This is just for the gamer dorks- for some reason, during Mission Impossible, I started to think about the hardest video games I had ever played, and I went through all the options, and repeatedly it came back to the hard mode on Ninja Gaiden Black. I think I broke 4 xbox controllers because of that game.
What was the hardest game you ever played?
Contra… without The Code.
There are a couple of old NES games that resulted in me losing gaming privileges as a kid.
Battletoads on the NES. The Turbo Tunnel still gives me nightmares.
Boggle. I am not fast enough to sort through the letters to win. Especially against my sister who knows all 26 of them.
I never played Ninja Gaiden Black, but all the Ninja Gaiden games are notoriously hard. I had to use an emulator and reload dozens of times to beat the original. But Battletoads is still harder than that.
Ninja Turtles 1 for NES. I could never get through the swimming stage. EVER. Granted I was in like 4th grade but it was demoralizing.
The first TMNT game for SNES. Not the multiplayer one. This one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWh6975PSfs&feature=youtube_gdata_player
I beat it after playing it for like a month and never turned it on again
Not sure what the hardest was, but my guild made it into Naxx during vanilla Warcraft was a biggie. Just making it in – with 40 folk geared enough to make realistic attempts was pretty hard. Never even got Razuvius down; saw 1 guy in full Tier 3 during BC – no clue if he got it after the level cap jumped or not.
Rogue. Most people play for years before sniffing the amulet.
Donkey Kong. Didn’t waste too many quarters on that one.
I guess making it to Naxx wasn’t hard in the sense of “this level is hard”, but more in the sense of “this effort is immense”. Helping guildies farm, making sure everyone was geared, learning what to do… there was a lot to it.
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards
Well I don’t know what the hardest game I played but I do know the game that my son and I broke the most joysticks. Is that hard? It was the first Star Wars simulation. I suppose that was pretty hard.
Any first person shooter where I’m the worst person playing.
Either Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Galaga, or Asteroids. Or Centipede.
Or was it Dig Dug?
Makes me think of the long past pin ball machines. Anyone recall Magnetron?
I just wanted to say that I can do that TMNT swimming level in my sleep.
Battletoads on NES…that fucking hoverbike level.
Bard’s Tale 3 was insanely hard. I also remember some Chuck Yeager Flight Simulator that was about as complicated as flying an actual plane.
@Jennifer: Mr. cat and I loved Leisure Suit Larry! Those games were hilarious! We would laugh literally until we cried.
I haven’t been laid in years but I could pick up that boxy controller right now and disarm those mines like kids play.
The game of love.
It started a long time ago in the Garden of Eden.
Probably need some parameters on this though. Pac Man arcade is technically winnable by reaching level 256 – which is the kill screen. Most of us have played it, but not many people can reach the kill screen. Mostly it’s just grinding rather than hard. I don’t consider grinding to be ‘hard’. I also don’t consider games like the old adventure games to be hard either. Once you know how to win, it’s trivial to repeat it. A hard game is one that’s still challenging even when you’ve already won it once, but also not so random that skill isn’t irrelevant.
@jharp: I think both Donkey Kong and Dig Dug have kill screens as well -so winnable.
BB gun wars. Rural IN woods, 1970s.
Fucking Mega Man. Fuck you Yellow Devil, fuck you forever.
Digital Devil Saga 1 and 2. Also Nocturne. They really make you work to get through those games.
For non-RPGs, definitely the Mega Man Zero series.
@Mark S.: I’m replaying Bards Tale now on the iPad. Includes 2 and 3 as well. Well worth the $1.99.
Halo Reach on Legendary Solo … I’ve heard that Dark Souls is incredibly challenging, and I think I’m going to give that a shot next.
The final battle of the first GOW with General Rahn on Hardcore was near impossible.
Oh good. I was going to be upset if more than a dozen posts went by without Battletoads being mentioned.
Damn kids today don’t know what hard is. It took me 15 years to get past stage 3 of Battletoads!
Speaking of Mission Impossible, there was an NES Mission Impossible game that was hard as balls.
Might and Magic 6. Took me six months.
The Getaway PS2 was pretty tough. Level 8 was probably the hardest. It took me several weeks.
I don’t break my controllers. I tend to destroy my thumbs though.
I wonder if propaganda contractors hire other contractors to protect themselves from reporters, or do they represent themselves. No one should represent themselves, I assume, since a creep is probably his own worst counsel.
