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Glitch Entity

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A Glitch Entity is a Video Game item or character whose very existence is actually just a flaw in the game's internal programming. Can be considered a Good Bad Bug in and of itself, but all bets are off.

May be found in a Minus World, and often exists for the same sort of reason — the game accidentally tries to load character data from a section of memory that is intended for some other purpose entirely, leading to the resulting "character" appearing. If a Glitch Entity is noticeably more powerful than anything obtainable at the point in the game that it can be gotten, using it treads into Not the Intended Use territory.

Because this character was never intended to actually exist, merely encountering the Glitch Entity can trigger an unpredictable bevy of side effects, ranging from other Good Bad Bugs to game crashes, or even more severe bugs. In the rare worst-case scenario, it can even corrupt the player's save file, forcing them to erase it and start the game over from the beginning. Some Glitch Entities can eventually become an Ascended Glitch, though.

There also exist In-Universe examples, characters who are living glitches, usually used to explore the concept and how they interact with the world they are in. They can range from benevolent characters to mischievous tricksters to malicious Digital Abominations. These characters are common antagonists in Digital Horror media.

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Video Game Examples

    Real Life Examples 
  • Pokémon contains many of these. They are often depicted as being eldritch horrors in fanworks, because even the most harmless ones can have odd effects on the game, and they often appear as garbled messes of pixels. Beyond that, they vary wildly:
    • Pokémon Red and Blue has the most glitch Pokémon of any entry in the series thanks to numerous programming quirks. It also contains some glitch trainers, who can appear as random encounters like wild Pokémon. Generally, the more difficult one of these entities is to encounter, the more damage it can do your game.
      • The most infamous glitch of all is "MISSINGNO."(short for Missing Number), a Bird/Normal type Pokémon (yes, Bird type, not Flying). The main glitch which allows it to be encountered is caused by the game trying to interpret your Player Character's name as random encounter data, causing you to run into odd things; Missingno. itself is part irrelevant data being read as if it were stats and part leftover data from removed Pokémon, with the latter giving it the distinction of having many near-identical entries scattered throughout the game's internal species list. Although it has a reputation for being dangerous, Missingno. is relatively harmlessnote , and also has the benefit of increasing the quantity of the 6th item in your bag by 128note , leading players to seek it out in order to duplicate useful items. Missingno. is still present in the 3DS Virtual Console re-releases of the original games, and if the player attempts to transfer it to Pokémon Sun and Moon, it will not be let through but will shift all your Pokémon's names over by one.
      • One of the more well-known and less hazardous glitch Pokémon that require serious effort to encounter has an unpronounceable name consisting of glitch characters, the female symbol, and a period. This glitch Pokémon is infamous for its never ending cry, which causes the game to get stuck on the fight screen until the console is switched off, since the game can't continue until ♀ .'s infinitely long cry ends.
      • Among the glitch trainers is Professor Oak, who is never fought in normal gameplay, but was originally intended to be. He has a proper party programmed into the game - even having different teams depending on which starter you chose, all but confirming that he decided to train whichever starter neither you nor your rival chose - but it isn't used anywhere, and he's more likely to use an incorrect team instead if fought using glitches.
    • Gen 2 has a glitch egg. In Gold and Silver, attempting to use it in battle will crash and restart the game. In Crystal, you can battle with it, but as it has no moves, it will use Struggle until it faints. Every 30,720 steps, it will hatch into another egg.
    • From Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire onward, there are various placeholder Pokémon intentionally put in to catch these errors. They take up the vast majority of Pokémon slots due to there being exactly 65,536 of them (hexadecimal slots 0000 to FFFF) in every game made since then.
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire introduced the Bad Egg, which appears in every game since then. They're not really dangerous but they're extremely difficult to get rid of once you somehow obtain one because they can't be released. Unlike the Glitch Eggs from Pokémon Gold and Silver, they rarely hatch; if they do hatch, however, whatever is hatched may eventually turn into a Bad Egg itself (assuming the game doesn't freeze). In earlier versions of Pokémon Sword and Shield, they frequently appeared in Max Raids because people were hosting hacked raids.
