Software bugs. If you're a gamer, you've no doubt encountered one at some point.
If you've played Skyrim, you've definitely encountered one.
Over the weekend, our own E. Zachary Knight put out a small game called Dragon Fire (pictured). You're a dragon. You fire at enemies. If the enemies fly into you too many times, you lose. Simple and fun.
Unfortunately, in the initial release, if you sucked at the game and kept selecting the option to "Play Again," eventually your dragon would stop spitting fire. Kind of a game-breaking bug, that.
What do you have to say for yourself, Zachary?
"...no matter how simple a game is, it is always important to play test it. Not just you, however. You should try to get a third party in to test as well. Someone who is not as close to the project as yourself. Someone who will play the game in a way that you would not. As you see, while I tested to make sure the game started over upon selecting “Play Again”, I did not properly test that the game continued to play as expected upon playing again.
Of course, this is all avoiding the most important aspect of play testing, the impact on you the gamer. You have all played games recently, whether browser based, PC or console, that have glaring bugs that only a blind, deaf and mute person could miss. These bugs that break your immersion in the gaming experience and drive you nuts. Proper play testing helps avoid all that. It is up to us the developer to make sure that you the gamer has the best experience possible when you pick up our game. Our paying (or in some cases non-paying) customers should never be forced to participate in a beta-testing experiment. Unfortunately, many game developers force you into that role. That is a disservice to you. It is one thing to invite you into a beta experience, but a completely other thing to trick you into one under the guise of playing a finished product.
Final verdict, play test and play test again. When you think you are done, play test some more. Only then can you release the best game possible, which gamers deserve."
Source: Divine Knight Gaming
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen