the software to a certain platform.
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The arcade version of Beatmania IIDX ran on a custom-made and very complicated PCB (it actually used a consumer DVD player controlled via a serial port to create video overlays, amongst other things), until the ninth version, whereupon it was dragged kicking and screaming onto a Windows XP based PC platform. The transition was anything but smooth; as well as the general bugginess of the code, the game's timing measurement and response speed were extremely bad, two things which are critical in a music-based video game. It wasn't until the 11th or 12th version that things were almost back to normal, though the home releases continue to exhibit smoother and more responsive gameplay than the arcade ones.
The same applies to the 2600 port of Pac-Man, which Atari released as soon as they got their hands on the programmer's alpha version. The two games are often mention as single-handedly causing The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, which is probably an exaggeration... but Lord, they didn't help.
Fight For Life for the Atari Jaguar was actually shaping up to be a good fighting game. But Atari had gotten into the bad habit of shafting their employees, so the programmer decided to withhold the game until he got paid. Atari said "fuck it" and released the latest build they had — perhaps 60% ready, slug-paced and unbalanced. Much later he let a Jaguar fansite have the final build, so they produced the vastly improved "Limited Edition" from it. But talk about limited: only 28 cartridges were produced, making it one of the rarest games ever.
The sixth volume of the GrailQuest series, Realm of Chaos, appears to have suffered from a severe lack of playtesting before being released (see the page for details).
One of the most notorious is Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing. Well beyond Obvious Beta, this is just some pre-alpha code that was hacked together into something shippable. It's something akin to what what a game looks like in the first two weeks of development, when the team is expecting a 2 year development cycle.
For example, although it's supposedly a racing game, there are no opponentsnote Technically, there is an opponent car, but it doesn't do anything but sit at the starting line indefinitely. There is a patch available that will get it to move, but it still stops right before crossing the finish line (as there's no code for what happens when you lose a race), so it's impossible to not win., no timers, no obstacles, and no collisionnote The rigs usually won't go down through the ground but besides that there is no collision detection whatsoever. Trying to drive over a bridge causes you to fall straight through to the valley beneath, but that's okay because you can drive straight up the vertical cliff on the other side of the valley without even slowing down. You can drive over mountains, through buildings, and off the sides of the map at your leisure. In fact, the only possible way to lose is for the game to crash. Admittedly, the game does crash pretty frequently. It's also worth mentioning that there's a level that doesn't work; your brake lights float a noticeable distance behind your vehicle; it's possible to drive infinitely fast in reverse; sometimes the game's code has trouble distinguishing between starting and finishing, so you win the race immediately...
Just to add insult to injury, the available race mode is actually the custom race mode (presumably the first to make as it's easiest to test). The promised main campaign, which the back of the box claims involves evading police on public highways, does not exist. In the earliest version sold, they couldn't even get the victory prompt right: "You're Winner!"
Infestation: Survivor Stories (initially named The War Z) promised to be an MMO game where players can fight each other or the zombies in a huge open world with skills, abilities, weapons, and so on... except the majority of the features weren't even in the game when it launched and the game was riddled with bugs up the wazoo. The backlash from the customers was so intense that not only the game was pulled off Steam, but refunds were also given (this very rarely happens). What makes the event even more shocking that the lead developer of War Z was Sergey Titov, who had also led the team responsible for Big Rigs. It also did not help that said developer treated the angry customers with extreme disdain by saying that he is sorry that people had misinterpreted the description of the game (a much kinder way of telling people that they're stupid) in addition to banning those on the game's forums who had openly criticized the game, all the while stating War Z is the best game he ever played. It's been speculated that this was a direct reason for the Steam Early Access "genre"/program (where a game would be more explicitly be a work-in-progress with players getting "early access" with the expectation that their feedback would drive development while devs would get access to similar benefits as "officially released" games).
Test Drive Unlimited 2 suffered from a swarm of bugs and server issues when it was released on the PC. Since it had online activation and needed a connection to the game's master servers to play, the game would flat out refuse to let players start up the game, and it would often kick them out of the game without warning, due to massive server overload. The day-one DLC was broken and would eat player's in-game (monopoly) money, and the game had several gamebreaking promotional cars like the Bugatti Veyron SS.
The PC ports of Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee and Stranger's Wrath as part of the Oddboxx...they're more like Obvious Alphas at this stage. Terrible performance on even high-end gaming computers for Xbox ports that have had no graphical upgrades aside from resolution, resolution options with a nondescript "Low", "Medium", "High", and "Ultra" for the latter (1024x768, 1280x960, and 1600x1200 making up the latter three) that require an .ini file edit if you need a different res (say, 1920x1080), issues with the controls such as not being able to move with a gamepad in Munch's Oddysee and unchangeable inverse look in Stranger's Wrath...even at 50% off for the whole Oddboxx on the first day, a lot of people are understandably pissed. At least they've promised patches to clean this mess up and even grant Stranger's Wrath the updated graphics intended for the PS3Updated Re-release, though whether we'll ever get them is another question.
Empire: Total War, which has been somewhat fixed with a lot of patching. If you want to see what it was like on release, fire up the Road To Independence scenario, which for some reason seems largely unaffected by the bug-fixes. Marvel as your AI willfully ignores an order you've give dozens of times, and when it does listen, interpret your order to move 12 feet forward to mean go play grab-ass in a forest 5,000 miles away.
BohemiaInteractive's fanbase all know that their games are not playable until a year or two after release for them to be patched.
This is pretty much expected for any MMORPG immediately after release—game companies can't really test the game under the conditions it's supposed to handle (i.e., thousands of simultaneous players) without releasing it for retail. Sometimes the MMORPG is initially released as a clearly marked Open or Closed Beta (generally to those players who've pre-ordered the game), so bugs at that stage are entirely understandable and should be highlighted to the GMs. Most major bugs will be ironed out by the time the paying customers hit the world, but many minor ones will likely remain for some time.
Another sign of Obvious Beta in MMOs — bugs aside — is large gaps in content. Often an MMO player will see the starter zone polished rather well, hit level 20 or so, then find that there's absolutely nothing but literally days of solid Level Grinding before you can attempt the rest of what they bothered programming. Conversely, they may not have actually bothered programming much after the starters anyway.
Muelsfell: Rise of the Golems: since coming out of "Beta" over a year ago, there are just as many, if not more, bugs than there were in Beta. The new features and new monsters are particularly bad.
Anarchy Online version 1.0 was this, to the point where the original version would effectively force you to reinstall Windows.
Flanker 2.0 was so unplayable that the cleaned, definitive version was... Flanker 2.5. Falcon 4.0 was the same as well.
Streets of SimCity is a SimCity spinoff in three dimensional plane Wide Open Sandbox driving game which you can drive around cities. Unfortunately, it's riddled with tons of bugs. Likewise with Sim Copter except with a helicopter. Both are good games with a good-sized fanbase, they just happen to have a lot of bugs. Still perfectly playable, it'll just crash every half hour or so.
The 2013 SimCity was released in a miserable state, which mostly stemmed from only two really big issues, the traffic and the DRM. The traffic in the game could easily bring any large city to a grinding halt, since drivers always would take the shortest route instead of the fastest route (for example, all the cars would pile onto a single lane dirt road while ignoring the slightly longer four lane avenue), sometimes going in endless loops, public services tended to follow each other (so having buses would only increase traffic woes instead of helping them, while firetrucks had serious problems putting our more than a single fire at a time), and other such nonsense. Meanwhile, the servers just couldn't handle all the players in the game, with wait times that could exceed an hour, money disappearing into the ether when gifted to another city, and just crashing at points. EA was forced to take features out (most notably "Cheetah Speed") just to prevent the servers from imploding.
It also came out that the game flat-out tricked the player by showing a much higher population than the city actually had, so you'd think your city had enough people to run it even as everything ground to a halt because of lack of manpower. And that the exceedingly diminutive maximum city size was artificially restricted - by using an exploit it was possible to build outside the borders to no ill effects.
It's also possible to login into your account and edit and control some features in someone else's city in your region, making your co-player pratically lose the game by having no money.
While Electronic Arts has long sorted out the server connection issues (or server demand simply went down to the point where it wasn't a problem anymore), the game is still fundamentally broken - RCI not working, traffic broken, water tables not recharging - nearly a year later. "But hey, go ahead and buy that expansion pack!"
Residential area: "Where's the shopping?". Commercial area next door: "not enough shoppers." This happens even between wealth-compatible properties; the Sims just can't figure out how to make it between the two. Or maybe there's no problem at all when these comments appear, it's not like there's anything in the game that lets you see for yourself.
After EA sorted out the server issue they created a "Launch Park" park for those players who had stuck with the game through the ugly opening months. A part of this park even had a wall of sparking system servers.
The PC version of Red Faction 2 had a multiplayer mode that didn't allow multiple players, and showed pickups as 2D sprites in spite of the working 3D models in the "Single Player" campaign. The campaign itself was a veritable glitch-fest, and the best ending was essentially impossible to get legitimately due to a bug where some civilians whom you were supposed to save would chase the player's vehicle down so they could die on contact, which was completely unavoidable.
Disciples III: Renaissance was a Base Breaker for many reasons, but its glitchiness was universally reviled. Lowlights include long load times, bad triggers, and an overly aggressive AI that is content to ambush the player from offscreen and destroy his essential party. For an added bonus, due to the way the game's autosave works, such an ambush requires loading from a manually created save, as the autosave triggers at the end of the player's turn—meaning he has no resources to prevent it, even if he knows it's coming.
Most of the later VGA adventure games suffer from a profound lack of testing, and can crash randomly based upon any number of bugs. The worst example is probably Quest for Glory IV.
Police Quest: Open Season has countless bugs that randomly crash the game, corrupt saved games, or make the game unwinnable.
Ultima IX. The ending chapter of the Trilogy-of-Trilogies. The greatest RPG ever. And it was released as a mash of crap, unplayable on most hardware that was available at the time.
Erik Wolpaw of Old Man Murray: [Ultima IX is] ...a game in which programming errors battle each other gladiator-style for the privilege of crashing my computer...
The original, unpatched version of Ultima VIII: Pagan is completely broken. What was released was basically an unfinished alpha version. Remember: Ultima VIII is the one where Electronic Arts wanted to turn it into an action RPG. Imagine a Mario game where it's impossible to estimate how far you need to jump and every gap has an instant-death pit. Unpatched Ultima VIII is like playing I Wanna Be the Guy blindfolded. With a mouse.
Though it had no real Game-Breaking Bug, The Witcher was such a bad case that the developers took pains to make up for it by producing the "Enhanced Edition" (free as an upgrade), which in addition to being "The game as it should have been released," also came with a host of bonus in-game content and eight complete language packages (audio and text).
This all happened because the game was considered to be a niche product for a fantasy novel only really known in Poland at that time, so the international interest was a surprise and the localization rushed, resulting in sloppy English.
A recurring problem in the X-Universe series of space sims. In X3: Reunion, the main plot had multiple unpassable stages.
The company is so notoriously bad about this that several gaming sites have had to re-review their games after several months of bugfixes make them properly playable. In an interesting twist, they usually end up providing substantially more features than was actually promised in the original Obvious Beta.
Egosoft has a history of releasing several minor patches after the game is out, then exactly one year later releasing a "2.0" super-patch that fixes and improves the game to "how it should always have been" status. The smart (and patient) player will add one year to the release date of any Egosoft game. On the other hand, their more recent games are buggy at release, but significantly less so compared to the disastrousReunion launch. Played straight yet again with the release of X Rebirth, which was critically panned due to performance and stability issues, missing features (such as ship commands and radar), and a convoluted user-interface which was even harder to use than previous games. The huge 2.0, 2.5, and upcoming 3.0 updates have fixed most of the performance/stability issues and added features that were missing at release.
The expansion packs to Final Fantasy XI are egregious in this regard. If you buy them on their release date, one is not so much buying an expansion as one is buying access to a couple new areas without a whole lot to do in them and the promise that over the next eighteen months, they'll gradually let you access all the stuff they promised on the box.
Final Fantasy XIV was released lacking so many features, and with so many known serious game design problems, that it was more of an obvious alpha. Unusually, the developers actually apologized for it and canceled subscription fees until the game was fixed. The results definitely show.
EverQuest was terrible at release: mobs randomly could or couldn't enter water and some areas they couldn't travel to/from, and there was bad pathing, falling through the world, inaccessible zones, instant death drops from falling 2 cm, and the boats didn't work consistently for years.
Hellgate: London was released in a woefully buggy and unbalanced state, after a too-short beta period. It rapidly improved... but by that time, most people had already written it off.
The first two S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games shipped with a great many glitches and bugs. Clear Sky was especially bad, where the state of the game could change between quick saves.
The first game was also rushed in many other ways: translation errors in the English version meant a lot of confusion ["shotgun" was translated as "rifle" and "attic" as "basement"], vital NPCs could die in random locations, it was possible to sequence-break to the point the game took ten minutes to finish, and there was a lot of obviously cut content. Fishing around in the game files showed entire missing levels, fully-programmed weapons that never actually appeared, and camera settings for drivable cars and helicopters. Most of the dummied-out content can be restored via game mods
Evil Genius, though a perfectly playable and fun game, has some bugs that are unforgivable. Examples include the impassable Persian rug, and the science henchmen who actually make your plans harder to complete. These bugs can be fixed with a simple edit of game files (conveniently stored in text form), but since the developer went belly-up shortly after the game was released, you have to do it yourself. Thankfully, the version released on Steam and GoG comes with the majority of these bugs fixed.
Epic, a space flight-sim on the Amiga, Atari ST and PC, shipped in a hideously unfinished state. The waypoint system would only point you to a single target even if you'd already destroyed it, the manual was confusingly written and incomplete (including a statement that an ion "is a particle of FILL IN LATER"), the cheat was printed on the control summary card, and early versions of the game crashed so often than many retailers returned their copies and refused to buy fixed ones. To make matters worse for buyers, the game received rave reviews in several magazines based on alpha code and published anything up to seven months before it was actually released.
Fallout 2 shipped with some gamebreaking bugs (your car vanishing, as well as certain quests that would cause the game to crash if you tried to complete them, for example) and quite a bit of cut out content that leaves certain minor plot-lines completely unsolved. Fanmade patches, such as the Fallout 2 Restoration Project seek to restore the missing content to a playable state.
Fallout 3 didn't have any obviously missing content, but had serious stability issues, with crashes still not uncommon even in patched versions. In addition, an entire new story branch was added after the original ending with DLC. The most blatant bugs were the glitches that occurred if you did certain missions in the wrong order that made the game Unwinnable, such as starting "The American Dream" before finishing "Scientific Pursuits". The fact that the game allowed you to attempt this without compensating the programming for it norletting you know about any of this things was a major oversight on the developers' part.
It also has a bug that screws the Pip-Boy's ability to receive radio music if you're running the game on Windows Vista or newer. What happened was that DirectSound, which the game uses, doesn't work properly with Microsoft's new and shiny UAA driver architecture which is used by Windows Vista and newer, but Microsoft decides to officially announce DirectSound as being dead instead of fixing it, shipping the broken library with the Direct X 9 runtime for Windows Vista and 7 instead note Despite shipping with Direct X 10 and newer, some Direct X 9 libraries are not included and need to be installed separately. There is no exceptions to this except laziness, Microsoft already made the announcement while Bethesda was still developing the game and they had the chance to change away to a different audio method. But they didn't. And they have yet to fix the problem to this day.
Fallout: New Vegas. There's no blatant content removal unless you really look, but the bugs were out of control at release, comparable to Fallout 3 and often worse due to the complex web of scripts working under the hood and Obsidian's pushing of Gamebryo to its limits. Subsequent patches greatly increased stability and removed a plethora of bugs, though the process itself wasn't without its own bumps (a patch released a day after release rendered the game unplayable on some systems, requiring another patch the next day to correct it).
In the case of this particular game, Obsidian has been quite honest the initial release WAS the Beta build simply because Bethesda told them to make the game in 14 months. Making a AAA game in that short period of time is like asking Michaelangelo to sculpt you a masterpiece in a week. The DLC's, which recycle less from Fallout 3 and had proper time to be beta tested, were noted for having a much higher level of quality and significantly less game-breaking bugs, showing what New Vegas could have been if Bethesda didn't want the game done so rushed for the sake of not pissing on Skyrim, their next planned "big hit".
World of Warcraft suffered from this for quite some time, though it has (mostly) stopped doing so. Helped by the fact that content patches are regularly available for testing on the "Public Test Realm" for anyone interested.
In the early days of Burning Crusade, for example, the final bosses in the two main dungeons were not only horribly unbalanced to the point of being effectively undefeatable, but the first time that any guild managed to kill Lady Vashj, she instantly respawned and killed the entire raid. This made infamous by the controversy of two guilds competing for the world first. Since both kills were bugged, they were dubbed the world first second, and the world second first.
Also in Burning Crusade was a case of "The beta didn't consider how many people play this multiplayer game". Hellfire Penninsula was the first zone in Outland and it was SWAMPED with players all fighting to complete the same quests at the same time for the first four days. Servers crashed, tempers flared, and all following expansions had either two starting zones or started the Alliance/Horde factions on opposite sides of a very large zone. Blizzard learned and came out with some great ideas in dealing with this over the years, but Hellfire Penninsula was an Obvious Beta. This was especially puzzling since that issue wasn't even new to the game: both factions have had huge issues with their auction-house Capital city being flooded with players wanting to use the feature, zones with expanded endgame content were likewise swarmed for a while, and even the instance servers sometimes couldn't keep up with the demand. Shattrah being the Hub for both factions in Outlands didn't help either, though they at least avoided making it worse by still having players to go back to the old cities for the Auction House, class trainers etc.
Silithus in general was an Obvious Beta zone. It was this little corner in Kalimdor that, for some reason, wasn't covered in the guide, but there were actually a few quest chains in there. Strange. When you entered, you found this wall that you couldn't get past; literally half the map of Silithus was unfinished. It also became an obvious beta (along with Eastern Plaguelands) for an attempt at creating world PvP. It was later finished in patch 1.8. However it still is plagued with a problem of mob-density, but it had been improved in other patches.
Expansions typically have growing pains and players pretty much expect it, but Cataclysm was notoriously buggy at launch, largely due to the sheer amount of content Blizzard crammed into it with a relatively short beta testing period. Numerous quests were glitchy or outright broken (Vashj'ir being the biggest culprit), mob spawning was out of control, phasing caused any number of headaches, achievements were busted, you name it and it was screwed up. Loads of hotfixes were a daily occurrence for weeks, and even after the first major patch (4.1), there's still lingering issues.
A new feature intended to alleviate the previously mentioned swamped zone issues by essentially creating copies of these zones (or merging the zones of several servers to keep them from being too deserted) naturally had a lot of this itself at first.
A more subtle recent example was the introduction of certain trinkets in the Siege of Orgrimmar with effects that Blizzard was planning to implement as regular stats in the next expansion, such as Multistrike (a new form of Critical Hit, basically) and Readiness (lowering the cooldown of certain abilities).
Artix Entertainment like to do a fairly tolerable version of this, on purpose. Both Dragonfable and MechQuest were initially released in a fairly unfinished, but playable, state, only available to paying players of their previous games. There was only one (or practically no) quest, only a few items, no stats, one or two areas, very few monsters, etc. The players play the game, offer suggestions and report bugs to the devs, and slowly, the kinks are hammered out and the product is released to the public. New content is then continually added and modified throughout the lifespan of the game. In the pre-release MechQuest design notes, Artix mentioned that, due to time constraints, the game would be released without thorough Beta testing, and the players would just have to see whether it broke or not. He dubbed this practice "Gamma testing," and so far, it seems to be working out just fine.
Gothic 3 Forsaken Gods, the standalone expansion to the third game, is this in spades. The game is so bugged it took a 240 MB patch (latest one) to make the most basic features (like shield parrying) work properly, and it's still a bug riddled minefield anyway. It also has worse cell load skips than its predecessor when unpatched, and is prone to crashing and generally taking its massively high requirements and running underpar at best. As further insult to injury, the whole game was made by developers totally unfamiliar with the engine who slapped this sucker together in a few months and was shoved out the door before it had been properly playtested, basically rendering it critically flawed on arrival.
Many, many versions of Windows have been hit with this over the years:
Legend has it that the Windows ME launch party coincided with the filing of the 500th urgent bug entered into the tracking system.
Vista seems to have released in a similar state, but it was very usable after Service Pack 1. Certainly every Vista videocard driver released in the first 6 months of Vista's life qualifies, as they were responsible for the majority of Vista crashes. The stated minimum hardware specifications being optimistic to the point of outright misleading didn't help either.
Microsoft has a history of this: Word 3.0 for the Macintosh was released in 1987 with about 700 bugs.
MS-DOS 4.0 suffered massive problems on its release in 1988, including poor compatibility with older programs and even a number of potential data corruption issues. This one wasn't entirely Microsoft's fault, though — IBM were the main culprits here, as they forced Microsoft to shoehorn in a number of OS/2 features at the last minute, then insisted on releasing the resulting product before adequate testing could be done. This lead to a subsequent 4.01 release which fixed the major problems. You'd think Microsoft would have learned something from this experience, but unfortunately it was just the beginning.
The original release of Windows 98 was horribly bugged, to the point of being physically unable to run longer than 49.7 days without crashing due to a serious timing bug - though this was a rarely seen problem, as the system was overwhelmingly likely to crash from any of a zillion other bugs way before such an uptime could be achieved. It was so bad that that they had to release a Second Edition in order to patch everything. (Admittedly, 98SE went on to become the most stable and successful branch of that version of Windows.)
It's often said that the even releases of Windows are the Obvious Betas where Microsoft likes to experiment while the odd releases are an attempt to perfect the previous release. This is most visible when noting the differences between XP and Vista, and Windows 7 and the current concepts for Windows 8. In essence, what happens is that Microsoft releases a new OS (such as Vista) which quickly garners a reputation as crap due to unforseen bugs. Even after the bugs are fixed, no one wants to buy "that crappy, buggy Vista." So Microsoft releases a "new" OS (Win7 in this case) that is essentially the previous one with all the bugs patched out. Windows 8 is a bit of a subversion because while the radical UI changes have become the subject of a huge Broken Base, stability and performance have so far not been an issue.
It does seem though now that Microsoft does seem intent on bucking the "every other version is good" trend. Probably the most significant thing they've done is actually offer up new releases with widespread, freely available public beta testing, something they had never done before Vistanote and probably did because people were going to pirate leaked builds anyway, as happened with the paid beta programs for 2000 and XP. Ironically, the beta releases of both 7 and 8 ended up being much more stable and useable than the shipping versions of many of their Obvious Beta predecessors.
Developers at the small set of companies who were sold Microsoft's Visual Interdev when it was released were dismayed to see the splash screen labelled 1.0a and a large Alpha after the name. The actual product crashed regularly, lacked key documentation, generated non-functional code, and had unremoved warnings that it was not for public release, possibly making it an Obvious Alpha.
Windows XP is also guilty of this, but not at first. Start with only a few programs at first, but don't horde the computer with loads and loads of files, or it will refuse to take so kindly and tell you that "You are running very low on disk space." If you only have loads, but not enough to fill an elephant, the icon in the balloon will be a ! triangle. If you have more than loads, the icon will be a red X circle, which is the standard error icon.