    • In Generation III, there are 25 different glitch Pokémon filling the hexadecimal slots between those of Celebi and Treecko. They have the cry of Unown and the stats of Deoxys’s normal form, but can only learn Tackle. They are almost completely harmless unless the player tries to hack moves onto them.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has a glitch where using object placement mode to create a metric buttload of waterfalls in Emerald Hill Zone can cause Sonic's palette to be overwritten, turning him green with a black forehead. This miscolored Sonic, nicknamed "Ashura," is a surprisingly popular "character", making frequent appearances in fan works. The glitch also inspired the appearance of Scourge from Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), who is an Alternate Universe counterpart of Sonic and has green fur. It would later inspire another character in the Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) called Surge the Tenrec.
    • There are multiple glitches in Sonic the Hedgehog CD which can cause Amy to be miscolored.
    • Buried within Knuckles Chaotix's hidden level select menu is the option to play as a white recolor of Knuckles, whose name is a row of ten asterisks. Since his name is completely unpronounceable, fans nicknamed him "Wechnia" (derived from "White Echidna"). He's actually leftover data from when Tails was cut from the game early in development; he no longer uses his own art, name, or palette, leaving the game to display Knuckles with an unpronounceable name and Mighty's palette. Performing certain actions as Wechnia will crash the game — even merely touching the ground is sometimes enough to cause a crash. A character from the IDW comics called Dr Starline was confirmed to have his colour palette and basic concept be inspired by this particular glitch.
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles
      • Blue Knuckles plays like a mixture of Sonic (his palettes and level routes), Knuckles (abilities), and Tails (uses his name at the end of act tally). The only ways to play as him are through hacking, Game Genie, or a massive glitch in Lava Reef. This glitch inspired the appearance of Kitsunami the Fennec, a character in the IDW Sonic comics who was a blue fox who served as Surge's partner.
      • If you turn on Debug Mode, use Stage Select in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, go to the Doomsday Zone Act 1 as Knuckles and beat the level, the ending sequence will feature a palette swap of Sonic, Knuckles, and the Tornado.
      • Generally trying to get either Tails or Knuckles into The Doomsday through this method will make their sprites garbled up, as the game still recognizes both of them as being Sonic, who is supposed to be the only character allowed to access this level.
      • Since the game dynamically loads enemy sprites and tiles as you go through a level, if Sonic goes too fast while in Super Mode, he can outrun the sprite loading and cause enemies or backgrounds to be garbled.
      • A glitch in Sonic 3 alone requires you to activate the final checkpoint before Sonic's boss in Marble Garden Zone Act 2 while in debug mode. Going to the level select screen at this point and selecting Launch Base Zone Act 2 has you spawn directly below an entirely underwater version of the area where you encountered Knuckles, who has turned green. This coincidentally causes him to resemble the fake character "Rankles the Otter" invented by the UK Sega Magazine, who was a green version of Knuckles with large spiky ankles, no spikes on his gloves, and fewer dreadlocks. As a joke, the magazine offered one million pounds to the first person to find Rankles in the game (they also offered a serious Sega Multi-Mega giveaway for the first person who sends in a photo of the ending of Sonic 3 & Knuckles); a reader inevitably sent in a picture of the glitch, only to be told off because "the mystery character hasn't got sparkly ankles and therefore cannot be Rankles and is just Knuckles underwater".
  • Super Pitfall often has random sprites appearing at the edge of the screen, including miscoloured copies of Pitfall Harry that The Angry Video Game Nerd refers to as "The ghost of Pitfall Larry" and "Pitfall Gary".
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • One glitch in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link lets you travel to earlier dungeons, only using the graphics from later dungeons, enabling you to do things like see unused window graphics if you go from a dungeon that had no windows to one that did. However, this also results in the boss of the dungeon you're visiting being pieced together from the sprite of the boss of the dungeon you were in before, as can be seen in this video, just under six minutes into the video.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has a mysterious invisible enemy called the ghost of Misery Mire, an Urban Legend of Zelda that was proven to be true. Investigation of the game's code revealed that the ghosts are actually Kus that are glitched due to being placed on the wrong type of ground tile. Kus can only exist on deep water tiles, but a few have been placed on shallow water. They can't attack but can be killed, although doing so may cause other glitches depending on what weapon was used.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • The original Mortal Kombat (1992):
      • Glitch Reptile occurs when you do the trick to get to Reptile during one of the Endurance Matches; you'll fight two Reptiles as a result, but the second Reptile will be a graphically glitched version of random characters in the game.
      • Silver Goro is what happens when you perform a fatality on the second opponent of the last Endurance Match with Raiden or Sub-Zero, then throw your projectile at Goro as he falls from the top of the screen. Do it right, and his colors will be glitched to a weird silver for the remainder of the round.
