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Before patches were possible, how did console games deal with bugs?

frogger

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Jun 23, 2014
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Back then, when patches were not possible, did the game makers do a better job with quality control? Now days, they can patch games easily, did this allow them to do less quality control before release?

I remember when FF8 was released there was a game breaking bug, and Square had to replace a CD for the people who bought the game. But this kind of example is rare, now days almost all games gets patched.
 

Sophia

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Feb 8, 2008
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They ship a more tested game, knowing that they only had one shot and that there was little options for recovery if the game had issues.

Mind you, bugs were still around then too. It's not like they were non-existent or anything. Now they just have leniency to fix them as they need to.
 

Zechs

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May 3, 2014
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Nintendo Seal of Quality...

Or you know, they just actually worked on the game until release, not the DLC which comes out after -_-
 
Mar 10, 2005
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Reissues (so first run copies were just fucked, but they could probably exchange) or people just lived with them.

A lot of games were shipped with game-breaking bugs or poor performance and people just kind of lived with it, because what was the alternative?
 

Jonnax

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Jun 23, 2013
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They had better standards, if a game was broken they had to recall. But releasing a mostly working game is cheaper for publishers especially if they can somehow rig it to get better reviews from press while ordinary users find out that they've spent their money on a sea of shit. It's the fault of patches really making it possible to do a half job.
 

Corpekata

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Jun 7, 2013
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By ignoring them in some cases. I know we need to be rah rah broken games these days but they weren't exactly all perfect back in the day.
 

Bsigg12

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Apr 9, 2012
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Game breaking bugs would usually result in new versions of the software going out after the first shipment of carts/discs. Glitches and stuff were usually just left as it wasn't worth the money to go in and fix the software for something people had to do specifically to exploit.
 

Seiniyta

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Sep 4, 2014
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aaaand we are done
Yeah, but keep in mind that games only got more complex as time went on which increases the amount of bugs that can occur. Sometimes gamebreaking issues did pop up on consoles without much capabilty to patch. (like Twilight Princess on the Wii) and then you could send the disc to nintendo or restart your game and don't get stuck again.
 

BigK_201

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Oct 16, 2013
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That's because a lot of games get sent out known smaller bugs that may not break the game but are still annoying. When games get delayed like the Order 1886, it's because there's probably a big issue that will take more time to work on.

Also, there are a lot more factors that can go wrong with today's games when compared to game in the NES, SNES days. It's hard to test absolutely everything with a small team before it's shipped to thousands of people and that's why bugs almost always pop up.
 

test_account

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Mar 22, 2007
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Possible more quality control back then indeed, but i think its worth mentioning that games back then were a lot simpler, so quality control was most likely much easier as well. Not to mention that many older games do have glitches and bugs, but perhaps not game breaking. Its the same thing today, at least after my experience. I have not experienced many games in these days that are so buggy that its unplayable.
 

Adam Blue

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Oct 5, 2007
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While all of these answers are correct, more advanced tech contributes to this too. Pubs can back off a bit without having the best visuals. Why are there still loading times? When stuff like that gets streamlined, then advanced things can be focused on.
 

Dsyndrome

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Jun 12, 2014
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We fucking avoided them liked the plague and hoped they wouldn't materialize, sometimes they did a recall.

Pretty much what's been said. I do think the overall # of bugs nowadays seems higher and more game-breaking (Skyrim PS3, Evil Within, etc.) , but probably just nostalgia-tinted glasses.
 

erawsd

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Apr 5, 2012
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Reissues (so first run copies were just fucked, but they could probably exchange) or people just lived with them.

A lot of games were shipped with game-breaking bugs or poor performance and people just kind of lived with it, because what was the alternative?
Yep. WWF No Mercy had a save corruption bug and THQ provided an address to send in effect copies and they'd send you a working one. It took around a month for me to get my new one.

Nintendo had to do the same thing with Twilight Princess. I never did send mine in though.
 

entremet

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Dec 6, 2008
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Later revisions. Gamebreaking bugs were very rare.

