Should exist? There's 8 questions right now, but more would fit.

It has no Usage Guidance right now, so it doesn't seem official yet?

There's 28 questions mentioning "glitch" without having that tag...


Then there's the older question of:

Are questions about bugs in retro games on topic?

Which ended with 4 total upvotes for Yes.


3 Answers 3


'Glitch' isn't a real term, but a placeholder for various symptoms/assumptions/impressions. Using this as a tag would make any search rather useless. If a real symptom/impression/etc is found, than this may be useful as tag, but 'glitch' should not.

  • 'Glitch' isn't a real term, but a placeholder for various symptoms/assumptions/impressions — a.k.a. ‘it’s not a bug, it’s a feature’ Commented Oct 10, 2020 at 18:09
  • @user3840170 spot on :)
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Oct 10, 2020 at 20:48
  • More like "well, it worked when I tried it" ?
    – dave
    Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 2:43

When I was growing up in the 90s, the books I read drew a distinction that a bug originated in software while a glitch originated in hardware.

(eg. bad connections like you'd get from cartridge tilting, broken traces, failed capacitors, etc.)

If we want the tag to be meaningful, I'd go in that direction.

  • This is indeed the canonical distinction, according to Wreck-it Ralph. Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 21:39

To me, glitch seems just a gaming-specific synonym for a software bug, especially one that:

  • keeps the game running (this is probably the most important property);
  • violates the intended game mechanics;
  • results from a low-level problem such as overflow, race condition or memory corruption, as opposed to a logic error (e.g. sequence-breaking a puzzle);
  • may require actions not usually performed in normal gameplay to be triggered;
  • can be used to the player’s advantage.

Sometimes glitch is used in the meaning of ‘exploit’ instead, like in the expression perform the glitch.

Given that low-level bugs tend to happen more often in software written in low-level languages, and that includes most games considered ‘retro’, I figure there might be quite a lot of those that would fit within the scope of retrocomputing.

We don’t seem to have a tag for software bugs in general (not that there aren’t some questions for which one would fit, like the one about Y2K), but if one existed, perhaps could be merged into it. But I can also see some value in keeping it separate.

Later: I have created and applied it to a number of questions; in some, would have clearly been inappropriate.

  • Glitch as a term is older than game software. It was already used in electronics (debugging) in the 60s.
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 14:28
  • @Raffzahn yes, but with a very different meaning Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 8:23
  • 2
    I have long used, and still use, 'glitch' as any sort of minor but irritating and probably not 100% repeatable bug in a computer system, in the hardware or software. I don't think my use is unusual, either. If there is such a tag, it should not be construed as specific to game-playing.
    – dave
    Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 2:41

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