    • Mortal Kombat II: In the Amiga port of the game, if you do the friendship on the morphed Shang Tsung, you end up controlling the long-lost brother of Glitch Reptile.
    • The SNES version of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 has one of these in Tournament mode. Do Random Select and the cursor may land on the Random icon. This creates a "character" that appears to be the leftover data from Sheeva after she was Dummied Out (sometimes called "Ghost Sheeva"). She's represented as only a few blood pixels (or sometimes nothing at all); some characters can't hit her at all, and she's capable of extremely damaging attacks. Oddly enough, you can perform Fatalities on her - she even still has her Babality sprite! - but it's very hard to do anything to her without crashing the game.
  • In Ultima VI, one could grab any dead body from the enemies you kill, and have a Healer resurrect it as if it were a party member. The result is a bizarre graphic mishmash (usually depicted as a pile of floating gold coins) with an unintelligible name, now a member of your party. Stats were extremely erratic, but it was good to send on a suicide mission as a distraction.
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • If you get more than 20 lives in Super Mario Bros., the life crown reward for getting over 10 lives and corresponding numbers disappear altogether, replaced with random chunks of nonsense. The chunks always appear in the same order, however, meaning some people have managed to decipher the "code."
    • A couple of these can be seen in the Dummied Out "lost levels" of Super Mario Bros. 3, such as a Koopa with Chain Chomp sprites, as well as in certain ROM hacks. With the help of Game Genie codes, you can also create strange power-suits. One of the weirdest turns the player character into a conglomeration of blocks that can swim in the air (a Lakitu Cloud on the map screen).
  • In Advance Wars: Dual Strike, it is possible in the CO select menu screens to choose only one CO and leave the second slot blank, then swap the CO with itself, leaving the first CO slot blank and the second CO slot occupied. Starting the game, you are given control of a "null" CO with glitched graphics and Andy's theme song. Your CO power charges instantly and activating it will freeze the game. This was fixed for the European version and, notably, inspired the legitimate feature of selecting no CO in Days of Ruin.
  • Contra's Energy Zone on the NES: The pallette for the level changes at the end to make room for that level's boss sprite. If one of the soldier Mooks follows you there, it turns into a sprite barf when the pallette changes. The game luckily keeps going as usual, and you can shoot it.
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Combat Evolved: From the final level, "The Maw", in the last hallway before you enter the engine room there exists a Flood Combat Form which is assigned to be on the side of the Covenant. This is most likely a case of this enemy being assigned the wrong faction by mistake, as this quirk is very hard to notice in the heat of battle.
    • Halo 2:
      • The "Honor Guard Councillor" (Honor Guard armor with Ultra palette and Councillor or other random helmet), a Unique Enemy faced during "Gravemind" was supposed to be a Zealot Elite, but is glitched up due to a programming error; it was flagged to have a "dogmatic" personality, but the level contains no data for Elites of that type.
      • From the same game, during "Sacred Icon", there is a single "Needler Sentinel", a Sentinel that fires Needler rounds and will drop one when destroyed. After being discovered, Word of God confirmed that this was an experimental enemy concept that they forgot to remove from the level.
    • Halo: Reach: The Armor hologram glitch. If you use hologram and either go into monitor mode or die, the Hologram model will be randomized, sometimes with impossible armor combos.
    • Halo 4: In the Spartan Ops mission "Switchback", there is a Promethian Crawler that awkwardly carries a LightRifle, most likely for similar reasons as the aforementioned Needler Sentinel in Halo 2.
  • Some enemies from the infamously glitchy Action 52 games seem to fall into this category. For example, the sprites in Level 5 of Ninja Assault are all scrambled, but appear to be birds and a rhino-type boss. Also, most of the enemies in Spread Fire. In Thrusters, your ship turns into one of these when you crash in the second level, which is unwinnable anyways unless you have the right ROM and emulator.
  • There was a custom physics model for Marathon that turned the player's weapons and the BOBs into stuff like this. Glitches (or cheating) could add a "pirated Copland beta" or "copy of Windows NT" to your inventory. Per Word of God, these were placeholder strings for a Dummied Out weapon and its ammo. In entity form, they were ammo for the (normally disposable) Enforcer gun.
  • Tales of Destiny had such a hidden character who was Dummied Out, but still gettable because of a bug. This led to many fans believing the character was edited out of the US version only, when in fact you weren't supposed to be able to get them in the Japanese version either. The developers merely corrected the bug in the US version.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The Final Fantasy Game Genie code VYUOKITE allows you to select from 244 of these at the beginning of the game. A large number of those are automatically killed when used, but a surprising number are actually usable.