To say that games had no bugs was a fallacy. Look at speed runs. The bugs were just more obscure due to game testing being much easier for less complex 2D based games.
 

deltatheta

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Oct 13, 2013
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When the faced with the cost of a recall, I imagine management somehow found the budget to do a lot of testing before release.
 

oni-link

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Aug 26, 2014
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This is why it's always confusing when people say day one patches/the ability to patch games now is a good thing

It's only a good thing if you don't buy the game at launch, if you buy the game at launch, and at full price, you always get a worse experience than if you buy the game 6 months later for 1/3 of the cost

We live in an era where the industry rewards you for buying their product in a way that sees them get less money
 

Kriken

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Dec 7, 2013
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The best example of a reissue I can think of is OoT and that was more for religious reasons than actual bugs
 

EatinOlives

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Oct 23, 2011
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1) Games were far less complex back in the day, which had a double advantage: far less bugs to fix, far more time to fix them.

2) A few bugs still existed in games, though few and far between. New, bug-fixed versions were put into future copies of the game print run. In extreme cases the games were recalled, but I never even knew this happened until I read about it a couple years ago.

I think Miyamoto is talking more about game design rather than bugs and glitches. Bugs and glitches can be fixed, so its not true that the games will be bad forever if the only reason the game is bad is because of some bugs =)
And even still Nintendo themselves have rushed a few major releases. Nothing as bad as AC: Unity, of course.
 

KarmaCow

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Sep 13, 2009
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Games are also not only significantly more complex with parts that can't be fully tested before launch, but are also the product of multiple disjointed moving parts within a company. That's not to excuse the bugs and failures like Unity but it's also not fair to bring up games from the NES era (which also had some egregious mistakes).
 

Vice

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Dec 23, 2009
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Small changes to fix bugs in future copies of the game. So, 1.00 of Ocarina of Time might let you backflip through the Temple of Time door but 1.02 wouldn't.
 
Sep 4, 2009
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Some got recalled

Some were delayed

Some were tested better ( this went hand in hand with the game being delayed)

Sometimes there was a first run with bugs that the second run didnt
 

captmcblack

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Oct 4, 2004
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Some games had bugs/glitches, and often those things were the kind of things you could use to exploit the game like cheats or codes (like W-Item in FF7, or holding buttons on P2 controller to become undead/invincible in Mega Man 3 or something). There have been revisions and bug-fixes to games that handled minor things, input/graphical changes and so on for cartridge releases and even CDs/DVDs on older consoles.

...but no game ever released in those days that flat-out didn't work or had non-functioning features. You'd have to recall the whole thing at huge cost...and the word of mouth for a broken game would tank that game forever.

Computer games definitely shipped more easily with killer errors however, but those have always been easier to patch; the paradigm for PC gaming is different than that for console gaming in every way, from price to media for release and so on.
 

SFenton

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Nov 13, 2012
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Not a bug, but Spider-Man 2 PS1 got completely reissued, as the final boss was fought in to of the Twin Towers. So for big stuff like that, games were reissued.
 
Mar 10, 2005
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Well that's a nice fictionalised account of events.
Are you joking? Do people really not remember the days of Warrior Within's game-stopping bugs (like endgame portals just not appearing), SpaceStation Silicon Valley freezing if you had an expansion pack in/making it impossible to 100% the game because not all the items would populate, Twilight Princess' save bug, calling the Nintendo Hintline because you got yourself somewhere you can't get out and them just telling you that you need to revert to an earlier save, the DKC2 Castle Crush glitch that can straight up make the game unplayable, constant NES games freezing or softlocking, or how hacked together and glitch-filled Pokemon Red/Blue were?

Shit was pretty broken back then, too. Just 1) We didn't notice as much, 2) You paid money for the game and lived with it, 3) It wasn't that games were more complete, the person whose portals wouldn't start in Warrior Within just didn't have a platform to say the game was broken (it was really fucking broken).

That certainly doesn't excuse how bad it is now, but let's not pretend 1985 - 2006 was some kind of utopia where everything worked and no one had any problems.
 

Mr. Poolman

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Jul 2, 2012
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Back then, when patches were not possible, did the game makers do a better job with quality control? Now days, they can patch games easily, did this allow them to do less quality control before release?
This is correct.

PC games ALWAYS had bugs, and sadly the consoles learned this last gen and now this ship has sailed.
 

bigbaldwolf86

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Aug 30, 2012
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QA was actually a thing back then seeing as once the game was out it had to be right. Were they all perfect? No. But games ran as they should most of the time.
 
Jun 18, 2013
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There are tons of revisions for games out there pre-patching age, but it's hard to think of many games that were critically broken when they shipped. That was a pretty rare occurence, outside of games just being objectively terrible with bad design, etc.