Expectations for game stability differ depending on what title is being released—the wretched state of Fallout: New Vegas at launch didn't seem to hurt the game—but we expect games to be playable, at least partially. Yesterday's launch of the independent and satirical title Magicka wasn't just problematic, the game has been completely unplayable during our testing.
The co-op, fantasy-based game is supposed to be a funny, low-cost alternative to Diablo clones, with an innovative element system for magical spells and team play. Game breaking-bugs kept us from launching even a single game to test those claims.
The official forum has a list of bugs players are experiencing, but the real truth is that the game is fundamentally broken. Last night we had four players attempt to play, and sometimes it crashed, sometimes it didn't launch at all. At one point the menus disappeared so I couldn't make any selections. Online play is completely broken, with games not showing up in the server browser, and LAN play is likewise nonfunctional. The single-player also has numerous bugs, making the game impossible to play.
Developer brags while gamers face palm
Magicka has enjoyed positive buzz from PC gamers, and interest in the title was high. I had even convinced three of my friends to buy the $10 game so we could play co-op, and I have a feeling they're going to be slightly more skeptical of my recommendations in the future. According to the game's developer, Magicka has sold 30,000 copies since launch.