As a necessary introduction: I’m Scottish. Welcome to a series on fandom.
The first video game exploit I can remember using is the Missingno glitch in Pokemon Red. It was… odd. The stuff of rumour and legend on the playground until you tried it for yourself.
At the beginning, I’d grind, hard, for interminable, tedious hours, gameplay being padded out with pointless battles to gain experience. Hours of time were spent walking in circles, finding the same enemy, beating it senseless, then walking in circles again, just to make my pixelated sprites strong enough that I could access the next area of the game.
There was no skill to it, no sense of my becoming honed, hardened, better at the game. Maths dictated that I would eventually win, and I did, by rotely calling for the same attack after attack after attack until a MIDI fanfare signalled victory.
And then, about two thirds of the way through the game, the glitch presented itself. Go talk to someone in the early game, immediately fly to a completely different place, swim idly up and down a ten metre stretch of coastline until a hellish, Dr Moreau-ian snarl of symbols and lines garbles its way onto your screen. Defeat this strangely underpowered abomination however you please. And presto! Whatever item was in a specific place in your inventory has multiplied itself a thousand-fold.
The relentless grind of having to gain experience immediately melts away. The tension of challenging a powerful opponent vanishes. The game immediately becomes a stately victory procession, a gentle, unhindered prance. There’s still no measure of how good you are at the game but who cares? You’re winning!
On a not entirely unrelated note, Scotland’s opening world cup match resulted in a 45-10 win over Japan.