The prophet Nostradumbass
I don’t remember which one, but there was a soccer game on either the Playstation or Sega Genesis that made me break a couple of controllers.
@ReinWeiss: Listen, skippy. We were defining and redefining hard long before anyone dreamed up fighting toads.
Metal Gear Solid 4 for PS3 on The Boss Extreme level. I’m a hardcore MG fan and I almost gave up at several points in the story.
Tetris gave me permanent carpal tunnel problems. Goddamned Russians.
@Martin: They made a movie about it:
Persona 3, The Answer scenario. Nearly snapped my controller clean in half after being killed by the third mob I bumped into. When they say “Hard Mode” in an Atlus game, they friggin’ mean “Hard Mode”.
lots of games can be murder on the hardest difficulty setting (Doom on Nightmare, anyone?) Also, lots of games can be near unbeatable. Take Robotron 9000, for example. Or the original Tron, which is legendarily impossible to make it all the way through.
So for this one, I’m going to have to pick one that’s not a repetitive memorizational reflex grind of the arcade/NES variety, that is actually beatable, but where one mistake can destroy hours and hours of gameplay, and one where you’re *constantly* on edge.
That would be Dead Space 2, Hardcore Mode. An entire story-based, very difficult 1st-person horror shooter. And you get only 3 saves throughout the whole thing. It’s probably the single xbox achievement of which I’m most proud.
Kos had an image of Ted Nugent wearing a confederate flag shirt at a concert. Fuck you, traitor.
I don’t think it had a “kill screen.” When I was in college, a couple of guys played it through to a point where it gave them a hundred bonus cities and started over at level 1. They (and anyone else who wanted to take over) played for the rest of the day until they got tired of it. I didn’t actually witness this myself, but someone I knew was there.
It’s possible that was just a bug, though.
I died over and over again playing Diablo II.
@Brad: Cool, I should find that. Was never a Donkey Kong fan, though. I remember the first time I rolled over the score on a Defender machine – thought I must have been the best player ever, but no – learned that many others got there before me. Spy Hunter was my favorite – I’d play for hours and then just walk away. Never did find out if it rolled over or killed.
Robotron 2084, the arcade version. It gave the illusion that you could win just by being able to simultaneously move and shoot in any direction. LOL.
Badass game, lots to do, but the controls (PC) took some getting used to.
(I’ll be hitting Witcher 2 shortly after I wrap Skyrim.)
I’m not much into the the arcade style games, though.
ok, i’ll go over a few that you guys mentioned.
1. Ninja Gaiden Black. beat it on normal mode. i wasn’t masochistic enough to beat it on hard.
2. Ninja Turtles 1 and Contra. Ninja Turtles is hard but it just wasn’t that fun for me. Contra is the same way.
3. Leisure Suit Larry Land of the Lounge Lizards. had this game as a kid. i felt like it was bullshit cos i could never figure out what i had to say or do to advance the story line. annoying, but it i did get some chills running up my leg from the racy content. ( I was a kid for gawdsake!)
4. Metroid for NES. this game is not really super hard but i played it as a kid with my buddies and it took us an extremely long time to get to Mother Brain. the fake lava and other stuff like that made it pretty exciting. we were over the moon when we finally beat it and Samus turned out to be a chick. :O
now for my hardest game:
Donkey Kong Jr. for the arcade. fuck this game is difficult. like it’s predecessor it’s all about timing and the random movements of the enemies. you certainly don’t jump as high later games by this designer (mario bros), and it is just basically merciless.
there is a joint around the corner from my house, bar actually, that has some old games that are playable for free until they get their gaming license from city. the games are Donkey Kong Jr., Galaga, Mortal Kombat, and some Skee Balls thingamajigs.
i currently have the high score on Donkey Kong Jr. at like 47,000 which makes me an epic legend in the eyes of the hipster patrons, but pales in comparison to some of the masters of this game.
For a slightly more modern example, I never even bothered to play Civ II at any difficulty level higher than the second. I liked it for the exploration and construction, and at any higher level, the AI was brutal enough that it was no fun.
The prophet Nostradumbass
Okay, it’s not a video game, but something that has made me want to throw things at the TV is the performance of the San Jose Sharks in the NHL playoffs.
@jharp: Yeah, Magnetron was cool. The Black Knight was cooler, though.
Badass intro as well.
@Redshift: The kill screens themselves were bugs. Thats why they usually die at level 256 – the level was a 1 byte value and it’d overflow. Sounds like Missile Command coped with that on the level counter. I wonder if it’d kill if the city counter hit 256.
It’s why I suspect Spy Hunter would never kill – there were no discrete levels, you could never get 256 lives, and the score was large enough to require a very large result to overflow. I wasn’t nearly that patient.
The hardest game I’ve ever played on any platform was Battle Squadron for the Sega Genesis.
Vertically scrolling shooter.
@RadioOne: Robotron really was a fantastic game. Given how good I was as Defender, I should have been good at Roboton, but I could never really cope with everything that was going on.
@Martin: Ah, I see. Maybe the level counter overflowed into the city counter.
I suspect that Spy Hunter was advanced enough that the code wasn’t packed quite that tight.
I remember the puzzles of Bioforge being somewhat tricky for my undersized brain, and getting immense satisfaction figuring them out and reaching the end of that game.
Also, the boss fight against Doom’s Cyberdemon was also pretty hard, and also terrifying at the same time. I had no idea what was stomping around out there, and then when I did find out and it shot rockets at me, where one shot could kill me, well…
Meh. All the Bard’s Tales were simple (as were the Ultimas).
Just need some graph paper and some notepads.
Excellent games, to be sure, but not hard.
MegaMan 3 for NES.. once you make it through the first 8 guys, playing through all the bosses the second time around.. seriously all of my rage
Ahhh, I hadn’t thought of Bioforge in years.
I think it was the first game I saw with a cinematic dynamically-tracking camera.
Shame Origin got eated.
Marcellus Shale, Public Dick
The battle against Duriel is especially brutal, as you’re stuck in that tiny room, there is nothing to hide behind, and he freezes you too. That was probably the hardest battle in all of DII. I died so many times. Diablo himself was actually relatively easy.
It’s interesting that so many of the games people are bringing up here are in this article. I’m not sure why, but I have never played any of them, although I did play the original MDK.
I’ve been a PC gamer my whole life and have never owned a console, so I think that that’s part of it: the hardest games tend to be console games. I wonder if that’s due to the PC’s early focus on strategy and RPG over action, then when more action based titles did take off on PC, the challenge was to be had online against other humans, perhaps the most difficult opponent of all in an even matchup.
The game I probably wasted the most time playing was Final Fantasy VII.
Bells, frogs, big cherries, little bear, magic cheese, Sephiroth!
The hardest part of WoW is running a damn guild and getting 10, 25, or 40 people to all cooperate and do their freaking jobs night after night after arduous headache inducing night.
Other than that Ninja Gaiden 1 or 2. 3 just sucked.
Level 8 of Monster Manor on the 3DO.
There just isn’t quite enough ammo to kill all the things one needs to kill, nor enough health powerups to compensate. I’ve made three serious attempts; never succeeded.
It’s all Leo Schwab’s fault.
Painkiller Battle Out Of Hell on difficulty level “Trauma”
Centipedes gets dreadfully hard after a while; I have no idea if there’s an ending. When the trackball is covered with blood from my broken skin, I’ve got to quit.
Second vote for Stargate Defender.
not hardest but best-beloved:
Because they never made a single-player sequel to “Return To Castle Wolfenstein”, the only game I really care about any more is Half-Life. I’ve been jonesing, waiting for Half-Life 2 Episode 3, for five years.
@William: Yes. Battle toads wins. You.d have to record a tape to memorize the sequence in the tunnel.
@thereisnospoon: Holy crap! Dead space on only 3saves? At least they ditched the turret sections.
@Arclite: A friend of ours had the Ghouls and Ghosts console in his house. I wasn’t very good, but getting my ass kicked by his 7 year old pretty much ended any personal efforts to improve.
serious sam , serious level
Baron Jrod of Keeblershire
I Wanna Be The Guy is brutally, unfairly difficult. Most people won’t make it past the first screen. I beat this one on difficult. Give it a try.
Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup is the pinnacle of roguelike design IMO. Relentlessly difficult but usually fair. Usually. However, when you die your save is erased. One life is all you get, and if you die you’re starting over. Definitely try this one out, it’s loads of fun even if you know you’ll never win. I made it into the final area once with a Spriggan Wizard, but have never beaten it.
And that’s all the links I can use, but I’ll list a few more for the hard game lovers.
