Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Glitching is Not Cheating

As someone who enjoys watching and doing lots of speed runs, there is nothing that irks me more than some idiot in a comment on a video going "durr, you just used glitches to get through the game, this is cheating".  Using glitches within the game isn't cheating and I thought I'd take a moment to explain why.

First of all, let's define the term "cheating".  Cheating, as far as I and most others are concerned, is where people use some kind of code or some kind of external device (Game Genie for example) to change the way the game is played.  For example, codes used to skip or select levels are great examples of cheats.  Another good example of a cheat are the codes found in things such as GTA in order to just make guns and vehicles materialize right out of no where.  You are changing the rules of the game in order to win and that's why it is called cheating.

Glitching is something completely different and it involves exploiting things that the developers either didn't notice during testing or thought that no one would find.  The absolute best example of something like this is the glitch in Ocarina of Time that warps you from the first dungeon to the final showdown with Gannon.  Even though you are achieving a cheat-like effect (skipping most of the game), the method to achieve this is completely different from cheating.  You aren't tapping in a code and selecting the final battle, in the case of Ocarina of Time you are manipulating something in the games code by using a specific set of actions.  The game essentially "fucks up" and drops you off at the wrong spot and what speed runners do is trigger these fuck ups on purpose in order to make a game faster.

This is very simplistic but think of it this way, a cheat requires no skill in order to pull of while a glitch usually requires the player to do a lot of backwards ass shit that you'd never be expected to do in normal play in order to make work.  Another example could be found in Sonic 3 where there is a level select code that has to be input during the appearance of the SEGA logo.  If you put the code in correctly you can select any level you like and skip anything you came before it.  In a speed run they skip levels but in a very different way.  Using a technique that I think is called screen wrapping, they manipulate the sprite and or the camera in order to enter walls and zip through the stage to the end.  This isn't as easy as just tapping a few directions when starting up the game and requires a great deal of good timing and positioning and fucking it up will usually lose you time.

Maybe I've not done a particularly good job of explaining it but I've tried.  Recreating glitches at will actually takes a fair amount of skill and it's kind of insulting to see a speed run that someone put a lot of time and effort into get shit on by some idiot in a comment section who doesn't understand what he or she is watching.   

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