In a pretty amusing Twitter thread in which game designers admit to goofy and horrible mistakes, Ultima Online creator Raph Koster owned up to a silly error that managed to do what the Grinch could not: stop Christmas.
The culprit? Christmas trees. “We didn’t have art for them,” Koster wrote, “so I attached a script to a generic pine that spawned the little colored gemstones we did have and vertically offset them. Then they each had a script with periodic callbacks to appear and vanish, so they twinkled.
“Then we gave one Xmas tree to every player who logged in. Thousands of trees each with twenty callbacks on approx one second intervals. The message queue overloaded on every server and crashed the entire service. On Christmas. I had the week off.”