The Binding of Isaac. Not actually that tough once you get the hang of it, or maybe I’m just awesome. This game is freaking sweet though, and it’s dirt cheap on Steam.
Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. I can’t believe they weren’t mentioned yet. Both great games that force you to learn if you want to succeed.
Bayonetta. My favorite game of 2010. This game is a rarity in that easy mode is actually really really easy while hard modes are ridiculously tough. The best beat-em-up ever? It’s on the short list. A must play.
As long as we’re talking hard games, I’m beaten all the original Mega Man games. Except 8, which was terrible. I never beat Battletoads, but I made it to the last boss a few times. I bet I could still run the whole speeder level no problem.
The best part of Battletoads was the 2-player. I don’t think I ever made it past level 2 with a friend before somebody accidentally kills the other. From there it’s a downward spiral of retribution until game over pops up. Fun times. Good luck finding two human beings who can get through the Turbo Tunnel anyway.
I got a little more than 3/4 through that game, I think, but that was as far as I could ever get. I hit a wall and just stopped playing.
I could never beat Abadox, either. Or Ghouls and Ghosts.
If you want to try the game with the world’s steepest learning curve, there’s always Dwarf Fortress.
A Humble Lurker
Part 2 and 3 are my favorites.
I was proud of myself for beating Mass Effect 3 on insanity.
Baron Jrod of Keeblershire
@wetcasements: It was really hard not making a pile of my Mass Effect games and setting them on fire after I got to the ending of Mass Effect 3. I was planning to run through all three games again with another character, but not anymore. God damn that was an awful ending.
Magnetron was cool, but King Kool was the best pinball machine of all time.
The hardest video game? Missile Command. Fucking impossible. Centipede and Galaga weren’t far behind.
@Geoduck: Another DF player? Playing right now and awaiting the next update to jump back on the forum and start up another DFM. It’s been a while.
ghouls and ghosts was pretty tough. took me a while to beat on the nintendo version.
on the arcade version i would usually die relatively early on. maybe on the level 3 boss.
Little late, but the last part of the “The bridge” in Left4Dead2. Jeezus that was a hard. We kept getting killed by zombies hordes or some asshole tank would nail us good. But man, so awesome when we escape. L4D2, best game evah!
Witcher 2 is visually one of the most beautiful games I have ever played. Seriously awesome. I love fighting in it too.. the opening scene is just a wonder.
Why back in my day we used to just throw rocks at other rocks. And we were grateful!
My arcade era begins with pinball, foosball and Pong. It ends somewhere around Mario Brothers. The combat games were the ones that really defeated me. I never got beyond randomly flailing at the punch and kick buttons. That, plus the embarrassment of being a 20-something in a room full of 14-year-olds kind of did it for me.
Never bought an Xbox or Wii or other home unit. Did play PC games. The mention of Leisure Suit Larry brings back fond memories.
In the last few years I’ve kind of gotten addicted to free online Flash games. I tend to play one obsessively for awhile till I max it or hit a wall. Currently playing Moby Dick 2 and have probably tried 50 times to get past level 22 with no luck so far.
86 comments, and nobody has mentioned the only game I’ve ever played that has a learning curve so steep it’s actually concave?
It will kick your ass in under one month. And if you make it past the month, you shall be called a god amongst gods.
I assume everyone complaining about the Turbo Tunnel in the original Battletoads never got to the Hypno Orb level, which is both a tougher vehicle level and unplayably bugged in 2-player mode. Bayonetta got mentioned; God Hand probably also belongs on this list. I also have yet to see past about the third level of Radiant Silvergun.
Just dropping in to mention that “Nintendo Hard” is a catch phrase.
The most recent game I gave up on was Mirror’s Edge. It’s pretty to look at, but frustrating in that for what’s essentially a first-person parkour game, rather than freedom of movement, the game involves trying to perform a particular move over and over and over and over until you no longer die doing it. Poor design.
The Sims also kind of defeated me. I shared a Sims neighborhood with my kids. Their characters thrived and maxed out; mine tended to lead lonely lives of quiet desperation, chronically hungry, tired, dirty and depressed.
How quickly folks forget about how Tom Cruise shut down South Park for making fun of Scientology (and him) by threatening to not promote MI3.
System Shock 2. That game was so unforgiving. It was also positively terrifying. Had I played it with the lights off, I am sure I would have ruined at least 4 pairs of pants.
Baseball. Not video game baseball, the real thing. First time I saw a curveball at 14, I knew I was done. If a video game gets too hard, I just quit.
