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This article is about the techinical definition of a glitch. For a list of glitches in the series, see List of glitches in the Mother series
The Check Area glitch in EarthBound

A glitch, also known as a bug, is an error in software that causes unintended behavior. Glitches are common in video games, including the EarthBound series. Glitches are a result of a code in the software not working properly, or by players using an exploit that was not intended by the game designers. While some gitches can ranges from minor graphical oddities to being major game breaking exploits that can allow players to do things that were not intended be possible for players to do.

When noticed the programmers will fix the glitch in later releases or update patches. An example is the bread crumbs glitch in Mother that was fixed in the English release of the game, EarthBound Beginnings.

Examples of glitches

Bread crumbs glitch

The bread crumbs glitch in the Famicom version of Mother

The bread crumbs glitch is exclusive to Mother (both the Famicom/NES and GBA versions), as mentioned above. In the first method, the player must have Pippi drop a trail of bread crumbs and then return her to the mayor. When talked to she will return all the items, including the bread crumbs, to the player. Upon using the crumbs, the player will be warped to a glitched location on the map. This glitch allows players to walk anywhere on the map, making it commonly used in speedruns. This glitch is caused because each party member has a separate variable for leaving a trail of crumbs, since Ninten has not set a variable because he didn't drop the bread crumbs, there is no point on the map for the player to return to and as a result puts them in coordinate 0,0.

This method of the glitch was patched in EarthBound Beginnings and the GBA port in Mother 1+2, by preventing Pippi from giving the bread crumbs back to the player.

Bread crumbs glitch in the Mother side of Mother 1+2

There's another method, which can only be done legitimately on the GBA port (it can work on the original NES version, but it requires a walk through walls cheat because the movement on this version is grid-based, which doesn't allow the player to go to that specific spot). It involves going to a specific spot near the Reindeer train station. The player has to use the Bread on that spot then immediately use the bread crumbs to go out of bounds. Just like the first method, it allows the player to walk anywhere on the map. It is however not commonly used in RTA speedruns due to the fact that the glitch only occurs on the middle part of the game, but if the speedrunner didn't lose significant time on the previous segments, this glitch can still significantly save time by skipping the need for obtaining the eight melodies.

Condiments glitch

The condiments glitch allows players to use a recovery item an indefinite amount of times. To do this they must have a recovery item after a condiment in the inventory, next they must enter a battle and use the recovery item. The result is the only the condiment will be used but the recovery item is not, allowing them to use it again. This glitch can be abused by players to have a rare or expensive recovery item, such as the Brain food lunch, be used as many times as they want. A famous example is using this glitch with a Rock Candy to increase a character's stats to incredible amounts.

This glitch was fixed in the Mother 2 port in Mother 1+2.

Glitch enemies

M3 Almost Mecha-Lion sprite.png
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Glitch enemies are enemies in Mother 3 that are not intended to be fought. They are the result of portions of the game's coding being called for enemy data that were not intended to be used for that purpose. A lot of these enemies do not have sprites and instead are indeterminate sprites such as black squares, and most have unused backgrounds, such as an unused background resembling Lucas and Claus. Some enemies have glitch attacks, such as "PK Ω" which functions as Hypnosis Ω.

The hexadecimal identifiers for these enemies are "bf" (191) to "ff" (255); the enemies identified by "01" through "be" (190) are, with only two exceptions, enemies used in the game. Those two exceptions are the only sprited, more-complete unused enemies in Mother 3: the Tiny Forest and the Alkaline Man.