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The 10 Most Difficult Video Games of All Time

Ever since the first video game titles became available 30 or 40 years ago, gamers have spent countless hours trying to complete the game and beat that final boss. Some of the most beloved games of all time made it extremely challenging for players to get that final sweet reward of success. Then, there are the other noteworthy titles that earned reputations of frustration. These are the games that were the most challenging and the most soul crushing. Here are 10 of the most difficult video games of all time that made millions of gamers experience new levels of frustration.

1. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!

In 1987 Nintendo Entertainment System cashed in on the popularity of legendary boxer Mike Tyson and released Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!. The game had players taking on the role of an underdog boxer, Little Mac, and fighting against a series of memorable opponents. What frustrated players most of all was the final bout against Tyson himself. Beating this final boss required gamers to have a specific way of punching in commands on the controller, which could never seem to go right.

2. Myst

PC gamers around the globe became obsessed with popular title Myst in 1993. This challenging puzzle game had players exploring a deserted fantasy world and looking for cryptic clues. In order to figure out solutions, you needed to make obscure connections and navigate the interactive world. The challenge was that there was very little guidance, especially in the beginning, which made many new gamers extremely frustrated.

3. Ecco the Dolphin

At first glance, Ecco the Dolphin seemed like a cute and fun video game for players of all ages. This title was designed for the Sega Genesis console and released in 1992. When you actually sat down and started to play it, you finally got a sense of how difficult it was to maneuver and navigate Ecco through the ocean. Another challenge was the struggle to beat the final boss, which left many players having to start over time and again.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

After the popularity of the television show, Konami released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES platform in 1989. Young children around the world picked up the title wanting to join in on the turtles’ adventure. What they discovered was a tough and not very intuitive game design which left many game sessions being left unfinished.

5. Ghosts ‘n Goblins

Another hugely popular title from the NES platform in 1985 was Capcom’s Ghosts n’ Goblins. Critics of this game decry the ridiculous level of difficulty during the gameplay. Players had to struggle to navigate the spooky terrain and worry about a huge number of bad guys fighting against them.

6. Battletoads

Battletoads is a 1991 NES game that has reached legendary status due to its extreme difficulty. Kids who managed to beat this tough game earned serious status among their peers during this era in video game history. The main way the game progressed was through a side-scrolling style world. Gamers had to focus on fighting enemies while also avoiding the dangers of the environment. Today, this game is remembered as a classic in many videogaming circles.

7. The Oregon Trail

One early video game that is still well known is the 1971 gem, The Oregon Trail. This game was designed by videogame developers who were interested in teaching young people about Oregon history. It has experienced many different updates and has been available on a variety of computer gaming platforms since first appearing. The object of the game was to lead your party of settlers across the dangerous trail to a new life while battling disease, wild animals, and other dangers.

8. Pitfall!

Activision’s classic game from the 1980s, Pitfall!, has been frustrating players for years since it first was published for the Atari 2600 in 1982. Activision leader Bobby Kotick enjoys the legacy that this challenging but fun game started in the early days of videogame play. The hardest part of the game was the fact that you had a time limit to complete all of the tasks.

9. Castlevania

Konami achieved success with Castlevania for the NES in 1986. The character, Simon, explored different horror character’s castles and fought noteworthy bosses. Beating this game required lots of skill and patience, and if you were successful, you were one of a few.

10. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial

After the runaway success of the film of the same name, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial was quickly developed into a video game through Atari in 1982. Excitement for the game was huge, but players were seriously disappointed by the tough gameplay and dubbed it the worst game of all time. While some challenging games were rewarding, this title was simply clunky and impossible.

The history of videogames is filled with tough titles that made players angry when they got stuck and elated when they finally found success. The hardest videogame titles of all time provided many gamers with these experiences.

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