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What Video Game Glitches Can Teach Us About Scientific Research

Speedrunning is a hobby with a simple goal: beating video games as quickly as possible. Beneath the surface, though, things are more complicated—rather than just sprinting from the beginning to the end, runners often use tricks and exploit glitches that push game engines to their breaking points. While some of these techniques are uncovered by the runners, many are found by dedicated glitch hunters, people who investigate the mechanics of games in search of ways to exploit them. Looking at the work of glitch hunters reveals a fascinating subculture that can tell us something, surprisingly enough, about the process of scientific research.