    • When PS2 emulators became almost fully functional, a lot of dummy data was found in Final Fantasy X. This included several weapons, including a buster sword, but they're very glitchy and crash the game in most cases.
  • In City of Heroes, occasionally you will find yourself fighting someone named BOSS_NAME. They're perfectly normal bosses of the appropriate faction, in all but name.
  • Due to the way Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri loads factions, the player can load a perfectly good faction from the credits, a sound file, some graphics, or even nothing at all.
  • Test Drive Unlimited has a neat-looking car substituting for any corrupted car in your save file or game installation. It looks somewhat like an Alfa Brera and clearly has had a lot of work put into it for something that is only supposed to appear in case of a fatal flaw in the game.
  • The dungeon crawler game Mordor has one of these called the GOBLIE. This is a very weak companion monster that would be completely useless even if they didn't always turn up dead. It arises from a flaw in the acid spit attack that some monsters have. Occasionally an acid spitter will attempt to spit on your companions, but if your character has never had a companion then it generates a GOBLIE and immediately kills it.
  • A common glitch in a number of Bethesda games, including Fallout 3, dead-on-arrival characters may accidentally be spawned as "living" people with no dialogue, usually eerily standing silent near puddles of blood and piles of gore. There's also the "walking gibs" glitch in the Fallout games. Furthermore, in those, autosaving into a looping death will sometimes result in the character melting into a taffy-like mess, similar to the "demon babies" glitch in The Sims 4.
  • In Soldier of Fortune II, enemies that have sustained ordinarily fatal damage may fail to actually die, and continue to wander or follow the player in a "living dead" state.
  • In Lost Isle, there's a Gleeok in Bhalstok Castle, but, due to a palette incompatibility, it displays as an all-black "Shadow Gleeok."
  • Red Dead Redemption has the "Manimals" glitch, where NPC's take on the behavior of birds, cougars, and other animals, sometimes horrifically contorting their models.
  • Inverted in The Sims 2; if a sim is deleted, sims created or born after the deletion will get the wants/fears file of that sim, and other new sims will get the wants/fears files of the previous sims.
  • WWF No Mercy has a glitch where, during the Hardcore Championship path in Championship Mode, you can fight "Data-2500", a bald, semi-naked, glitch wrestler who has The Rock's face, no in-game name (both his name plate and Attitude meter have no text on them), no music or titantron, no entrance motion (he will instead float around during the entrance while in his fighting stance), and whose attacks consist of nothing but knife edge chops that barely hurt the opponent at all. Using a GameShark code to access the extra CAW slot intended for the unused Game Boy Color championship path, one can reveal Data-2500's character slot, but the character itself cannot be cloned.
  • Stellaris has the Despicable Neutrals, a placeholder AI personality for any empire that is contacted prior to the second day of the game's internal clock. This is impossible in normal game play and was built to handle a situation just in case it happened. They favor all things equally.
  • In old versions of Everybody Edits, a fully black block can be selected and placed in levels despite not being a proper block, though it seems to function like any other solid block. The unintentional button for selecting it is a single column of pixels on the Action Bar to the right of the block bar. Eventually, the fully black block was added to the game as a proper block.
  • In Borderlands 2 there is a rocket launcher called ERROR MESSAGE ERROR MESSAGE which is intended as an Exclusive Enemy Equipment that never meant to be picked up and used by player.
  • In the NES version of Double Dragon, weapons normally disappear during scene transitions, but if you pick up one just as the last enemy in a scene finishes blinking out, it will instead turn into a graphically glitched baseball bat that can be carried over to the next scene, and the process repeated.
  • In Metroid, invincible frozen Zebetites and Mother Brains appear in the secret worlds found using the door glitch.
  • Street Fighter:
    • The bosses from Street Fighter II, even though they appear in normal gameplay the World Warrior versions have always been Glitch Entities in their own right. In World Warrior they behave very differently from the playables and can't be controlled by the player even if they are chosen through cheats. It was discovered later through being manually fixed to be controllable they had quirks fighting each other or just being controlled that didn't apply to the regulars. Balrog couldn't duck or jump over Sagat's high tiger shot, Vega goes abnormally high when jumping off the cage from his BG when battling another boss, and Balrog also had uncancellable transition frames crouching and standing up.
    • In specifically Street Fighter III: New Generation, a beta version of Hugo, who wouldn't officially debut until the next game, exist in the game's data. This version can't attack, glitches out easily, and when walking has numbers next to his character model. Strangely he also comes with a version of his stage that WOULD debut next game that features events that were removed in Second Impact such as transitions from round one and two.
    • Street Fighter Alpha Anthology's hidden bonus game Hyper Street Fighter Alpha brings us hidden versions of Alpha 2 M. Bison and Sagat with scrambled glitch sprites. They both share a partial Evil Ryu moveset, have no super meter, and cannot be hit while standing still.
  • In Wizards & Warriors, a glitch exist where the stage's weapon can be taken with the player into the next round. Usually it is taken away when a player gets a piece of the Iron Sword. Effectively the Windbane could be taken up until late level 3 but has to be replaced since the stage's boss can't be hit with the weapon's arc but as it isn't meant to appear past level one the shots can look like glitchy messes (but still work as intended).
  • Puyo Puyo Champions: The "Shadow Ringo" Glitch. When playing on Ranked League mode, if your opponent disconnects right before the character selection screen shows up, you will find yourself in a single-player character selection, akin to an Endless mode. When you get to the match itself, you find yourself playing against a large, pitch-black Ringo, but without an enemy player. Since there is no enemy player, you can't win, and losing does not award any stars to the opponent. This effectively softlocks the game, forcing the player to disconnect or close the game to leave this match... and of course, since you've disconnected, you get a penalty.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach gives us "Giga Monty". During the Showtime quest, Montgomery Gator will appear in the atrium operating a spotlight from the top of a roof. Using Sequence Breaking, players can leave and enter the Atrium several times while Monty is there. Every time the player leaves the Atrium, it's unloaded, but Monty is not, causing him to fall through the now non-existent roof and land on the ground. This gives him a viable path to catch Gregory, which he doesn't have while on the roof - and for some reason, this version of Monty contains a simpler, but much more dangerous AI script that simply moves towards Gregory at all times once alerted by a S.T.A.F.F. bot, ignoring line of sight, Gregory being in Freddy, and everything else. Giga Monty lacks the AI to actually detect Gregory and become alert, but triggering a S.T.A.F.F. Bot will alert him, and he will never give up the chase, cannot be tricked by climbing onto tables or into Freddy unlike the other animatronics, and will push Freddy into the wall until they either catch their target or Freddy loses all his power and jump-scares Gregory himself. Even destroying Monty during his boss fight and leaving him in his "Shattered" state will not stop Giga Monty, as the game doesn't remove him when Monty is defeated (since he should normally never be there by that time). And to make this even worse, once Monty has fallen through the roof, if you return to the area, the game thinks that the spotlight operator Monty is missing and respawns him on the roof - but without removing the old one. This new Monty will also fall through the roof if the area unloads, so this can be repeated multiple times, spawning a new Monty each time; meaning that as soon as a S.T.A.F.F. bot is triggered, an unstoppable army of robot alligators is released in the Atrium to hunt down Gregory forever. It's a Game-Breaking Bug if you're not planning for it, but definitely a Good Bad Bug if you are.
  • Destiny featured a level 8 Reaver Vandal in the Cosmodrome who would sometimes spawn with a health bar many times larger than normal, making a slightly-stronger-than-normal generic enemy in the starting zone as tanky as infamous Damage-Sponge Boss Valus Tau'uarc. On discovery, the community dubbed him “Randal the Vandal” and made him memetically indestructible — so much so that Bungie took notice, and began sneaking rare, abnormally tough Reaver Vandals into certain activities and locations, even into Destiny 2. When the original glitch that created him was fixed at the release of The Taken King expansion, fan outcry actually prompted Bungie to reverse the change.
  • Dwarf Fortress:
    • The game has a variety of undefined creatures and materials corresponding to invalid IDs, obtainable though glitches (such as by duplicating raw files) or memory hacking. While the glitch creatures almost invariably cause a crash as there is no code for handling them, glitch materials seem to be relatively stable and can be worked with. They appear to have default material properties, light gray color, and are called unknown frozen plant substance, unknown frozen creature substance, unknown material, or a blank name.
    • Other glitches appear when trying to Logic Bomb the game's coding. When the map has soil tiles but no soils exist, the tiles display in rapidly changing colors and symbols, as the game constantly attempts and fails to choose what they are made of, to almost kaleidoscopic effect. These can be mined out leaving boulders of random materials.
      "All is nasty," said Atir. "World is nasty. Earth is tainted. Grass is dying. Anthills are glowing."
  • In SSI's Pool of Radiance an inventory bug can be triggered by attempting to divide a stack of items when the character's inventory is already full. This produces a glitched object with a garbled name (e.g. "*BAG") that functions as an equippable item with absurd stats.
  • In the original X-COM it is possible to trick the game into merging two items in a character's hand slot. The merged item mostly behaves as a single item with both items' properties, but there are some unexpected behaviours; e.g. merging the stun rod with a gun produces a lethal melee weapon, and trying to unload a merged gun can crash the game.

    In-Universe Examples 
  • Balatro: The Misprint joker resembles the standard-issue joker but with a misaligned, stretched picture. Its description is a constantly shifting and buggy set of values, which translates to giving a different multiplier for every hand played.
  • The Binding of Isaac:
    • "I AM ERROR" shopkeepers are variants of the shopkeepers with a beard, blue shirt, and a glitchy appearance, plus a speech bubble saying "I AM ERROR." They are most commonly found in I AM ERROR rooms but can rarely appear outside of them.
    • Certain items can turn Isaac in to a glitch-person. MissingNo garbles his appearance and causes all of his items (except MissingNo itself and items required to enter certain floors) to reroll every floor, or TMTRAINER which changes all future items to randomly-generated garbled ones. There's also GB Bug, a familiar made of random constantly-changing sprites that can reroll pickups it touches.
    • Eden is already implied to be glitch-like to some degree from their unlocks, but Tainted Eden closes the gap. They glitch out after taking damage and reroll into different items like with MissingNo. Their character select icon is literally Eden's with a glitched face. Their "cutscene portrait" before bosses and between levels is empty, implying that they are (intentionally) not fully implemented or otherwise not supposed to exist.
  • In BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, there's the hidden boss "not_intended". She lives in a Minus World-inspired area, speaks in glitchy text boxes and pop-up error messages, and her fight involves copious amounts of Interface Screw.
  • Milo from Buddy Simulator 1984. Right from the moment you meet him it's clear there's something off about him, as the text refers to him with the name and species of your selected "favorite animal" despite clearly being a dog, with his real name only being revealed by a glitch later. For most of the game he follows you incessantly, utilizing clipping and Offscreen Teleportation to bypass obstacles, but is otherwise harmless until you get to the Final Boss's lair, whereupon he proceeds to crash the game twice and gets fused with Groncho, becoming the Post-Final Boss. The reason for his glitchiness is actually fairly realistic, as hidden files imply he's a borrowed asset from another game that didn't get ported over properly.
  • Deep Rock Galactic has a few things on Hoxxes IV that your terrain scanner can't make heads or tails of.
    • "Error cubes" (or as your scanner calls them, "ERR://23¤Y%/") are very rarely found in cave walls like lumps of compressed gold or other large mineral chunks, but have a weird shimmering effect on the rock around them to indicate their position. They look like black-and-white cubes with a simple grid pattern on them, and are described as hot to the touch and smelling "faintly of...tarmac?" So they were obviously built by someone or something, but their purpose remains unclear (your dwarf might almost figure it out while under the effects of Smart Stout, but the beer wears off before they can explain). They are, however, worth a hefty chunk of bonus XP, and collecting five of them earns an achievement.
    • "Error helixes" ("ERR://019%T#/") are rare structures found in the Radioactive Exclusion Zone, which indeed look like huge, jet-black double helixes made from some unknown substance. They're sometimes encountered singly, and even more rarely there are entire fields of the things, but again, their purpose remains unknown.
    • In the Azure Weald zone, you might find circles of glowing pillars surrounded by a field of light, which your scanner can only call "p[[[[[[[{0}]]]]]]]q" These at least provide a clear benefit, a temporary 50% damage reduction buff to anything - including the level's enemies - that passes through them. The biome also contains "Magic Holes," pits filled with a glowing light that provides a low-gravity effect and movement speed bonus for those who pass through them, as another hint that Hoxxes IV once supported intelligent life.
  • In Chapter 2 of Deltarune, Spamton G. Spamton is anthropomorphic spambot who's distinctly off. Ralsei speculates that he's a corrupted program, which fits as if you see glitches, chances are Spamton is nearby. The Trash Zone, his shop, and the alley where his garbage can is all have glitches somewhere. Even the basement in Queen's mansion, while not glitchy by itself, was stated to be storing corrupted data. Spamton himself also tends to glitch out, with his head visibly distorting during his Laughing Mad animation.
  • In Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker, Miyako was brought into being as a replacement for a character who pretended to be Ret-Gone, but wasn't, and was merged with the Eldritch Abomination Cor Caroli during universe generation. Her simultaneous existence with Yamato breaks the laws of the universe, making it possible to destroy Canopus, the divine guiding order of the entire universe.
  • Distorted Travesty 3 has the appropriately named Abomination, an indestructible pile of junk data that got locked into the Vault because of its sheer destructiveness. It's also under the control of Hexor through a parasite implanted into it, and has been secretly begging the player characters to kill it throughout the game.
  • In Doki Doki Literature Club!, removing the file of a character from the game directory will cause that character to hover between existing and not existing, only appearing in-game in bizarrely glitched ways. This happens as part of the story thanks to a Liminal Being with Medium Awareness messing with the plot via game mechanics.
  • .hack//MUTATION introduced the Net Slum, which are made of and populated entirely by junk and garbage data given form. Quite notably, while all player character data are rendered in 3D, some sentient AI within the Net Slum are simply 2D sprites, or 3D models with missing meshes.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy:
    • Parodied in Epic Battle Fantasy 4 with "The Glitch" Optional Boss. It is portrayed as a mix of static and pieces of game sprites, is immune to everything except non-elemental attacks, and has an "overflow" attack which deals zero damage, but causes instant death all the time.
    • Epic Battle Fantasy 5 gives the Glitch a larger role. There are four mini "dungeons" that have pixellated retro-styled "pixel" enemies and masses of glitches that fight similar to the boss from the fourth game. The "main" Glitch is found in a fifth area, where it appears as flickering error messages. The Glitch "talks" this time through possessing the characters, breaks the fourth wall, and is actively malevolent.
  • Henry Stickmin Series: In Stealing the Diamond, Henry can summon MissingNo. to battle secure guards in the museum, which leads to a Game-Breaking Bug as its appearance causes the interface to crash.
  • Idol Showdown has one of these as the Final Boss of the Virtual Frontier mode. Though it takes on the form of a glitchy Tokino Sora with the word "ERROR" on her face most of the time, it can also take on the other idols' forms in order to use their attacks as well as use every single collab attack in the game.
  • Kingdom of Loathing parodies this with the Bugged Bugbear monster, and later the Baby Bugged Bugbear familiar based on it. Neither is actually glitched, but both have chunks of their images replaced with ones and zeroes, and both spit out MySQL error messages with almost everything they do.
  • Pâquerette Down the Bunburrows: There exist bunnies in some out of bounds areas that flicker between every bunny variant. When Pâquerette mentions one, they are also The Unpronounceable - even trying to mention one results in a garbled, ever-changing mess of characters that causes her dialogue portrait to begin cycling colors as well.
  • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl introduces Porygon-Z, an evolution of Porygon2 that was supposed to improve Porygon's initial design and programming even further, allowing it to operate in alternate dimensions. However, the data on the Dubious Discnote  corrupted its original code, causing it to act erratically. Some even wonder if Porygon-Z can actually be considered an evolution of Porygon2.
  • Slime Rancher has Glitch Slimes that only exist in The Slimulation, which disguise themselves as other slimes or pieces of the environment. They are harmless, unless disguised as an inherently dangerous other breed of slime, but are noted as "being driven by some unknown motive to spread throughout The Slimulation." You're tasked by Viktor to go in and gather as many as possible before The Digitarr arrive, and then deliver them as "bug reports" once you leave so he can find a way to remove them. In the end he figures out how to remove them, but leaves them in as he comes to consider them a "natural" development of his simulated environment and wants to study them more.
  • Splatoon 3, or its expansion anyway, has Order, an unintended consequence of the creation of the Memverse. Once Pearl and Eight blast some sense into it, though, it takes on a non-glitched, very small form instead.
  • Undertale has the hidden character of Dr. W.D. Gaster. You have to mess around with the "fun" values in the game's coding to learn anything about him. It’s implied that he was the royal scientist before Alphys. He created something (often assumed by fans to be the CORE), and was scattered across space-time after falling into it, with it being often theorized all memory of him has been erased with him. He has multiple “followers” (grey creatures that have a small chance to appear in certain rooms) that talk about him. They vaguely imply that he's aware to some degree and is being forced to watch the world functioning exactly the same without him. Originally you needed to modify the game files to let his followers spawn, but a later patch fixed it and allows his followers, and possibly even Gaster himself, to appear in non-edited worlds (a value for determining whether a follower would spawn was improperly capitalized at first, the patch fixed the capitalization, allowing the followers to spawn).
  • Vampire Survivors has missingN▯, an obvious shout-out to the original Missingno. This Secret Character is unlocked by wandering "off" a map into a Minus World of glitchy graphics and distorted music, and appears as a scrambled Red Death sprite. missingN▯'s stats are completely randomized each time you pick it, and it might be armed with a standard Axe or start with its evolved Death Spiral form.
  • Yandere Simulator: Fun Girl is a monochrome-colored being who is only found directly by altering certain files, who was RetGoned from existence. Her full-body art even features patches of glitchy textures throughout.

