7 Hardest Video Games Of All Time

With most modern games content to hold players’ hands and guide them gently through the easiest of experiences, veteran gamer Lyndsay Moir has picked out an array of titles that provide a much more formidable challenge – and duly presents the seven hardest video games of all time.

Outraged gamer

Aside from a few exceptions, I’ve found that games are getting noticeably easier with each successive console generation.

You may think I am just experiencing some kind of nostalgia, sat in my armchair thinking back to the days when I was a kid and I would spend hours trying to complete one level of Rayman, beating and punching my way through all the silver cages to release the Electoons and failing many-a-time in the process.

But you’d be wrong. I can personally remember being tested to the point of throwing my controller through the screen by only three games in the last few years: the infuriatingly difficult but addictive Super Meat Boy, the damn-near-impossible Left4Dead on expert mode (now all the glitches have been removed) and Devil May Cry in ‘Dante Must Die’ mode.

To prove my point, me and my good old vintage consoles had a bonding session over the last few weeks, whilst I tried again and again to work my way through games I adored when I was young. I swear I was far better back then as well; years of gaming have in fact given me zero extra ability. 

That said, don’t be deceived: this list isn’t just for vintage games, no – it has some recent contenders thrown into the mix as well. So, without further ado, here is my list of the hardest video games of all time.

If you want to call yourself a ‘true gamer’, you will have to complete at least a handful of these first – or die trying…

Dark Souls (PlayStation 3/Xbox 360)

A worthy successor to the similarly impossible Demon Souls, this is certainly a game that doesn’t expect you to stroll through it.

In fact, you are likely to fail again and again – but that’s actually what makes it great.With a little patience, you soon learn how rewarding it is to finally best that level that has been taunting you for days on end.

Be careful though, some bosses can take you down in as little as two hits, and that just ain’t pretty.

Dark Souls

Mega Man 9 (PSN, Xbox Live Arcade)

The Mega Man series is renowned for being genuinely difficult, with its demand for lightning-fast reaction times, a pretty decent memory and god-level hand-eye co-ordination.

I, for one, lack most of the required traits to be even remotely good at this game, and I will actually sit in wonder watching someone who is pretty decent at it make their way through the levels.

The classic was bad enough, but then they released Mega Man 9 and players were delivered a whole new challenge; surely created just to frustrate and test gamers to the extreme.

Trust me, it is tough enough to reduce grown men to tears.

Mega Man 9

Battletoads (NES)

Many gamers out there claim that this is actually a contender for the hardest game ever created. And in my opinion it does seriously come close to winning that title.

First off: don’t try it alone. You simply cannot win. The developers over at Rare have made it damn near impossible for anyone to gain a solo victory in this game. They have thrown in far too many enemies and obstacles blocking your path to victory.

So, why not just co-op, you say? Well go ahead and try, but with one-hit kills, it is only going to be a matter of time before you punch your team-mate dead, and that just results in serious chaos. Before you know it, it’s less about killing the enemies, and more about beating down each other.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, there isn’t even a save feature. Yep, you read that right. Trust me, you are more likely to get a kiss off a shark than best this game. True fact.


Contra (NES)

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. You could always have a go at completing this game by using the famous Konami thirty lives code, and think that perhaps it isn’t that hard at all.

But then you could also attempt this game as it is meant to be played, with just three measly lives. One hit from an enemy, and you’re dead, so no Call of Duty unlimited re-spawns for you. Pressing X just won’t cut it here.

It is pure evil, and well and truly addictive. Go on, I dare you. Give it a go.


Super Mario Bros 2: The Lost Levels (NES)

When Nintendo decides to block a game because they think it will actually destroy a franchise due its frustratingly formidable gameplay, you know it is going to be hard.

This is a game to frighten even the most experienced gamer. What makes it so tough, you ask? Well, how about poisonous mushrooms that kill you instantly hidden as 1-ups that usually grant you an extra life. Sneaky huh?

Plus, the enemy placements are at times totally random, so a Goomba could just pop out of nowhere and finish you off when you least expect it. It’s truly, truly difficult. I actually think it should come with a new controller, as you are bound to break the one you are using in half.

Super Mario 2 Lost Levels

Super Meat Boy (Xbox Live Arcade, PC)

With its infuriating levels that are literally made to make you consider retiring as a gamer and pick up gardening instead, Super Meat Boy  is a worthy modern contender for this list.

It instantly reminded me of the angst I felt when playing old school games on my vintage consoles, and I am sure that’s what Team Meat were aiming for.

Don’t just take my word for it when I say it’s tricky: just look on YouTube at the many players who have filmed themselves attempting the game, and you can see how brilliantly hard it is.

If you succeed at the original levels you can try it all again in Dark World, which will make your fingers swell and drop off from exhaustion. Go try and defeat Dr Fetus and save Bandage girl, but perhaps practice some meditation techniques first, because you will certainly need to use them.

Super Meat Boy

Discworld (PC and PlayStation One)

A game that expects you to work out mind-boggling puzzles that have literally no coherence has to be here on my list of hardest games of all time.

I spent many an hour just baffled by what on earth I was supposed to do next in this game and, sadly, often had to revert to walkthrough guides because I was probably going to punch Rincewind in his cute little face if I was stuck for much longer – and break my PC in the process.

Think you’re good at puzzles? Well try one this for size. You’ll be placing butterflies where you never would have expected to.


To read more articles by Lyndsay Moir, check out her personal blog.

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