Ghosts n’ Goblins for the NES. I think that game was literally impossible to beat without the cheat code.
I still have my old NES, and the controllers have teeth marks all over them from my raging.
Diablo III is free for Mac for the weekend.
There’s no way to train enough skills to become a “god” in a month. After a month you just stop being a newb.
On the flip side, EVE can be pretty tame, if you don’t fly out of hi-sec systems, though the money’s in 0.0 space.
A friend and I were determined to beat it in 2-player mode. And we were pretty good at it. We beat the Turbo Tunnel consistently. We skipped the inferno level – the one after the snake pit. I couldn’t beat that one single-player, let alone 2-player. We always fell apart at level 10; too many narrow passages and too little forewarning of what’s ahead.
I played it on an emulator my freshman year of college, thinking I’d beat it. I couldn’t beat any of the last three levels, even using save states. I still consider myself damn good at B’toads.
I have to go with the original Super Mario Bros. By the end of that thing it got so freaking hard that I only managed to beat the game once.
It also took me a while to get through Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Some of the racing missions were so goddamn hard I remember taking months off from the game.
I’ve seen Level 4 only ONCE in my life.
Snokie. man, fuck that game.
Super Ghouls and Ghosts for the SNES. It’s the real sequel to Ghouls and Ghosts (which was itself a pretty hard game). Anyone remember how hard level 4 was? No, no one does because no one in the history of ever has gotten past level 3, it’s fucking impossible. And even those who can claim to have beaten that level (and I say they’re fucking liars, but whatever), guess what: at the second to last level you have to fight a boss of ridiculous difficulty. If, by some miracle you beat that boss it’s on to the last Level! But wait…princess walks up, and says you need to get the Goddess Bracelet to beat the final boss…and of course you don’t have that. Where do you have to go to get it? BACK TO FUCKING LEVEL 1 AND PLAY THROUGH THE WHOLE GAME AGAIN!
SNES Ninja Turtles I thought was sooooo much harder than the NES version, and was the first game that came to my mind. Saw a couple of other people mention it too.
Also, not sure if anyone here ever had a GameCube, but I could never beat Majora’s Mask, the only Zelda game I ever had difficulty with.
I Wanna Be The Guy, but I don’t really count it because the joke there is that the difficulty is ridiculously and artificially exaggerated.
Ninja Gaiden I and II are incredibly difficult. You need pinpoint control and reflexes to get anywhere, without them you just die an ignoble death over and over.
Mention should go to the original Castlevania. It combined enemy placement designed to screw over anyone who just charges right through with deliberately clumsy and inflexible controls to really force you to slow down and strategize. It was all doable, but HARD.
ghosts & goblins is my bane. though i recall being much, much better at it when i was a kid. healing spells, health potions and auto-save have ruined me for all those old 2 hits and you’re dead, start the fuck over games from my youth.
Sony USA turned up the difficulty from the Japanese version to a @(#*@$! level.
Cris (without an H)
Anything with wall-jumping. The Lion King for SNES has a wall-jump up a waterfall that resulted in a broken controller.
I feel better knowing that however many games I never finished (Diablo II, for one example) I beat that fucking Battletoads.
But the hardest thing ever? Gold trophies in the first Portal. If my keyboard didn’t cost so much, I WOULD have broken many many many of them trying to figure out how to do those levels.
Oh. And fucking Ghosts and Goblins. Never again.
@KSH: What the hell do I do this this mailbox?
Dark Souls. It doesn’t help that I suck and have yet to successfully fight off an invader.
GTA Vice City’s street race mission
GTA San Andreas’s RC plane missions, both of them
Weeks of frustration for those three.
You know you’re talking about a really hard mission when you go to the internet to pick up hints or cheats or workarounds, and all the internet says in response is “keep trying dude.”
Oh, and I’m having real problems with Super Mario Bros. 2 — the Japanese version that’s a proper sequel to SMB, not the SMB2 that we initially got here in the U.S. It’s hard as hell, which is why its U.S. release got scrapped, in fact.
Most recently, Dark Souls on the 360 on NG+++ difficulty. Best part was when a Gravelord player cursed me while I was in the Tomb Of Giants, making an already notoriously tough part of the game that much more unbearable. I don’t often rage-quit games, but yeah, had to give up there. It was just a misery.
Ghosts n Goblins. Anyone who claims they beat this is lying.