Five of the Hardest Games Ever Made

Have you ever felt the urge to punch a baby? These games might tip you over the edge.

Erik Norrisby Erik Norris


Recently, I’ve have the unfortunate pleasure of playing through Dark Souls. And when I say “playing through,” I really mean I’ve died constantly right after the game’s tutorial. I’ve logged over six hours into the game and I’ve progressed no further than when I was 15 minutes in. I’ve had a lot of time to think back on some of the other tough-as-hell games I’ve played throughout my lifetime while waiting for the game to load my most recent checkpoint after each death.

Last year I did a list of the five most frustrating moments in gaming, but now I’m back to do another list that takes into account not just singular moments, but the entirety of a game in order to consider it one of *my* five hardest games ever. So let’s get this over with, shall we?



The Impossible Game

You laugh, but The Impossible Game for iOS isn’t called that for its health. The simple design of this title makes the game look easy from a bird’s-eye view, yet it’s anything but. The scary thing about The Impossible Game is that it turns players into masochistic lunatics who constantly put themselves through torture just to inch a little bit further into the title. The Impossible Game is made even tougher considering there are no save points; It’s a one-off. If you die you have to start all over. You’re be pulling your hair out with this one.



Dark Souls


This is why we’re here isn’t it? Dark Souls is easily the hardest contemporary games I’ve played. It’s learning curve is insanely steep and completely unforgiving. This game will chew you up and spit you out if you don’t inch your way through it. In order to succeed at Dark Souls you need to memorize every enemy attack pattern and dungeon layout or you’re screwed. The smallest slip-up will mean death for you, and then you’ll have to replay entire dungeons from square one. From Software’s Dark Souls will test your mettle to its limits.





This game made my frustrating moments list last year because it made me lose countless hours of sleep as a kid. I still have nightmares about that damn bike level. And that’s only like two levels into the game! Battletoads is a unrelenting mistress that might look cute and cuddly with its frogs wearing S&M-style padding on the cover, but this is truly a lesson in never judge a game by its cover. Also, those wire-cutting crows can rot in the darkest pits of Hell. For real.



Ghosts'n Goblins


Another game that made my frustrating moments list, Ghosts'n Goblins actually represents the only game on that list that was recognized for the entire game being balls hard. There is no single moment in Ghosts’n Goblins that’s more challenging than another. The entire game is one incredibly difficult sequence after another. And if you do manage to finish the game by miracle, you’re told it was all a facade by the devil and then sent back to the beginning of the game to reply it all over again on a harder difficulty to reach the true ending. Capcom, you sadistic bastards.




The Contra series is widely considered one of the hardest gaming franchises ever made. So this might be a safe pick on my part. But the fact that I’m not alone in my frustration for Contra speaks volumes about how difficult these games truly are. Personally, and you might consider me a total wimp here, but I’ve never finished a single level in any Contra title. I always wind up throwing the controller down in frustration far before I ever make it to the second level. What lies beyond the first level of Contra? I couldn’t tell ya, I’ve never gotten that far.