The initial demo release of Painkiller Resurrection was an absolute disaster — the developers accidentally released a much older version of the demo than they had intended, and it shows: loading up the level takes a good five minutes, particle textures appear as orange-brown cubes, the finicky draw distance causes distant church towers to hang in the air miles away, and players couldn't even finish half the level because a physics-enabled rope bridge kept tossing them over the edge or pushing them straight through itself.
Daikatana was noted for excessive delays/slippages and a ridiculously arrogant advertising campaign. It shipped with broken AI, insanely unfinished levels, and dozens of bugs and glitches. The game was a mess in co-op as well: Cutscenes (and their subsequent event flags) were removed entirely, causing the players to spawn stuck behind closed doors that were supposed to open in cutscenes. The Readme recommends playing the single-player mode first to get an idea of the story. The co-op has a host of bugs on its own — the best being a glitch that causes players to spawn stuck to the floor, telefragging each other in an infinite loop.
Supreme Commander shipped in an Obvious Beta state including severe game balance issues that had been identified during Beta testing but weren't fixed prior to launch, pathfinding problems, engine problems and hardware compatibility issues. Despite being promoted heavily as a DX10 showcase, the DX10 support was never added; in addition, the promised SDK and editors never materialized due to proprietary code used in them.
It is rare to see an enemy in an unpatched copy of Hidden & Dangerous 2 not floating ten feet above the ground. Other show-stopping bugs include not being able to interact with any object in the level [including mission objectives], enemies moving behind locked doors they have the only key to, and the AI's disturbing tendency to blow itself up if left with anything explosive.
Jurassic Park: Trespasser was more like a beta design idea. Instead of a regular FPS setup, the player controls the character's right arm by holding down keys and moving the mouse. Aiming a gun requires careful alignment of both the player's body and their arm to line up the iron sights, which makes combat impractical. Further, the game was equipped with a severely broken physics engine that, according to The Other Wiki, allowed the player to lift several-hundred-pound steel girders with one arm but did not allow the player to be pulled over a Chest-High Wall by that same arm. The very same physics engine also lacked friction, meaning stacked objects would simply slide or push off one another if misaligned regardless of mass. On the flip side, this very physics engine may have very well inspired later works such as Half-Life 2, as it was very advanced by 1998 standards.
Also, since any stowed melee weapon Sticks to the Back, and since a weapon's damage is determined when the weapon intersects with a character model, some weapons actually cause continual damage to the player when stowed; the devs "fixed" this by removing all mass from the melee weapons that did this, meaning they didn't kill the player when stowed, but now couldn't damage enemies either (the sole exception is Nedry's Mace, which you can't even properly use because you can't keep weapons between levels and said mace is found maybe five minutes away from the end of its level).
The game's 3D engine rendered distant objects as scaled sprites, which popped abruptly into polygons as the player approached them. It was released at the dawn of the era of hardware 3D acceleration, and actually looked worse when run with a 3D card; software mode used system memory to store textures, whereas the accelerated version was limited to the small texture memory of contemporary 3D cards. The software mode also used a clever form of bumpmapping which was incompatible with 3D accelerators, and so as a consequence the game looked better and ran faster in software more than with a 3D card.
And that's not even getting into the hilarious deforming dinosaurs who had to be "dumbed down" due to the mishandled coding of their AI — save for a couple of friendly raptors in level 3 that the developers forgot to tinker with.
Hearts of Iron III, a World War 2 strategy game, shipped with extremely broken AI. The AI countries would join factions seemingly at random; it wasn't uncommon for Japan to join the Allies or the US to join the Axis. Save games got corrupted all the time. The game ran incredibly slowly even on computers that far exceeded the system requirements and crashes were very common. The AI failed to research certain very valuable techs, giving the player a huge advantage. Totally improbable events, particularly involving naval landings, happened practically every game, such as Brazil invading Germany in 1941.
Valve in general have a habit of releasing games with Game Breaking Bugs, although they are generally prompt about patching them. However, they also have a habit of releasing patches that cause brand new bugs in addition to fixing old ones (and sometimes not even that; they've "fixed" the spy's backstab register twice so far without actually fixing it). Special mention goes to the 2010 Half-Life 2 update, which ported the entire game and its Episodes over to the newer version of their engine but introduced a host of new problems, at least some of which are present on all or at least most users' systems. The patch was released in May 2010, and to date only one bug (which made the AI crash at a critical point) has been patched.
Also worth mentioning is the OSX and Linux version of Half-Life Source, doubling as a Porting Disaster. The port was released barely playable, suffering crippling problems, such as spawning with no weapons, HEV suit, or even a HUD. To make matters worse, these errors were even present in the Windows version.
Elemental - War of Magic was released in a buggy state. Given that it's Stardock, this by itself isn't too terribly surprising. What is surprising is that said "buggy state" is horribly, horribly buggy and received more patches (six) in four days than GalCiv2 and Sins of a Solar Empire did the month of their respective releases. And it's still missing content, like competent AI. If Brad Wardell is to believed, this was deliberate — as a substitute for Copy Protection. Reviewers did not wait for the six patches to hit before slamming the game for being unfinished.
Elite 3, a.k.a. Frontier: First Encounters, is a great game, and the fact it's still played after more than 10 years (after being reverse-engineered and spawning advanced graphics clones with the same gameplay) proves this. But Gametek took Executive MeddlingUp to Eleven, went behind Frontier's back and released the closest thing to a complete version they had (or so Frontier's official site says). Ugly bugs spoiled the release as a result. For example, when flying into the atmosphere of a gas giant to scoop up hydrogen fuel (a useful (and oft-used) feature in the previous two games in the series), as soon as the scoop activates, the game crashes spectacularly. Even after the game was patched, it still refused to run in anything that wasn't a pure DOS environment - which prompted the aforementioned hacking of the game by the fans over the years so that they could at the very least run it in Windows.
In Frontier - Elite 2 (at least on the Amiga version), game breaking bugs appeared over time (150 hours or so). It, therefore, most irritated players who had put the most into the (otherwise excellent) game. It basically became impossible to access the bulletin board to take missions and other features became disabled. The fact that Game Tek released several improved versions cemented its position as an Obvious Beta for those who played it for the requisite length of time.
Might and Magic VII was nowhere near as bad as IX, but it still has an assortment of problems - overpowered and underpowered classes, extreme laziness in the sprites (they didn't even bother with palette-swaps and just tinted them single colors) and obvious unfinished content.
VIII had less class balance (fewer classes and a simpler class promotion system) and sprite-tinting (more recycled sprites) problems, but also more obvious unfinished content (an entire dungeon placed along the way to one of the main quest areas in which the only interesting item is a quest item that isn't connected to any quest).
Dungeon Lords was released with many missing features, despite them being stated in the game manual and advertised as such. Buttons, sliders and icons were present in the game and didn't do anything. Game patches gradually implemented some of those elements. The developers later released a collector's edition with "new stuff" which were actually, you guessed it, the missing features... which still didn't made the game complete in the end. To add insult to injury, the very last patch doesn't upgrade the original release to the "collector's edition" version.
Star Trek: Legacy. The Xbox 360 version wasn't too bad, although it suffered more bugs than a console game really should. The PC version on the other hand was a total mess, riddled with bugs and controls that obviously hadn't been tested properly, if at all. Also, when players looked through the game directory, they found huge chunks of legacy code from the ancient Star Trek: Armada engine, just proving how little effort had truly gone into the game's development.
The author of Slime Forest Adventure freely admits that the game is a beta. To make up for that, if you buy it now, you get free updates for life.
Pool of Radiance: Return to Myth Drannor was so buggy that some gamers reported it destroying their OS. Even the install shield had a crippling bugs which prevented players from installing the game to a folder other than the default. It was so bad that the developer needed to release not just an update patch, but a completely new installer, meaning the user has to download this to install the game rather than going through the autorun setup from the disc. Most users would not be aware of this fact and will install it from the disc anyway, making it pointless.
After the closure of Black Isle Studios, producers of Fallout, Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment, the studio was 'resurrected' through Spiritual Successor studios made up of much of their old staff, Obsidian Entertainment and Troika Games. Both studios have become renown (or reviled) for their tendency to release pre-finished or incomplete games:
Knights of the Old Republic 2 is Obsidian's crowning example. Due to Executive Meddling by Lucasarts pushing for a Christmas release, much of the last third of the game is missing, including lots of voice files and code left in that details entirely new planets, a more satisfying ending, and a bit more character exploration and personal sidequests. A fan mod was eventually released to try to implement some of it. Compounding this was some massiveExecutive Meddling, as Obsidian was fully willing to release the rest of the game in a free patch... LucasArts said no, presumably because the Xbox version wasn't Live-enabled, but still.
Neverwinter Nights 2 was fairly buggy upon release and suffered from memory leak issues and a lack of polish. Then both expansions introduced Game Breaking Bugs that made the previous campaign literally unplayable: Mask of the Betrayer made a Plot Lock in the original campaign fail to unlock, and Storm of Zehir deleted all of MOTB's voiceovers. And then when several more minor bugs introduced by SOZ were still extant, Hasbro sued Atari over Forgotten Realms license agreement violations and all patches stopped.
Alpha Protocol also has several bugs, including some that include flags not being thrown correctly in response to some of your actions and leaving you with odd results. Trying to sneak into the US embassy in Moscow will make the game think you butchered your way in, and Shaheed will mysteriously come back from the dead in the epilogue if you arrest him.
Temple Of Elemental Evil was riddled with several bugs and was generally unstable as heck. There are also references to some minor cut content in the second town. The bugs come both in game-breaking (like chests glitching out when doing anything with their content) and positive flavors (like using an enlarging spell to equip two 2h weapons which count as 1h due to size, then shrinking back and realizing you didn't drop your weapons and are free to use them or being able to equip both a bow and a sword leading to your character slashing at the thin air with arrow "shooting" out of the sword).
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines was playable from the outset but had many physics flaws and bugs. A number of Troika programmers stayed on after the company went bankrupt and was able to finish an official patch that fixed many of these errors. Fans latched on to this and went on to produce several years' worth of unofficial patches that have fixed most of the game's errors and restored cut content.
Dragon Age: Origins is rough around the edges in hindsight. First of all, the endgame (everything post-Landsmeet) is extremely bugged, failing to recognize who was made ruler of Fereldan and even your character's gender. Also, the Dwarf Noble-only sidequest, "The Prodigal Son", was so bugged that it is literallyUnwinnable without mods. Most of the DLC post-Warden's Keep were notoriously full of bugs and glitches upon initial release, most notable "Return to Ostagar" (which had to be delayed for over a month because it was practically unplayable), "Awakening" (which even those who liked it agreeing it was most likely rushed) and "Witch Hunt". Thankfully, the combination of patches (both Bioware and fanmade) and special mods have removed these issues, or at the very least mitigated them.
To this day (in the Xbox 360 version, at least), "The Prodigal Son" will sometimes pop up in the "Completed Quests" folder with the notation that you failed to provide a noble home for your son...even if your character isn't a Dwarf Noble and has no son.
Dragon Age II had some problems on release, including a way that the game could be made Unwinnable early on by killing a major NPC who is important to one of the late-game mandatory quests. Save file corruption has also been known to happen. Patches have fixed most of these, though even with 1.04 Sebastian and Isabela's character quests for Act III have to be completed at the beginning of the act or the game will crash when you play them (and with Sebastian's you can't have Anders in the party unless you also have Fenris). The game also has an overuse of Cut-and-Paste Environments and has a small variety of enemies. The developers have confirmed that these problems were the result of a rushed development cycle.
Several of EVE Online's expansions have been considered this, although CCP has got better over time, many earlier ones introduced Game Breaking Bugs, lag and desync issues, which then required entire patches dedicated simply to resolving those.
Dark Sun Wake of the Ravager was plagued with such issues as disappearing doors that left the player permanently stuck, NPCs who continued to speak and act after death, inability to complete quests, and best of all: enemies, allies, terrain, and even equipment vanishing permanently for no good reason. An official patch fixed only a small amount of game-breaking problems. Completing this bug-encrusted piece of shit is only possible through extreme abuse of multiple save slots.
Oblivion has the "honor" of Game Breaking Bugs all over, even early on the main quest, even with the a number of official patches, a fan patch, and fan patches for the fan patch (The first fan patch stopped updating, with the 2nd patch working on untouched bugs and additional patches for the downloadable content/expansion packs) applied.
Morrowind, of course, had a number of bugs on release but its expansions landed like a wrecking ball: Tribunal had a number of elite assassins attacking you night after night regardless of level, and having the audacity to even installBloodmoon rendered both the original campaign and the Tribunal expansion unwinnable and broken. A fan patch had largely taken care of this until Bethesda released their own which just created loads of new problems and questionable design decisions (Ice Armor going from the best new light armor to a mediocre medium, among others).
Skyrim carried on the trend; however, most of the Obvious Beta was with the PS3 version rather than the PC, which Bethesda is used to. A couple patches have been released to assess bugs, but plenty of bugs remain. Some of which will intentionally never be fixed because they're funny. While still buggy (with players reporting having to console-command through quests due to broken quests), the game's the least buggy of the Elder Scrolls game next to Morrowind.
Daggerfall takes the cake, however. Even though several games were shipped with design flaws or glitches, Daggerfall was the worst. How bad was it? You could at least complete the main quest in the other games without a bug making the game Unwinnable. Daggerfall was also the game where one of the patches included an official tool entitled FIXSAVE.EXE, which as its name implies, was meant to repair errors in savegame files because they were too common to tell all affected players to restart the game. They also ended up publicizing some cheats, such as a dungeon teleportation spell, because the glitchy collision system in the engine tended to let people slip between the world geometry and into "The Void", where they'd fall forever otherwise, and because of the game's use of randomly generated dungeons could often result in dungeons without exits.
The PC release of Rampage: World Edition was a literal Obvious Beta. IF you were able to get it to run at all, it had the words "Beta Release" in all four corners of the screen.
Lords of Magic remained beta for a very long time after release. The developers admitted they rushed it out to cash in on holiday sales.
While League of Legends went live without many hitches, Yorick the Gravedigger could be considered this. When he was released, he was considered "Worthless" because his abilities were, well, practically a beta. It also didn't help that his ult was supposedly changed from development to release and was full of bugs.
On the Glider PRO CD, the final star in "Grand Prix" appears in a room whose title promises one more. A half-built, unplayable sequence of rooms lies beyond. The house was supposedly completed, but no patch was ever released.
The Oregon Trail 5th Edition, especially version 1.0, is riddled with glitches and compatibility issues; it requires a patch to work at all on XP (otherwise it crashes on launch), and is not compatible with Vista. Stick with II or the 25th Anniversary Edition.
The sequel to Sword of the Stars, Lords of Winter, was released as a literal beta in November 2011 due to an erroneous upload of a pre-release candidate to the Steam servers instead of the intended release candidate. It was successfully replaced by the release candidate 24 hours later, at which point the delighted audience discovered that the actual release candidate wasn't much of an improvement and was riddled with several bugs. Kerberos Productions have yet, as of January 2012, declared that they feel the game is at the 'release' stage and bugfixes keep coming out on a near-weekly basis.
Might and Magic: Heroes VI is this despite testing including open beta. At the moment of this entry developer is working on a patch that should fix some issues that were known since then; fan created bug list contains over 120 issues and quite a bit of them almost game breaking.
Postal III. While the Postal series isn't known for its high production values, the game's initial release suffers from frequent crashing on some systems, the AI failing, broken Steam achievements, sound issues, among other things. Additionally the style was quite a departure from what RWS had in mind before Akella took over production, making it much more cartoonish. Free-roam mode was cut and later put out in a patch and there is no multiplayer, despite its development being credited, as it was canned at some point. Also, the game was quite underpromoted and wasn't out on Steam until two months after its official release date, instead having to be purchased directly from RWS' website or other minor retailers. Reception (fan and critical) is mixed to negative, with one of RWS' developers saying "the whole thing was rather tragic".
Magicka had numerous game-breaking or crashing bugs on release; multiplayer was especially buggy, and laggy because it used ridiculous amounts of bandwidth (far more than an average FPS game). After many of these bugs were fixed, the developers added the "Bug Staff" and "Crash To Desktop" spell to the game.
Merit Software's Command Adventures: Starship can become unplayable about halfway through. When you attempt to send a team to a planet, the default action sound will 'bleep' three times and you're kicked back into space. At times, you'll find crew members vanishing and eventually it gets so bad you can't even get into the shop and other sections of the Starbases. Merit intended Starship to be the first in a series of Command Adventures games but it ended up being a Franchise Killer instead.
o3 Games gave too much control over The Outforce to their publisher, who committed Executive Meddling upon it, pushing it to be released with only the Terran campaign finished. Even worse, the units for the Terran, Crion and Gobin races have identical capabilities, even some of the unit names are the same across all three. Nonetheless, the AI is killer, it may have been the first RTS to support unlimited group sizes and the graphics are beautiful. Multiplayer also works and there are no game breaking bugs. It just needed more time in the oven to bake in more content and de-clone the three races.
LEGO Island 2 was beyond rushed in the middle of its development. Almost 50% of what was intended was cut entirely (for instance, there was going to be a cave area with many more sub-games). Not to mention, the fifty percent we did get didn't even look half-complete; the physics were basic, the graphics were very texture-filled, the instructions would barely give you a hint on what to do, there was no replayability, the load times were inexcusably long (sometimes going as long as two minutes), and it was filled with various glitches, not uncommonly game breaking. The PSX version was based off this one, so it too was incomplete in the same way. The GBA and GBC versions weren't, though, although opinions still tend to vary on them.
The PC version of LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 is so full of game crashing glitches, it's unplayable.
The PC version of Dead Island at launch turned out to be an earlier developer build instead of the final retail build, and the Xbox 360 developer build at that. It even came with a built-in noclip button (which can crash the game if used).
Freeware MetroidvaniaLegend Garden suffers from this. It's Unwinnable by Mistake, over half the bosses are hideously broken, things have a tendency to get stuck in walls, and some items are unobtainable.
The Sims 3 seems to be suffering badly from this. How badly? This badly. And what makes it frustrating isn't just that most of the glitches come from expansion packs, but also by the patches themselves, because they're designed to work with the upcoming expansion packs, which messes up your game in its own right (e.g. telescopes not working and sims being unable to marry) and if you do buy the new expansion, of course it brings in its own set of glitches, prolonging the cycle. One of the more glaring release-day bugs? If you gave your sim a unique hair colour, the game would glitch them bald.
The Metroid fan game Metroid; Beginings (sic), made with Adobe Flash in 2005 and discovered by Retsupurae in 2013, qualifies on a spectacular level. The collision detection is so buggy that it's not uncommon to fall through the floor for no apparent reason, and it's possible early on to get stuck in a door — the twist being that opening the door doesn't fix it. It also has No Ending, in that the author simply did not program one into the game. Lest you think we're kidding, the player who recorded the footage confirmed this using a Flash decompiler.
Just about anything off the website for YoYo Games, creators of Game Maker. Game Maker, like a fanfiction website, allows anyone to try their hand at game making and upload them without any screening, exposing the users to the full brunt of Sturgeon's Law. Imagine hundreds upon hundreds of "games" that resemble a grade schooler's first attempt at a video game, only released to the actual public rather than scrapped in a moment of self-awareness. Calling them "Obvious Pre-Alphas" is an much-undeserved compliment. MS Paint graphics, non-present and/or completely inappropriate sound effects, low-resolution sprites that make the Commodore 64 look futuristic, blatant disregard for the most basic of design rules (eg. zero-pixel walls), physics that go beyond broken to point of being outright shattered, barely legible English (if not outright illegible), music being either nonexistent or stolen, content vital to the game's very functions completely missing, games that are either Unwinnable or incomplete to the point where there is no ending, games that... well, let's just say it's better to see for yourself.
Furcadia is an inversion: It's a complete, working game, with no more Bugges than most finished games—but has been in Alpha stage for nearly 17 years.
The Extreme Paintbrawl series of video games. Your team had no programmed AI routines, so they would either run straight into a wall at the beginning of a match or randomly flail around like they were having epileptic seizures. You could shoot paint at the sky, and it wouldn't disappear. The "practice mode" was just an empty arena. And so on.
Parodied by DLC Quest, which contains a zone named "Allan Please Add Zone Name". It's a completely empty rectangle, save for one sign in the middle which reads "ALLAN PLEASE ADD WORLD."
As memorably revealed here, Gettysburg: Armored Warfare lacks certain features, like reliably being able to run, not exploding your entire army, spawning the sky dome more than half the time, etc.
Star Trek Online launched as this basically. Almost identical to the Fallout: New Vegas example above, the team at Cryptic bought the rights after Perpetual had dicked about for half a decade not making the game. With the license on a tight deadline for release, they got the game out in about a year and had crappy content, crappy graphics and buggy as hell. The plus side is, Cryptic has spent the last 4 years of the game's life burying this content (and in the last 2 seasons, straight up replacing the story missions from launch with remastered version) and making actual quality content. The dev team has been on the record that they will eventually get around to replacing ALL of the old story missions with properly done versions (with a few unwanted missions torn out entirely).
PlanetSide 2 launched out of beta with beautiful grapichs paired with massive performance issues due to a near total lack of optimization, and what little optimization it had only applied to a very specific set of hardware (Intel I5 or I7 CPU, Nvidia GPU) that caused players on cheap $500 Intel rigs to have twice the framerate of players on monstrous $2000 AMD setups. It launched with only two continent and a territory control system that made large direct fights very rare; players instead simply captured bases around the defenders and ignored them entirely. After release, the Operation Make Faster Game (OMFG) update effectively doubled everyone's framerate and made the game playable on AMD hardware, along with loads of incremental content updates (such as a new map and a sweet new dune buggy)
Second Life became a horribly buggy mess when Linden Labs forced Viewer 2, the successor to Viewer 1, onto its users. Viewer 2 had terrible UI design that couldn't be customized, overall performance took a nosedive, and new users couldn't choose a last name when signing up for a Second Life account. The redesigned viewer was clearly not ready to be launched and it took Linden Labs years to remedy most of the problems after the user base loudly complained about the changes that were pushed onto them without notice.
In the PC version of Tomb Raider (2013), the button prompts for QTEs will randomly cease to appear, turning the game into a Luck-Based Mission. Not only that, but there's a late game bug when you return to the ruins of the Endurance that literally makes the game Unwinnable.
The Doom IIWADNewDoom Community Project II spent three years in development, only to be released in a terribly buggy state. How bad are we talking? Among other things, you can't finish the second level without cheating (with a code or an exploit) because you otherwise get locked in a required room with no way out. The NewDoom community died a few months later, leaving an official fixed version in limbo.
