Challenge is a good thing. We like when games test our prowess, or refuse to hold our hands through tougher segments. But when the difficulty ramps up without warning, or we just cant seem to get a win, it can be a little frustrating. Or teeth-gratingly irritating. Or contemplating-murder-on-the-developers-who-put-you-through-this-torture enraging. These are the games that are so tough at times that they made us hurl controllers, scream like banshees, or cry for our mothers. We won't count glitches or bugs in our list having your save game erased or missing a jump because a button didn't respond is bound to make anyone mad. No, these are the games that are frustrating by design, whether through unbridled difficulty or unfair odds. They may be terrible, amazing, or somewhere in between, but all of these games share a common thread: at one point or another, they became utterly infuriating to play.
Super Meat Boy
This blood-soaked Super Meat Boy was released at the perfect time, when frustrating gameplay was a breath of fresh air from all the hand-holding, checkpoint-filled sidescrollers of modern day. But just because you're having fun while this games meticulous level design kicks you in the groin repeatedly doesn't make it any less rage-worthy. Team Meat knew just the right buttons to push, with home-stretch deaths and down-to-the-millisecond timings that made us hate ourselves rather than the game. The piece-de-resistance of Meat Boys arduous quest doesn't even involve him its got to be The Kids stage, which faithfully emulates all the wall-punching, table-throwing fury brought on by indie classic I Wanna Be The Guy in three compact stages.
Playing the original Stuntman on PS2 is like trying to construct a house of cards blind-folded while riding a rollercoaster. If you so much as tapped the gas at the wrong time, or hadn't mastered the delicate art of handbrake 180s, this game was about as fun as failing and retaking a drivers test for all eternity. You'll experience all the riveting intensity of being a stuntcar driver, from crashing into wooden crates 50 times over, or missing the same jump through a train, before enduring load times that felt as long as entire levels. We don't know which would cost more: finding the budget to perform these stunts for a live-action movie, or refunding all the broken controllers of gamers who just could not take another moment with Stuntman.
Ninja Gaiden Black
Remember that really tough enemy you just faced in the room before this one? Well, instead of giving you a checkpoint, were going to make you fight two of those same enemies. Heck, twos too few - lets make it five! Thats the monologue that played through our minds when we tried to imagine what Itagaki and co. were thinking during the development of Ninja Gaiden's demonic difficulty, which successfully captured the brutality of the NES instalments. almost to a fault. Its the kind of masochistic challenge that demands improvement from the player but if you're not the type to buckle down and stick with a hard game, then your Ninja Gaiden experience is going to be over real fast.
Super Ghouls N Ghosts
Everyone knows this game is tough thats a given. What still throws new players for a loop is when they reach the final stage, patting themselves on the back for finally making it through such an ordeal. But Capcom had a special surprise planned. Turns out, beating all seven stages is only the beginning: you'll have to do it all over again, this time collecting the Goddess Bracelet so you can face the true final boss. Why, in the name of all that is holy, did the princess not tell us that the first time around?! Also annoying were the Red Arremer enemies their swooping attacks were scientifically calibrated to be as irritating as possible.
Namco Bandai has a message for you: you are going to complain about how cruel and inhumane Dark Souls is, and you are going to LIKE it. Heck, the games slogan was Prepare to die. With enemies that felt as tough as other games bosses (Black Phantoms, anyone?), and an auto-save system that prevented cautious save-and-load trickery, Dark Souls made us fearful of what each new area might hold. Completionists could very well be driven insane by the game - seeing every inch of the game meant putting yourself through some torturous fights and coming to grips with your human and hollow forms. Love it or hate it, this is a kind of difficulty that can pitilessly punish you no matter how many times you've beaten the game.
Do you like metronomes and memory tests? We hope so, because if you want any hope of seeing the later stages of this rhythm-based platformer, you better have the timing and visual retention of a god. Passing through each psychedelic stage means jumping and ducking with exacting precision as the blocky Commander Video auto-runs to the right and we can get down with that. What we cant abide is when accidentally ducking when you meant to jump at the end of a stage sends you all the way back to the beginning, no matter how effortlessly you can pass through the first 60 seconds of stage. The games final levels are more discouraging to your progress than a sharp stick in the eye.
The original Defense of the Ancients spawned a community that, while undoubtedly passionate and skilled, can be one the most hateful groups in all of gaming. Dota 2 is no different: a game where any failure by any team member can sometimes cost you the entire match so you better let everyone know that it wasn't your fault. If you're a self-proclaimed pro who gets paired up with a beginner on your team, you best believe that you'll be screaming at your monitor within minutes, be it orders or expletives. Noobs can get equally frustrated from all the malice that'll get spewed their way, creating a sort of swirling anger vortex that threatens to destroy common courtesy as we know it.
Devil May Cry 3
DMC 2 was a touch too easy for fans of the first, and they didn't hesitate to grumble about it. Fine, said Capcom. Try this on for size, you whiners. What had been the Japanese Hard mode became our Normal mode in the states, and chaos ensued. We won't try to hide our shame - we must've died at least fifteen times on the very first level. Mashing buttons in Devil May Cry 3 with Dante is the equivalent of turning on a neon light above your head that reads Please kill me, and you'll be seeing red when you manage to clear a room, only to be eviscerated in the back by a baddie who was obscured by the camera angle. The lesson is clear: when it comes to difficulty levels, be careful what you wish for.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Its one thing to get gunned down in an FPS and not understand how you died. Its another to die this way at the hands of a 13-year-old brat whose parents buy them M-rated military shooters. Modern Warfare 3 is the perfect example of tilt in shooters: dying over and over is so frustrating that you get desperate for some kills, which makes you play sloppily, which results in you dying even more. Things get supremely obnoxious when you're on the bullet-end of a killstreak award nothing could be less fun than repeatedly dying to the same Pave Low helicopter while your teammates run around like chickens with their heads chopped off.