Non-Video Game Examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • Den-noh Coil:
    • Illegals, sentient viruses that feed on metabugs, and may or may not have been cyberpets once.
    • The Nulls are an especially disturbing example, as even though the original ones were just 'Null Carriers', intended to temporarily separate cyberbodies from the actual persons for experimental purposes, it's implied that at least some of the "feral" Nulls were once people who have been separated from their real bodies, and undergone severe data corruption and decay.
  • .hack//SIGN and the first set of games had "Data Bugs." Glitched monsters (and corresponding wonky graphics) within the Virtual Reality MMORPG with infinite Hit Points who can send players into comas (not as permanently as the Phases). Only a game reprogramming device like the Twilight Bracelet can defeat them.

    Fan Works 
  • Subverted with Missingno in Pokémon Strangled Red, who is given an actual gameplay purpose in the eponymous hacked game.
  • NONE in "Chaos Effect" is revealed to be MissingNo., a result of his powers going haywire when he first began looping.

    Films — Animated 
  • Wreck-It Ralph, which is about video games at an arcade, has Vanellope Von Schweetz, from the racing game Sugar Rush. She mostly looks like an ordinary Sugar Rush character, but glitches in and out (replacing her normal appearance with lines of code) whenever she's emotionally compromised. It really sucks to be her — she's a bullied outcast, not allowed to race despite wanting to be a racer, and she has to live in a Dummied Out bonus level. She is actually a real and intended character in the game, but was turned into a glitch by Turbo, who disguised himself as King Candy to take her place as the game's ruler.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Inception has stray projections that get in the way of dreamsharing. There's Mal, a violent, nigh-unstoppable projection born from Dom's guilt, who takes the form of his dead wife. She rages through the dreamscape, generally messing everything up for the crew. There's also Dom's kids, who are less violent, but always faceless and whose appearance usually indicate danger.

    Web Comics 
  • Homestuck's Lord English is implied to be this, being the result of two players who share a single body entering a SBURB session that was designated for one player only, something that was explicitly stated to be impossible. Appropriately enough, he's even caused the game to glitch, causing spans of Missing Time for the protagonists. It gets worse. A single-player session, though radically different from the base game and incredibly difficult to set-up, can have one of two possible outcomes: Either the player 'gives up all ambition' and dies, but becomes instrumental in stopping a great evil... or tackles an incredible challenge and gains unconditional immortality and the power to destroy anything he or she wishes. The only way to stop them? Glitching reality.
  • Tower of God: The virtual reality of the Hidden Floor is a magical place, but it parodies a computer game. One of its inhabitants is the sworn enemynote  of Urek Mazino, who apparently shouldn't exist there, especially since Mazino himself left ages ago. There are error messages floating in the air around him.

    Web Original 
  • The SCP Foundation: SCP-951, an anomalous (but apparently friendly) video game glitch named "LUCAS" AKA LOGICAL UNIFIED CENTRAL ANOMALY SYSTEM. It was deliberately engineered but flawed as it would "die" when the game ended and couldn't remember anything when the game restarted. Missingno gets a shout-out in a chatlog about the mysterious glitch:
    Lizalfos ██ ███ ████, 9:40
    Hey, has anyone played Pauper Rise of the Monster King? I found it at a garage sale recently and so far it's pretty cool. Anyway, the reason I bring it up is because I found a pretty awesome glitch monster that kind of breaks the game and I was wondering if anyone else found it.

    ReGGie ██ ███ ████, 9:42
    @Lizalfos, are you talking about lucas? lucas is fucking bro tier

    Wetualo ██ ███ ████, 9:45
    LUCAS is definitely up there with shit like Missingno, although I didn't care much for the way he fucked with my screen.

    Western Animation 
  • Cyberchase has a compound known as "Cyberstatic" which scrambles the digital data that makes up cybersites turning the areas into a glitchy mess. In the episode "Battle of the Equals" Hacker unleashes cyberstatic on three cybersites and a very heavy dose at Motherboard's Control Central.
  • Pibby: The premise of the short is that various worlds, including many beloved classics (or expies of said classics) are being corrupted and devoured one by one by a horrific, nigh-unstoppable Glitch Entity.

    Real Life 
  • One of the theories for why we dream is that the brain mistakenly interprets vital maintenance information as sensory stimulation while asleep, which would explain why dreams are often so weird. For example, the theory that dreams of flying/floating come about as the brain's best attempt to reconcile the sensation of moving about in some way with the fact that it can't actually sense your arms or legs moving because REM sleep stops you from being able to do so.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Glitch Character, Glitch Item, Glitch Sprite


The Static Demon

Upon picking up the boss key in the seemingly-abandoned Old Set, a fake error message will pop up and the game will pretend to crash. Then, after a short chase to the boss room from an apparition of Chunks, the true boss of the stage, The Static Demon, reveals itself.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / FissionMailed

Media sources: