Top 10 Hardest Video Games Ever Made

Contra (1987)


A lot of people remember this game as being relatively easy, and it could be – assuming you cheated. The famous Konami code would give you 30 lives, but if you instead tried to play without it, you are given only three lives, and any random pixel coming at you could spell doom. With no regenerating life, no armor, and no cover, all you can do in this game is run and run and run.


F-Zero GX” (2004)

This is the equivalent of trying to drive a bobsled with nitro boosters. F-Zero GX is high-speed racer where because your vehicles travel so fast, judging the turns and obstacles require some insane memorization and twitch reflexes, especially on the harder tracks. Oh and the game’s story mode is crazy too, reportedly taking months of attempts to beat.


Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening (2005)

After the 2nd game nerfed the difficulty, Capcom went a little bit overboard with DMC3. What happened is that the North American and European Normal mode of the game, was the Japanese version’s Hard mode. Capcom was even so aware that this game was hard and rereleased the game a year later as Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition, with a toned down difficulty. Ahhh only the Japanese…


Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (1987)

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!!

Before he ran afoul of the law and his accountants, Mike Tyson was one of the greatest, most feared boxers in the world. The rest of the game is generally fondly remembered, from the confidence building Glass Joe to the soft drink addicted Soda Popinski. It was fun, pattern-based boxing that required quick reactions and memorization. Until you got to Tyson. One punch from him knocks Little Mac to the mat, and Little Mac’s punches do almost nothing. Those exclamation points in the title are out of frustration.


Ninja Gaiden (1988)

Ninja Gaiden

This whole series is a beast to play, and even today the franchise prides itself on your tears. The original though… if the phrase “those damn birds!” doesn’t mean anything, then you probably haven’t played the game. Fast enemies come from all directions with deadly accurate aim. Your timing, especially when it comes to blocking, must be perfect or else you’ll get destroyed. The only plus was that you could continue. And your reward for defeating the final boss? Another final boss. And then another.


I Wanna Be The Guy (2007)

Created as a love letter to the horrifically difficult games of old, I Wanna Be The Guy: The Movie: The Game is hard enough to make you smash your head onto your computer keyboard. Every cheap shot this game can throw at you, it does. You have to be completely on your toes to make it just a few feet without dying. It is a game that you tip toe through and even then you’ll probably end up as a cascading fountain of 8-bit blood.


Castlevania (1986)

Castlevania set a kind of standard for insanely difficult games, a standard that kept on moving through the retro era like a never-ending gauntlet of razor-sharp rotor-blades. And though Castlevania is undoubtably a difficult game (and an influentially difficult one at that), you get a sense that it takes a real pride in its difficulty. And at least it’s semi-fair. Well, sort of.

Take a look at the way each level is laid out – perfectly so, as if to ensure that every single touch of your controller is perfectly timed. Then there’s the endless array of enemies designed purposely to give you brain ache. We won’t mention that the same endless array of enemies will knock down half your health should they hit you, or the fact that you can’t move whilst jumping.


Dark Souls (2011)

But unlike other games here, Demon’s Souls found itself somewhat praised for its difficulty level, presumably because it proposed a genuine challenge to avid gamers who’ve had to put up with genuinely easy games for the past decade or so. Demon’s Souls just took no prisoners and shocked everyone as a result.

Why’s it so hard, you ask? Well, how about a lack of health items, brutally insane boss fights, and a lack of checkpoints (for starters)? Besides that, many of the enemies you encounter in the game’s “dark fantasy” world can kill you in 2 or 3 hits. Simply put, it’s a game of trial and error, albeit one that makes you feel damn good about yourself should you succeed. Still, it’s constantly frustrating as heck, so don’t play this one if you’ve got a notoriously bad temper or a tendency to hit your siblings.


Ghosts ‘n Goblins (1985)

Ghosts'n Goblins

Armor in medieval times must have been made out of tissue paper. Cause in this game you play as a knight named Arthur, where one touch can strip you to your underwear, and a second can strip your skin. The main reason why the game is so hard is because when you jump in the air, you can’t change direction midair, so one wrong step and its streaking through a warzone for you. Oh and to add further insult to injury, once you beat the game, you have to beat it all over again to get the real ending.


Battletoads (1991)


Want to experience true video game frustration? Grab a friend and take on this maddening adventure. Dark Souls may expect you to “git gud,” but Battletoads expects you and a friend to be part of some sort of collective hivemind, since its really easy to hit each other, and its made even worse by the fact that if just one of you dies, you both have to restart the level. But all that is nothing as even with just one player there’s the infamous tunnel level, the level few have ever beaten.

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