Fester’s Quest (NES): Sunsoft developed this gem. Sure, it was a deplorable video game with ancient gameplay, but it was one of the first NES games I ever owned, the box art was cool, I liked the intro, and I played it a lot as a kid. Still, I found the game to be incredibly difficult—the kind of difficult that grates on you until you question the meaning of life.
I can still hear the extraordinarily annoying sound effect triggered when Fester gets hit, and let’s not forget the pathetic, most impotent weapon in all of video gaming: the vice-grip. Oh, and the impossible dark sewers haunt me in my dreams. It’s much easier to just walk Uncle Fester over a spike strip and be done with it. Here are a few more:
Blaster Master (NES): Sunsoft made this gametoo! If you can prove you beat this game without the grenade-pause trick, you are probably immortal. My buddy once told me he got to the fourth level in the game, ya right. As I said earlier, I was stuck on the first level for a year (did you think I was kidding?). Dead ends at every turn, but at least the music and intro narrative were top notch. Oh, and don’t e-mail me claiming to have beaten this game in a matter of days smart a**.
Legendary Wings (NES): You’ve probably never even heard of this appalling game. The plot revolves around attempting to defeat a supercomputer named “Dark” that has turned against mankind. The God of War Ares has given you Wings of Love (huh?) to defeat the corrupt machine. The game will let me pass the third level, but I get crushed immediately afterwards. Grab your ankles because this game’s going to have it’s way with you.
Taz-Mania (Sega Genesis): Blind jumps galore and unresponsive controls, all during a mine ride! Comeonnnnn! After reading such promising previews in GamePro, I waited months for this video game, and was done with it forever after an hour of memorable frustration.
Strider (NES): The final boss is difficult beyond belief. I had a friend who said he believed it was literally impossible to beat him, and I agreed. The way I see it, the programmers at Capcom were short on time and behind the eight ball so they said, “Let’s just forget about the ending sequence by making the boss unbeatable—problem solved—ship it!” It's actually genius if you think about it—imagine how much time they saved by not having to program the ending, credits, etc.
Ninja Gaiden (NES): Many gamers consider Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox more difficult than the original version on the NES. I’ve played both, and beat the Xbox version without too much trouble. The NES version never showed me a lick of mercy. And those birds...ugh.