While quest- or combat-related bugs were relatively few, Warhammer Online shipped without several major features: each racial pairing set of zones were supposed to have their own capitol cities, but only the Order/Chaos (human) ones were ready to actually be entered (and the other cities were never completed, with ALL characters eventually starting in the human zones); two of the classes had been going through constant rewrites and changes and weren't released (finally put out as the Dwarf Slayer and the Ork Choppa) until several patches in; instanced PVP matches were quite badly implemented and lead to interminable queuing. On top of all that, the standard "load lag" of large numbers of player characters coming on screen at once ended up being either individual floating body-parts or totally invisible. The given statements stated that "due to late-developmental issues, the team was simply unable to compensate for all issues before release," which many fans took to mean "The big-wigs at EA that bought Mythic are sticking their noses in everything and forcing us to release early," especially in retrospect for some of their decisions with other games. There was also a severe issue involving server stability above certain (incredibly low) population levels, despite being released with several dozen servers to log into that caused player population to always be distressingly small in any one area outside a major city.
Star Wars Trilogy has a couple of aspects in the game software that imply it was rushed out the door. For instance, the "Bounty Hunter" mode features an animated display of Boba Fett pointing to a random selection, but the result is always "Video Mode".
Interplay's Star Trek Pinball was a rushed cash grab, filled with numerous bugs, a wildly unrealistic and inconsistent physics engine, and frequent game crashes. To add insult to injury, a note in the package mentions that the advertised network multiplayer feature was not completed in time for the game's release.
Stern Pinball's Batman had several truncated modes which indicate the game was unfinished before it shipped. The most prominent example is "Final Challenge", the game's Wizard Mode... which was completely absent until a 2010 software update added one.
Only one revision of the software was released for Bram Stoker's Dracula, because Bill Pfutzenreuter, the game's programmer, left Williams after the game's release.
Jersey Jack Pinball's The Wizard of Oz has some clearly incomplete software features, most notably some missing bonuses and the absent Wizard Modes. Various software updates have addressed the issues, however.
Far Cry: Vengeance for the Wii was a mess of a game with laggy framerates, cut content, and sloppily-done visuals, obviously rushed out just to put a Far Cry game on the Wii for the sake of it.
The in-game Loading Screen hints in Time Shift frequently refer to features that don't actually exist and the rewind function spends much of the game disabled because the developers didn't feel like resolving the minor issues that it could present. For example, if a character is scripted to open a door, then the player could have used the rewind function to be either inside the room before the door opened, or outside of the room after it closed.
Haze at first was promoted as having a new task-based AI system which was licensed by Free Radical Design, then found not to work at all on the hardware they were designing for. The game slipped for over a year, with early trailers having nothing to do with the final plotline. The end result had obvious missing functions [the two rifles were clearly designed with underbarrel mounts], poor visuals, stodgy AI, ridiculously repeated samples and a disjointed, pretentious plotline. Since FRD had promoted all their other projects as using the distinctly unimpressive Haze engine, they duly lost all their custom and collapsed shortly afterwards.
The Last Remnant for the Xbox 360 is plagued by massive slowdown during battles which, coupled with the amount of grinding that you have to do and Loads and Loads of Loading, makes the game drag to an infuriating extent. The PC version successfully fixed all of these problems and even included a Turbo Mode to make battles go faster. You'd think that they would be working on a patch to fix the graphical problems in the Xbox 360 version, but seems to have been abandoned entirely. The Playstation 3 version that was supposed to come out simultaneously with the 360 version has vanished entirely into the ether and Square refuses to speak of it.
The King of Fighters XII has been accused of being an obvious beta. The playable character roster had been cut nearly in half between XI and XII (a few players have browsed through the index files of the Xbox 360 version and discovered files for several unused characters in the game such as Yuri and Takuma Sakazaki, fan-favorite Mai Shiranui, and even long-unused Fatal FurySub Boss Hwa Jai), the main arcade mode is little more than a glorified time trial with only five stages and no proper end boss (though given SNK's reputation for making extremely punishing bosses, this change would be a good thing), and until a version 1.02 patch fixed it, the netcode for online play was extremely unreliable, leaving some players stuck on the loading screen for minutes before even being able to select a character.
The developers were surprisingly up-front about this in later interviews. Executive Meddling led to them having only 9 months to develop the game instead of the usual (for that series) 12 months.
The 2010 reboot of Medal of Honor is a glitchfest riddled with game breaking bugs. Electronic Arts doesn't usually rush out games like this. What were they thinking? One level has a huge glitch that causes an entire section of the level to go missing, leaving only the bottomless void.
If Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One was ever tested, it wasn't done very thoroughly; the game's makers and testers never picked up on the fact that the invisibility cloak (when it actually works) breaks most levels wide open, causing event triggers to fail, enemies to simply stand stock still and, hilariously, putting it on while fighting the final boss causes you to win the entire game almost instantly.
Kung Fu Panda 2 for the PS3. While the Xbox 360 version is sub-par in its own right, the PS3 version looks like a meeting pitch prototype that was shown to a publisher in order to get further development funds but got shoved out the door as a finished product instead.
The original Wii version of Tales of Graces was recalled in 2010 due to the number of game-breaking bugs and glitches. It went alright on its first playthrough, but on repeat playthroughs the game just imploded on itself. Sometimes the music would glitch during fights, too.
The Silent Hill HD Collection was made with incomplete versions of the games' source codes—because Konami had lost the complete codes—with predictable results. However, Konami is patching the PS3 version to correct the problems (sadly not the X360 version though), and the problems have been mitigated somewhat.
Soul Calibur V was released with only 1/4 of its story mode completed due to the development team running out of time.
Blacksite: Area 51 was released in an obviously unfinished state, to the point that project lead Harvey Smith admitted it went straight from alpha to gold. Among other things, visual glitches and oddities run rampant (intel and ammo frequently floats in midair, there's no animation for NPCs entering vehicles, so your teammates entering a Humvee is represented by them standing next to the vehicle and reappearing inside of it), the squad control and morale mechanics barely work, the game is short on content (short campaign, only 6 guns and a bare-bones multiplayer mode) and the final boss had no AI before patch, he simply stood still after the end of his short scripted behavior.
The PS3 port of The Orange Box was handled by EA Games, with disastrous results. Team Fortress 2 got hit with this the hardest, it's near unplayable on the PS3.
The Wii port of Sam & Max: Season 1 suffers from countless problems: The cursor getting permanently stuck in the lower-right corner of the screen, horrible texture compression (leaving several visual or text-based gags incomprehensible), random crashing, long loading times, the list goes on. Whatever you do, never, EVER buy the Wii port.
Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD fell victim to Summer of Arcade. Summer of Arcade is a special event that Microsoft holds for Xbox Live Arcade every year. It's held because Microsoft wants to get some timed exclusives (or permanentexclusives) to the Xbox 360. Tony Hawk HD was one of them. As a result, one of the levels (Downhill Jam) is so glitchy it's borderline unplayable, the physics aren't polished, some of the tricks are glitched, and there's a huge glitch where you can't use tricks that you buy.
Mercenaries 2: World In Flames was another EA victim, with not only glitches with terrain that would occasionally cause vehicles to act as if they'd run into solid walls while going across level surfaces, objects to spawn on top of buildings that had previously been destroyed so that they were just suspended in midair, and most glaringly, in-game tips to use Vehicle Repair Crates and Vehicle Ammo Crates to repair and reload your vehicles despite neither of these items actually being present in the game. These issues were especially problematic in light of the game's release having already been delayed for over a year by the time it came out.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 - Episode 1 was essentially an experiment, as its glitchy physics engine can attest to. Sega was depending on its reception to determine what should be improved in Episode 2, or whether there should even be one. It being downloadable and not actually a physical release gave them less to lose.
Batman: Arkham Origins generally got good reviews but became rather famous for being A LOT more buggy than the other Batman Arkham Series titles. A couple of them were Game Breaking Bugs, preventing you from progressing through a story-relevant location and leaving you stuck. Others included enemies who were obviously incapacitated but still trying to hit you, getting stuck in a landing pose with your cape expanded, and sometimes just unrefined combat controls. The game was outsourced to WB Games Montreal with all the game programming Rocksteady made for the other games, leading to a lot of Only The Creator Does It Right. Although the management of WB Games did apologize for how glitchy it turned out, and released patches for all of the major issues..
The console and PC versions of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time have terrible issues with tracking NPCs data. If you happen to trigger certain events (such as a door unlocking after defeating all mobs, or just mob spawning), there's a chance that Farah or a mook will be stuck behind a gate that just closed up, forcing you to either suicide or reload your save.
Speaking of save points, never EVERsave near a death trap. Farah's stupidity will ensure you won't be able to continue from there.
Darksiders II. The controls randomly stop working completely (at least in the PC version) whenever you exit the Chronicle and the game randomly crashes after certain cutscenes, most infamously the ones before and after the Lilith boss fight. In fact, that one crash can literally make the game Unwinnable since there is no solution to it other than completely starting the game over. And due to THQ going under, it is highly unlikely any of this will ever be fixed.
Grand Theft Auto Online is considered to be this by a rather large portion of those who have played it. Over a year after its initial release, it's still filled with Game Breaking Bugs and exploits that have yet to be patched, grossly-overpowered vehicles and weapons that are still unbalanced, and the use of mods that can easily give one God Mode with no repercussions whatsoever still runs rampant. Most suspect this constant rebalancing and bug fixing is the #1 reason why heists, the most anticipated feature of Online, are still MIA after so long.
The Xbox version of Supreme Commander would grind to a halt whenever battles got at all large despite having drastically reduced the graphics quality. Throw in a completely unintuitive control scheme and you have a clearly unfinished product.
ZombiU was clearly rushed to meet the Wii U's launch. It was absolutely chock full of game-breaking bugs, a startling number of which forced you to restart the entire game from scratch. They weren't patched until about half a year later.
Assassin's Creed: Unity suffered horrendous bugs that, among other things, caused facial textures to disappear (only leaving eyeballs and teeth behind). It was so bad that Ubisoft completely nixed their Season Pass for the game, offered up paid Downloadable Content for free, and anyone who did buy a Season Pass was given a free Ubisoft game.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been plagued with a string of matchmaking issues from the day it launched (never connecting to other players, games being unevenly divided, etc.). 343 Industries has tried to patch the game but to no real avail (in some cases with players reporting a drop in matchmaking consistency). Add to that the already protracted installation times and a not-insignificant number of players turned to demanding refunds. Most infuriating is that the matchmaking is merely a port of the four existing games' matchmaking system, and was one of only three things that were "changed" about the games for the release of MCC (the other two being the audio/visual overlay for Halo 2 and the addition of 5 completely remade maps for "Halo 2 Anniversary" multiplayer). Meaning that this is a combination of Obvious Beta and Porting Disaster as they basically ported the four multiplayer systems from Halo PC, Halo 2 Vista, Halo 3 and Halo 4 and it still remains broken.
Sonic The Hedgehog 1 Genesis for the Game Boy Advance, the port of the first game, was a failure of epic nature despite the GBA having over twice the processing power of the Sega Genesis. It was rushed to come out on Sonic's 15th Anniversary. The developers did a quick and dirty port job, inserting the Sonic 1 map data into the Sonic Advance engine. The problem was that the engine was designed to handle data created around the GBA's 240x160 screen resolution, while Sega Genesis games use a higher resolution, so the Sonic 1 data overloaded the engine, making it take up too much memory.
Sonic Chronicles was released in the late beta phase. It's not unplayable by any means, and most of the fans enjoyed it, but it had an abnormal amount of cut-content (including pretty much the entire soundtrack, which was just fan remixes downloaded from the internet in Midi format). What evidently happened was that BioWare was acquired by EA and decided to work on Dragon Age, since they had already fulfilled their contract to Sega. This isn't so much of a case of "poorly-released game" as it is "Game could have been much better than it actually was."
Mortal Kombat Advance in theory was to give a bone to MK fans wanting to play UMK 3 on the go with their Game Boy Advance back in 2002. Midway, however, handed the license to an outside third-party away from Ed Boon and his team and gave them four months to turn it out for a quick profit. Unsurprisingly, the game came rife with glitches, incomplete AI (either motionless or cheating), and unresponsive controls. The game proved to be a bit profitable for Midway, but this kind of practice foretold the future bankruptcy of the company.
The original Pokémon games, especially the original Red and Green, released only in Japan (after five years of development!), were notorious for this. The updated Blue engine, despite fixing some of the more painful bugs, was still a mess, with the infamous Mew glitch, Glitch City, the old man exploit, as well as MissingNo, due to being a beta and because of some of the shortcuts taken to fit the game on the cartridge. Even the Updated Re-release Yellow didn't fix much. By Generation II, which uses an upgraded engine, most of the bugs were fixed, but exploits involving the PC boxes that had a similar effect to the Mew glitch (i.e. manipulating cloning and PC boxes to get any Pokémon) remained. Note that this isn't always a bad thing — the games were indeed playable (and many glitches you had to actually go out of your way to exploit) but it was one of those rare instances where they released a late beta and it actually worked.
While not nearly as bugged as the Generation I games, Gold/Silver/Crystal have their fair share of glitches as well, such as the Celebi egg glitch and the Johto guard glitch. Furthermore, even without the Johto guard glitch (which uses the product of another glitch to bypass the protection against bringing Generation II exclusive moves or Pokémon into the time capsule), the methods used to prevent Generation II exclusives from being sent to Generation I proved incomplete, which is likely why all future intergenerational Pokémon transfer methods have been one-way going from the older generation to the newer one.* If a Pokémon evolves at a level at which it would normally learn a move in its evolved form, it tries to learn that move immediately upon evolution. If one were to trade a level 16 or 34 Graveler, level 13 Haunter, level 34 or 43 Machoke, or level 32 Kadabra from a Generation I game to a Generation II game, it would evolve and then try to learn Magnitude, Rollout, Mean Look, Vital Throw, Cross Chop, and Future Sight, respectively. The newly evolved Golem/Gengar/Machamp/Alakazam could then be traded back to the Generation I game, whereupon its new move would become a glitch move. Many glitch moves crash the game when used, though, and even those that don't are rarely useful. Also, where are you supposed to get a Graveler or Haunter with a level in the teens?
Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny for PSP was obviously rushed out for a Summer Holiday release. It is supposed to be a port of Soul Calibur IV with extra characters and modes...but to get it out in time, there is no story mode or proper arcade mode. The options mode doesn't let you adjust the difficulty or number of rounds, the create-a-character mode is very lacking, and there is no money system or internet play. The game's makers lampshade this by saying that it's a 'simpler Soul Calibur game for novice players'. Tekken: Dark Resurrection, which came out several years before, is not lacking in any of the modes its home version offers, and thus, Broken Destiny could have been much better.
The original has a few lines left in Japanese. Considering how many lines there are, it's possible that the beta testers couldn't find them all... except that one of the lines has to be seen in order to get FIVE of the six Multiple Endings. Also, one of the skill descriptions is Blatant Lies, being the exact opposite of what the skill really does.
The DLC for the North American version of Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days had so many bugs and glitches that the developers actually had to pull them from PSN so they could work on fixing them. When first released, they had no voice, but random noises played whenever the characters would say something during battle, such as menu scrolling and selecting sounds, and their attacks were completely messed up in area and damage (to the point that Sapphire's Ultimate move did reverse damage, thus healing enemies). The DLC was later put on back on sale with the attack glitches fixed, but the random noises still play up when they are fighting.
Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified for the Play Station Vita. The graphics aren't up to PS Vita standards. The enemy AI is abysmal. The single-player campaign can be finished in less than an hour. Multiplayer is very hard to get working properly, and the maps are small. Oh, and Nazi Zombies is conspicuously absent.
Action 52 was, at its most generous, an obvious alpha. In fact, it was pure incompetence. For example, while any competent NES game would switch levels by swapping out the bank that holds the level data, Cheetahmen (and other Action 52 games with more than one level) accomplished it by swapping out the entire PRG ROM. The net result is that every level is in fact a different game, which is why bugs can occur in some levels but not in others, why each Cheetahman's level set has different sound effects, animations, etc., and why the end result cost $200. Some of the different levels in games have the same level number.
The NES version of Strider looks like a late-beta, due to things like uneven collisions, odd borders for platforms and walls, enemies and NPCs that appear and disappear at weird times or don't disappear when they should, and a poor translation. The third-to-last boss does not disappear or change in any way after his defeat, and the final boss simply does not appear in his room for several seconds. When he does, he just pops into the middle of the room as if by a glitch. The first Data Disk you analyze unlocks Australia as a stage, even though the actual clue in the disk refers to the location of the Attack Boots you get at China. Not only that, there's no reason to go Australia until very late in the game (it's the final area you need to explore before visiting the Red Dragon). Further credence to this theory is the fact that the Japanese version was canceled before the release of the arcade version, even though a tie-in manga adaptation was already published for it.
The port of Battletoads in Battlemaniacs for the Sega Master System, which only saw release in Brazil but was intended to be released in Europe as well. The most obvious signs of the unfinished port are the missing, misplaced and incomplete cutscenes and music.
Maka Maka: An obscure Japanese-exclusive RPG had several obviously unfinished parts and many bugs, some of which are game breaking. In fact, word has it that the game was released in its prototype form due to time constraints.
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals: The Dual Blade Shrine is garbled in the North American version, making navigation through the dungeon difficult. There are also places where dungeon names are untranslated, being in gibberish with the Japanese font removed, and enemies bear Engrish names such as "Hidora" and "Gorem".
Star Ocean - The original SFC version came with several crashing bugs, an item creation system whose success rate in some circumstances was so low it almost wasn't worth trying, items that were obviously meant to exist (and referenced in places) but couldn't be found, and a final dungeon that (story-wise) came out of nowhere on a planet you couldn't explore. The enhanced remake for the PSP corrected most of these issues.
Super Double Dragon, which was Christmas Rushed in North America by its publisher Tradewest. It's impossible to catch your own boomerangs, knives do far too much damage, you can't switch weapons once you pick one up... The Japanese version, Return of Double Dragon, which came out a few months later, is more complete than the American version (it even has an additional level, albeit a rather glitchy unfinished one), but is obviously far from finished (the game still lacks any sort of plot or even a proper ending).
Annet Futatabi (Annet Again) - A somewhat obscure Japanese Sega Mega CD sequel to the Genesis semi-classic El Viento that was released in a very unfinished state. The protagonist's flashy spells are all unfinished, usually resulting in just a single animation frame blinking in and out. Basic combat controls work correctly, but enemies swarm you any time you get knocked down, effectively making getting up an impossibility. Enemies and even bosses will occasionally wander off screen and not return for anywhere between 1-5 minutes... or never, making the game randomly unwinnable. It is little surprise that the game was never released outside Japan.
While not buggy, this game was released in a very unfinished state. Velociraptors, for instance, were the scariest and deadliest dinosaurs in the film, but here became slow, lumbering idiots who basically farted about the levels waiting to get shot, and the mighty T-Rex can be thwarted as easily as chucking a single grenade at her and strolling by as she's stunned. Two things support the theory that it was a rushed project: the first being that the actual beta ROM is almost identical to the finished product, and the second is that developer Blue Sky software later released a loose sequel Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition which ratcheted up the action and made all the dinosaurs significantly more dangerous enemies (for instance, Velociraptor encounters are now downright terrifying because of their aggressiveness, and the T-Rex still only appears from the shoulders up, but now she chases you). While the original was still an okay game, it's pretty obvious that Rampage Edition was the version Blue Sky meant to make the first time.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 - The initial release, while nowhere near as bad as other examples on this page, did have a load of glitches (such as getting stuck in the walls in Carnival Night Zone), but most of these were fixed when locked onto Sonic & Knuckles.
The game, despite its excellent regard in the community, is very clearly rushed (and when the game was explicitly divided into two parts so it could meet the deadline, that should be obvious). Particularly pairing Sonic and Tails together then using a second controller to have Tails lift Sonic while he's looking up can cause an almost innumerable amount of glitches and odd effects (this could easily have been solved by having the screen re-center when Tails is lifting Sonic, but instead it stays in the same state as when Sonic is looking up, which can cause collision errors with things that are just outside the screen).
A number of other glitches, however, are only possible in the locked-on game—namely, those revolving around the Hyper Sonic transformation unlocked after upgrading all seven Chaos Emeralds to Super Emeralds. Hyper Sonic moves insanely fast and can do a double jump similar to that of the Lightning Shield, which put together can cause enough speed to actually briefly wind up off-screen—resulting in the same collision errors as mentioned above with Tails, especially if the offscreen barrier is to the left rather than the right. (Though it's still possible to phase past some barriers on the right side.) Generally this means that it's usually possible for Sonic to reach parts of levels that were only meant to be accessed with Knuckles; the opposite is sometimes true, but usually more convoluted. On one particular level, however, an oversight made it possible to reach Sonic's boss arena with Knuckles without any glitching at all if you're a skilled enough gamer.
Mega Man X6 has shades of this, what with its rushed localization, resulting in incredibly sloppy translation and leaving the original Japanese voices in the cutscenes, the lazy level design, and a sound test which is missing several tracks. This shouldn't come as a surprise when you realize that not only was the game assembled in less than a year, it was never supposed to be made to begin with.
Space Station Silicon Valley famously shipped with no collision detection enabled on one of the souvenir objects, making it impossible to pick up.
The North American release of Suikoden II has several places where dialogue simply wasn't translated at all. And because Konami also removed the Japanese font, the result is characters who speak indecipherable gibberish (see the second screenshot.)
The German version also has untranslated dialogues, like Lorelei, Gordon and almost the entire Rokkaku Village speaking in french.
The N64 port of Indiana Jones And The Infernal Machine was so full of Game Breaking Bugs that it was only released as a Blockbuster rental (or a direct purchase from LucasArts). One of the most memorable glitches had to be the fact that in one level, when you tried to drop into a cave since access seemed impossible, when Indy fell in the water and you tried to resurface, he just swam through the air. Effective for getting in the cave, but he just drowned.
Star Ocean: The Second Story has a game crasher that would "randomly" occur after completing a battle, the overworld/dungeon screen would fail to load, leaving just a black screen and no music, forcing a reset. The game crashes if you push any button while the screen is black. It's not black for long, but if you happen to do it by accident, especially in the Cave of Trials, it'll be a hard moment. Furthermore, when leveling up, Claude sometimes says "Crawd has advanced forward!", with Crawd being his Japanese name, an indicator the voicework was done before the script was translated, and Lena's voice clip for the Tractor Beam spell remains in Japanese.
Superman 64 has insane glitches, horrible controls, awkward animations, a very short draw distance, largely nondescript textures, a telling lack of content (well, unless overuse of Pass Through the Rings counts as content), two years in development and not much to show for it... it's basically unrefined in nearly every aspect. Where it gets REALLY interesting is the actual beta release was BETTER than the finished product... apparently due to Executive Meddling, the company was forced to change a lot, as they began to run out of time...
WWF Smackdown! for the PS1 is clearly an Obvious Beta of WWF Smackdown!2: Know Your Role. They were both made in the same year and built on the same engine, with many things being left over from the first game in the second. The oddness about the first game is as follows:
The menu descriptions are written in sloppy English, including a Create A PPV mode called 'Match Making'.
The season mode is limited: hardly any backstage story, no feuds, the ability to skip matches, and the ability to be eligible for pretty much any title at the same time with little reason.
The create a character mode is limited with the only parts you can select being head, upper body and lower body. In the sequel, the same parts return as 'standard' parts, individual parts now are under 'advanced'.
Instead of unlocking characters, you unlock their parts.
The original copies of Spyro: Year of the Dragon were very glitchy due to being rushed for release before the Year of the Dragon ended. However, the Greatest Hits and Platinum releases fixed these problems and this game is regarded by many as one of the best games released on the PlayStation.
In the American version of Arc The Lad II, completing the pyramid dungeon takes the player back to the nearby town, where all character sprites, including that representing the player's party, are invisible, with only their shadows showing. Exiting the town will cause an error message to pop up, but the game continues normally afterward.
The second disc of Xenogears feels this way, given the altered method of storytelling and lack of access to the overworld until late in the disc.
In a subversion, the Dual Analog Controller has quite the feature set over the later released Dual Shock (which may even make it better than the Dual Shock). However, it was probably a rushed release to compete with the Nintendo64 and its Rumble Pack since later hardware doesn't know what to do with it.
Formula 1 '98 on the PlayStation was developed in 6 months by a new developer, Visual Science, after Bizarre Creations (and the intended replacement, Reflections) opted not to work on the sequel to the very popular Formula 1 '97. Whilst the Arcade mode is somewhat polished and playable, Grand Prix mode (which most people would have been buying the game to play) was an unfinished, buggy mess. Amongst the many problems were cars turning into what resembled Atari 2600-style Pole Position cars when too many of them were on screen, a motion captured pit crew which did nothing but crouch beside the car for a few seconds, very poor handling, almost non-existant crash physics (You would simply stop on the spot with the other car getting a bump-boost), distorted commentary and a game-breaking bug in which you would be disqualified after making a pit-stop if you chose to run with the flags on. Amazingly, the same developer were recruited by EA to make the console versions of their F1 series and were able to prove that with a little more time ('98 had been rushed out to coincide with the final race that season) they could make a decent racing game.
Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was released in an infamously unfinished state and garnered many comments from reviewers along the lines of "it might be good when it's finished". Problems included the inability to dual-wield weapons despite Lara's twin holsters, the sea monster with an un-textured belly, Lara's ability to beat a timed door puzzle without the allegedly necessary jumping upgrade and Lara's clothes miraculously changing themselves.
While far more solid than Angel (outside the PS2 version), Tomb Raider: Underworld is also quite buggy, with various rough edges and some Gamebreaking Bugs.
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly. You can swim in the air if you get through a certain gap in the net in a pond, allowing you to swim to later levels and do the boss battle early. If you're directly above or below something but actually far away from it, it sounds close. Spyro sometimes freezes and slides around like he's ice-skating. Visual effects go wrong a lot. Sometimes you arrive in a level and have to wait for it to appear. NPCs twitch and bounce like spastic jello molds for no good reason. Sometimes the dang thing just freezes. When you press "Look", occasionally Spyro would headbutt instead of looking. There are copious spelling errors. The gateway to the second world sometimes doesn't work.
A Hero's Tail on PS2 was glitchy and the camera sucked, but it wasn't as completely disgraceful as Enter the Dragonfly.
Nippon Ichi also ran into this problem with the US version of Ar tonelico 2, which has a Game-Breaking Bug around the endgame, a badly translated fourth Cosmosphere, and even spots where there's still kanji floating around.
Grandia III is a case of this. The whole bit about airplanes and flying that the game makes a big deal about early on in the story is almost completely abandoned once you actually get a plane, the second disc is very rushed, and one of the main villains is Put on a Bus, never to be seen again.
Vexx is complete from a gameplay perspective, and everything works. But the story is rather skeletal (with tons of hints that it was supposed to be much grander), a number of power-ups/game aspects pop up all of once and are never referenced again, and certain things in the main game hint at a multiplayer mode that simply never happened.
The Dreamcast port of Slave Zero, which was one of the few games released in the first year of the system. All of the ingame music is removed with only the intro and ending themes remaining, the menus in languages other than English are glitched and not fully translated, the framerate is far lower than the PC version and dips inexplicably during the cutscenes and the game is filled with all manner of bizarre bugs, such as falling infinitely off a Bottomless Pit or getting killed by the checkpoint transition and becoming invincible as a result. It's still playable enough to narrowly avoid Porting Disaster status, but superior PC-to-Dreamcast ports showed Infogrames plainly didn't care and rushed the game to get a quick buck.
The Japanese release for Tales of the Abyss was actually an Obvious Beta. There were several items that were Dummied Out (Hi-Ougis and cut-ins that weren't accessible in-game, a potential part in which VAN was playable) as well as several bad bugs (Tear and Jade freezing while casting in overlimit) and plenty of Good Bad Bugs (being able to go anywhere on the world map, perfect because there are parts that can be Lost Forever). What appears to be a Regional Bonus for North America was actually more of a completion, despite several bugs that weren't removed (Luke has an extension to his Mystic Arte if Ion is in the party; Guy and Natalia have two Mystic Artes; Fortunes Arc has an extension; the final boss has a second Mystic Arte; Nebilim had around SEVEN Mystic Artes added; the cameo bosses not only have their cut-ins, but Phila and Rid actually had two).
You also have the cutscenes and world layout. After you complete certain cutscenes and the stages with it, you go back to the world map, giving you some kind of free roaming until the next cutscene continues the game. Although this free roaming zone tends to be really linear, you could go back to previous part of the world map, even though you were not meant to do so. Literally. Doing so means that all the cutscenes and stages get reset, meaning that you would have to play all of them again until you reached the point where you screwed up. The game just treats you as it was your first time reaching each zone. This can be seen after you complete Cavern Catastrophe, where you can find a tunnel that will get you back to N.Sanity Island.
It's hard to tell if Drake Of The 99 Dragons was ever beta tested at all, or if it just sucked. If anyone had played it before release, it would have been obvious that the controls were absolutely miserable and impossible to use.
Red Ninja End Of Honor, or Kurenai Ninja: Kekka no Mai (Dance of Blood) in Japan by Vivendi Universal Games. On paper, it is very much a potential Tenchu-killer, with its wire-based action, greater emphasis on platforming and maneuvers, Seduction mechanic, and artwork done by D.K who later did the art for NieR. On implementation, the game, while not exactly buggy, is completely unrefined. The wire combat, despite having a versatile potential, is often too situational (for a main weapon, being situational is not good). Camera controls were atrocious, and poor camera with platforming is a recipe for disaster. Level designs can only be described as malicious, relying too much on Bottomless Pits and other frustrating design choices. Platforming elements were consequently also harsh, with one level segment entirely relying on it. Items were often of no importance or too much importance, with no happy medium in-between. While the controls work for most times, the "wall run" mechanic relies on dashing, which is accomplished by pressing forward long enough. In a stealth game that rewards precision, that is a very vague input design, causing tremendous frustration. Despite controlling a lethal Ms. Fanservice, the vaunted Seduction mechanic is too randomly-determined to be of any practical use. The use of CG animation in the ending is downright atrocious, and the soundtrack is very much below-par. The most griping point is that, with a few more playtesting and refinement, the game could have been much better, especially with a camera fix.
The Korean release of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures includes the elusive Navi Trackers mode. This mode is an Obvious Beta in the Korean release - nothing, I repeat nothing is translated even though the rest of Four Swords Adventures is. Even after almost six years of waiting (FSA was originally released in 2004 in other regions and in Korea in 2010), Koreans still don't get Navi Trackers in their own language.
Even the game packaging is an Obvious Beta. Although the game's logo is translated on the title screen, the logo on the outer box is not, despite the fact that the rest of the outer box is translated. The inner box (containing the game disc) the game manual, and even the game disc itself (containing the Korean edition) aren't translated - they seem to be surplus from unsold Japanese editions. The inner box even has a CERO rating instead of a Game Rating Board rating. At least the game software itself is in Korean...
The rushed PAL release of Metropolis Street Racer for the Dreamcast was riddled with game-breaking, save-corrupting bugs. Sega quickly recalled it, but the second version was still somewhat buggy. The third PAL release, as well as the NTSC release, were more solid.
Dual Hearts feels this way at times, given the constant fuzziness of one world's graphics and the choppiness of the storybook stage.
Sensible Soccer 2006 was rushed through development so that its release could coincide with the World Cup. The many glitches included teleporting goalkeepers and frequent crashes.
The original, PS2 North American version of ICO. Yorda's AI is almost entirely unresponsive, puzzles were completely different and too easy, and several bonuses were missing. Fortunately, the HD version released for PS3 in NA is based on the more polished Japanese/PAL version.
Even systems often count as an Obvious Beta. Consoles and handhelds, especially the latter, often have an Updated Re-release/Updated model released a couple years later that addresses several bugs/design quirks. This can sometimes lead to the original models seeming a bit odd to play after you got spoiled by the newer ones. The Sega Genesis alone had a lot of models (some of the later ones came with the add-ons built in) and Nintendo's handheld systems generally have at least two models.
The Game Boy Advance had gone through many redesigns, many of which were fixes for obvious flaws in older versions. The original GBA had no form of lighting on the screen, which meant playing without an adequate light source was a huge hassle. The GBA SP fixed the lighting issue by having a frontlight and the handheld got redesigned by being smaller, having a flip screen, and having a rechargeable battery. The GBA SP got another redesign by making the frontlight into a backlight instead so the colors looked more vibrant instead of washed out.
Many cell phone models often fall into this trope, considering how many updated models come around that improve bugs and complaints about the previous models.
Nokia's 3600/3650, for one, was the butt of numerous complaints due to its unique circular keypad layout. Some people actually found the keypad easier to use, though. Nevertheless, an updated variant of the phone, the 3620 (3660 for the Eurasian market) was released with a conventional layout, and a 16-bit, 65K colour screen compared to the 3600's 4096-colour display.
The Sony PSP models, although the PSP GO was often considered a downgrade by fans - and it's also an Obvious Beta for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, affectionately dubbed the PlayStation Phone.
The infamous toilet bowl-shaped Atari Jaguar CD addon, which, due to faulty connections, rarely worked at all.
Spoony (as Dr. Insano), who struggled to get one working to review a game: [N]ot only is it prone to hardware failures, it's prone to about five different ways it can fail. It can fail if [it] isn't perfectly placed on the [Jaguar]. It can fail if the contacts aren't clean. It can fail if the Memory Track cartridge isn't perfectly set, and it can easily fail because the laser itself or the motor mechanism are defective, and they often are, and in [Spoony's] case, it would often fail because the lid is so poorly designed that, when closed, it actually closes too tightly and mashes the CD against the inside of the drive, preventing it from spinning, and that could easily cause additional internal damage[...E]ven when I did get it to work [it] still froze all the time, and I do mean all the damn time!
When the same was attempted by The Angry Video Game Nerd, he couldn't get it working either, and so handed off his Jaguar and CD addon to his repairman Richard DaLuz, creator of the NinToaster and Super Genintari (a NES, Super NES, Genesis, and Atari 2600 in the same box). It seemed like if anyone had the skillset to get such things working, it would be him. Even after he soldered the CD addon to the console, thus eliminating any possibility of a connection problem, it refused to work.
Early adopters of the Xbox 360 found themselves acting as beta testers for the machine's cooling system. Then as beta testers for the various fixes for this. Depending on who you believe and which motherboard variants you include, the failure rate within 3 years was anywhere between 30 and 70%, with many customers requiring multiple replacements. These issues were only finally fixed * although die shrinks and the ability to install disc images—avoiding the extra heat, wear and noise from the 12x DVD drive spinning constantly at full speed—helped, they couldn't solve the fundamentally flawed cooling model of pushing hot air out from a rear panel which the air vents had to share with various AV connectors with the release of the slim redesign 5 years after the original launch.
OCZ's "Agility 3" series of SSD hard drives featured a controller that was prone to failure, which was fixed in the next generation.
AMD's "Bulldozer" series of CP Us, known as the FX series, serve as an example. AMD introduced a new process with the Bulldozer, which involved pairing every two integer cores with a single floating-point core, and using an extended pipeline for instruction execution in order to ramp up the clock speed (a technique known as "hyperpipelining", which Intel had previously experimented with in the Pentium 4 and Pentium D processors). Unfortunately, these new techniques failed to boost the new chip to Intel's performance standards, and in some applications, they actually performed worse than AMD's previous-generation Phenom II chips (mostly due to the large penalty for branch prediction failures introduced by the extended pipeline).note It's worth noting that Intel had the exact same issue with the P4, and that's the issue that allowed AMD to elevate themselves from a second-tier chipmaker to genuine competition for Intel The second generation core developed with this process, "Piledriver", may not have quite caught up to Intel's performance levels, but it did fix many of the mistakes of Bulldozer and represents an objective improvement over AMD's older chips.
The first version of Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet. It had a slow screen refresh rate; the device was too heavy to hold comfortably for any length of time; the web browser was clunky at best; and items on the screen were so small it was easy to accidentally select something you didn't want, to the point that one could struggle to log onto a website with two text fields and a button.
When NVIDIA released the GeForce 8 series and ATi released the Radeon X2000 series, there was some excitement over the new architecture topology. Except in both cases, only the flagship, high-end card and the one below it performed convincingly well against the previous generation. Everything below it couldn't really perform any better than previous generation cards that dropped to a similar price value. It took another spin of the GPU to get it right, which NVIDIA did at least with the well remembered G92 GPU debuted as the GeForce 8800GT and 8800GTS 512MB. ATi's next generation, the HD 3000 series, also pulled off a similar feat.
When the GeForce 400 series was released, the high end card, the GTX 480, ran really hot, loud, and it was actually defective from a manufacturing standpoint, containing about 15 of the 16 shader clusters from the original design. In the next generation, the GTX 580 was a fully implemented version of the GPU design and this time had a better cooling solution.
While not as bad, NVIDIA's GeForce 600 series was also "release defective chip first, release fully implemented when refined later". The GTX 680 (which was a good performer in its own right) is a defective version of the later released GTX Titan.
Invoked with the GeForce GTX 750 Ti, which is based on NVIDIA's upcoming Maxwell architecture. Rather than wait for the new 22nm process to be refined for full scale production, NVIDIA built the GPU using the tried and true 28nm process. This way, any design issues either on the hardware or software side can be stamped out when the 22nm version (and presumably the GeForce 800 series) is ready to go.
The Atari 5200 itself, especially its controller, designed by someone who had never played a video game before. The controller was the first to feature a pause button and the analog joystick was ahead of its time, but it didn't center itself and was prone to breakage. Working controllers are incredibly rare in the wild, though you can buy a special mod kit that makes the controller much more reliable if you're willing to shell out big bucks for it.
After the whole Siri-released-in-beta thing, Apple would have learned their lessons... right? Nope. Presenting iOS 6 Maps. Where to begin... The whole mess started when Apple chose to remove Google Maps as a native app in iOS 6, replacing it with their own 4 months ahead of schedule (even Google was surprised by how sudden it was launched.) The result? Something that would make Steve Jobs hang his already dead self in shame. Entire cities have been renamed, designated as hospitals, or covered by clouds in satellite view. The general consensus was that the product was something that seemed to have been thrown together without a second look. It got even worse as the new iOS Maps had no public transit routes and route planning was sketchy at best, and God help you if you even thought about trying maps anywhere other than US. It has since been improved tremendously, but it remains one of Apple's only visible failures in a long time.
Google's response was of course to make a freely downloadable iOS Google Maps app as soon as possible (it took a few weeks). Some with iPhone 4 actually delayed updating to iOS 6 to give Google time to put up its app, and once it was up updated and replaced the Apple app with the Google one. While you cannot remove iOS 6 Maps, you can banish it to a lonely screen you never look at.
iOS 8.0.1 was pulled a mere HALF HOUR after going live. Touted as a fix for, among other things, the bugs in the Health app that prevented Health Kit-enabled apps from going live on launch day, the update actually BROKE two very important features, namely giving the player no cellular data, thus cutting out the whole point of having a phone: The ability to make calls.
This was how many computer professionals who worked with mainframe and minicomputer operating systems like VMS saw Unix in The Seventies and The Eighties. (It was originally a research project designed for internal use, after all.) Unix was a much simpler system back then. The Unix Hater's Handbook gives a good overview of many of the complaints. A lot of BSD people see Linux as an Obvious Beta today.
Microsoft have a bad reputation for this; Vista is the most notorious and damaging example but it stretches back at least as far as Windows 95. The plug and play functionality was nicknamed "plug and pray" because detecting hardware was that much of a gamble. To their credit, it's usually sorted out after the first few months, but upgrading to the new OS before at least Service Pack 1 is a bit of a gamble.
The non-LTS versions of Ubuntu are notorious for this, as Canonical tends to make major changes without adequate testing.
Avalon Hill's board game Assassin was shipped with rules that clearly had not been properly playtested, making legitimate moves ridiculously rare. The game's designer blames Executive Meddling (it was a localization of a game originally titled Eurohit).
Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition was laden with this stuff; it was pretty obvious that the designers were still trying to work out the kinks of the new system. A lot of it resulted from things that had been retained from AD&D but now didn't work, including a major problem with Empty Levels and a lot of Game Breakers. This lasted until around when 3.5 showed up, by which point the designers had (generally) figured out what worked and what didn't.
Recreating every NPC in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting from scratch would have taken a lot of time, so most NPCs were run through a fairly basic conversion guide and then shipped out the door. Of course, given that AD&D and 3rd Edition have very different mechanics, this led to a lot of NPCs having bizarre builds, too-high stats, and often vestigial abilities. For instance, Elminister retains his immunity to Time Stop, even though the 3rd Edition Time Stop is a burst of Super Speed and not anything that affects other individuals, and Drizzt has taken five levels of Ranger despite the fact that he gets almost nothing out of them (unless he went eleven levels before taking two-weapon fighting).
The board game Betrayal at House on the Hill originally shipped with several errors in the instructions — particularly in the game's various Scenarios. (For example, the Underground Lake is on an Upstairs tile.) This obviously could cause gameplay to grind to a halt as the confused players tried to sort things out... which was made much harder by the game's primary conceit: that one or more of the players pulls a Face-Heel Turn and starts actively working against the group. Errata for the game can now be found online.
Clive Sinclair, head of Sinclair Radionics and later of Sinclair Research, which brought the ZX Spectrum to Britain and helped kickstart its home computer market, valued minimalist designs that the British public could afford, at the cost of neglecting to have his creations properly tested and polished. By far the most infamous example is the Sinclair Black Watch, an early digital watch that used an LED and sold for either Ł17.95 or Ł24.95 depending on whether you got it in a do-it-yourself kit (like most home electronics of the time) or preassembled. The kit was notoriously difficult to assemble; it had a battery life of only ten days (resulting in many preassembled watches arriving already dead) and its batteries were just as difficult to replace; its integrated chip could be destroyed by static from nylon clothing; and most damning of all, it was unreliable in keeping time because it ran at different speeds depending on the weather. Oh, and just for kicks, it could explode if you left it powered on for too long. The product was such a gigantic flop that Sinclair Radionics would've gone bankrupt if the British government hadn't stepped in to provide subsidies.
Early versions of Sinclair's 1984 QL computer had bug-ridden firmware, which also spilled out into an external donglenote It was originally claimed that this was because they couldn't fit the 48KB ROM onto the internal PCB as originally designed, but a 30th anniversary retrospective suggests this may have just been an excuse.. In addition, there were reliability problems with the microdrives. While all these were later fixed, they probably contributed to its commercial failure. Even at the time Your Computer magazine said "I sense that the time for foisting unproven products on the marketplace has gone [..] The QL may have been announced six months too soon."
YouTube (After Google purchased it) is so full of issues, including:
Bad gateways and terrible excuse of auto caption - just imagine it, you go there to watch a video, it shifts through all qualities because of some error in their server and then prints out the video could not be loaded and next thing you know is that it also froze your sound driver, forcing you to reboot to get your sound driver back to normal.
Try to report a playback issue. It either refreshes the Report Playback Issue page or says an error occured when sending a request.
You might choose to upload a video only to find out that the file does not process, or doesn't even cue for uploading despite a reliable internet connection. This is likely a drawback of now being able to upload multiple videos at once, itself a questionable idea to begin with compared to uploading one video at a time quickly.
As of August 2013, uploading videos in WMV format now causes hideous artifacts on any color flashes or fadeouts.
Their "Content Identification" system could be considered an obvious alpha. Since about 2009, any video that is only believed to have copyrighted material is automatically considered a match, even resulting in complete false positives. This doesn't even take into account when Google turned up the heat in late 2013.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, including its notorious battery fires.
Similarly, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress suffered from numerous reliability problems, most famously the overtaxed engines that would sometimes set themselves on fire in flight. In this case the problems due to the need to rush the new bomber into production during the height of World War II, and they were ironed out by the time the B-29D was designed (and re-christened as the B-50A Superfortress in 1948, just in time for WWII to end three years beforehand).
The very complicated nature and large scale involved in building ships means that a "Shakedown Cruise" is a routine step in any ship's construction whereby they spend time figuring out all of the things that are wrong with the ship for them to fix or correct back in port. During the Battle of Denmark Strait, HMS Prince of Wales suffered numerous problems while fighting the Bismark because she was pressed into service before she could do her shakedown cruise.
The video game database MobyGames's 2013 redesign was practically unusable, as glitches greatly complicated or prevented contributing any new info. There were also errors visible to regular visitors, such as screenshots which never loaded (apparently, in order to display an ordinary image, you needed a complex, failure-prone script). What made this even more ridiculous is that the redesign was presented months prior to the users, who proceeded to give their feedback and report the numerous bugs—and all of it was promptly ignored. Tellingly, when GameFly sold the site to Blue Flame Labs on December 20 of the same year, the very first thing the new owner did was to revert the site design back to the previous one.
Wikia, a wiki hoster, did the same as Moby Games. Not only did they introduce a new page skin that simply does not work the way it is supposed to while also managing to cut the usable page in half (the other half permanently displaying useless information that cannot be minimized to give space), they ALSO ignored hundreds thousands user complains against the new skin. Worst of all, not only did they force the skin as the default so that not logged in users are enforced to use it, they also removed the much more popular and infinitely more functional skin "Monaco".
The Healthcare.gov website has numerous bugs and issues, which has caused a great deal of controversy.
The World God Only Knows has an early story where Dating SimOtaku Keima Katsuragi struggles to get through one of these. Filled with just about every bug imaginable, the biggest one he has to overcome is getting stuck in a loop that prevents him from reaching the ending. Not only that, but trying to save the game will fry his PFP, so in order to find a way around the loop, he has to try every single route. And when he finally does manage to get past the loop, the result is corrupted graphics and text that make it completely unplayable.
In episode 5 of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, the characters play an MMO game using virtual reality headsets. The game is in a playable state, but the first enemies they encounter haven't even been programmed with attacks yet, nor does the main character Kodaka have any abilities to use despite being a "wizard". There are also balancing issues as the boss they fight is a bit too tough, though to be fair their healer was taking a nap (since she's only a 10 year old) and they weren't coordinating their moves very well either.
Kenneth the Page of 30 Rock once invented a game show similar to Deal or No Deal in which contestants had to choose which model was holding a case full of solid gold. They caught on in no time that it was always the model struggling with a case full of heavy gold bricks.
"Mad Snacks, Yo!" in Homestuck is a skateboard game riddled with glitches that get the Player Character stuck in walls or other decor elements, assuming the game doesn't crash first.
In this strip of The Trenches, after Quentin wows the staff with "in-game" footage, they discover that most of the game is so thoroughly Beta that it doesn't know where the ground is. The actual development state of the "game" is this article's page image.