Nerd Wars! What is the Hardest Game You’ve Ever Played?

Nerd Wars Banner
Many people in the gaming community believe we are in the renaissance of difficult games. Titles like Dark Souls and Flappy Bird prove that people still love torturing themselves with brutally difficult challenges. For this week’s round of Nerd Wars! we want to hear about the hardest game you’ve ever played! 

Here are a selection of games that have truly tested our skills, patience, and generally sanity:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)


Super Ghouls and Ghosts (SNES)


Dark Souls (Xbox 360)


Contra (NES)


Super Empire Strikes Back (SNES)


Back in the late 80’s early 90’s video games were truly designed to put player’s skills to the test. Completing a game without the dreaded “Game Over” was a huge accomplishment and unfortunately many of them were only conquered by the sweaty and mighty. It seems like in an effort to appeal to a broader audience games have become much easier and many games are often accused of “hand holding.” Is better game design the main reason games seem “easier” or are developers simply sacrificing difficulty for mass appeal?

Feel free to share your love and hatred for the difficult games you’ve played over the years. Don’t forget to share the hardest game you’ve ever played! 


  1. Not gonna lie, God of War has my hatred because I had trouble on the Hydra boss.

    Shin Megami Tensei IV is a bitch though. I lost count on how many times I died.

    1. I never played the original God of War, but the third one was a piece of cake. It was super epic, but also super easy.

      Kafka is super into the Shin Megami Tensei series, but that is another one I’ve never tried.

      1. Let me put it this way: My friends were giving me shit because I kept telling them I died in my game. Then I told them it was Shin Megami Tensei and got the response of ‘Oh well that’s all right then.’

    1. There were times where I literally had to leave the room because I found myself screaming terrible things at my Xbox.

      I finally stopped playing after I beat the Ceaseless Discharge only to encounter a lava pit filled with four Kapra Demons, four giant bull demons, two enormous leeches, and the Minotaur boss from the start of the game. I put the controller down and never touched the game again.

      1. I can’t say I left with my sanity…after trying to play the game a couple of days later (I got an hour in that time), whatever sanity I still had was cruelly stomped on. Ouch.

      2. It saps the sanity from you rather quickly… Well look at us now. We’re both functioning adults, right? *eye twitches*

    1. Oh seriously, man! That game was disgusting. I don’t think I ever remember playing for more than 10 minutes without losing all my turtles.

      1. Hahaha. Well I’m a man of my word. If I find it for like $5 bucks at some retro game store, I will pick it up and try suffering through it.

  2. Megaman games are the sweet torture I kept going back to. I knew better than to try Dark Souls, I just don’t have the time and patience for super hard games right now.

  3. I have to say Impossible Mission for the Atari 7800. Long time ago, I was just a kid, but even watching videos now… holy crap that game was long, complex, had a time limit, involved collecting puzzles, and robots that murdered you in a heartbeat.

  4. First of all, whoever is playing TMNT above is a boss.

    NES TMNT is of course on my list, but I have had considerable frustration with Ikaruga, and Super Meat Boy is a special kind of evil.

    1. Yeah that run of TMNT is IMPRESSIVE. I couldn’t even come close.

      Super Meat Boy was incredibly hard, but I still managed to beat it, so that’s why it didn’t quite make my list.

      1. My issue with it was as much the controller as the game. With say, a Genesis or SNES gamepad it would probably be a lot more responsive. The old style Xbox 360 d-pad just doesn’t cut it.

      2. That d-pad definitively didn’t make things any easier. I’m so glad the Xbox One controller has a solid d-pad. I’m still waiting for a solid platformer to launch on the system.

    1. That game is BRUTAL! I tried playing through it again a few months ago to see if I could tackle the challenge as a grown man… I failed miserably. I couldn’t even make it past the haunted pirate ship…

  5. I’m gonna go way back to Bard’s Tale. I don’t think my brother and I ever made it out of the 1st dungeon!

    1. That’s a name I haven’t heard in quite some time. I remember watching my friend play, but I never had the misfortune of suffering through it.

  6. At one point in my life I was good enough at Contra to not need the Konami Code, but I’m sure I could benefit from the extra help now.

    The original Ghosts n’ Goblins for the NES is still the absolute hardest game I’ve ever played in my life. I also rather suck at the later Mega Man releases on the NES. De-Cap Attack on the Genesis gave me a world of trouble growing up and I never managed to overcome the learning hurdles of Brigandine on the PSX. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (PS2) and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (DS) are also pretty brutal.

    Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls have ushered in a new era of brutality and are probably the only current games I still play for the sheer purpose of being emasculated repeatedly. Dark Souls 2 doesn’t seem to be as hard as the original so far, but I’m still chalking up the deaths.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: