Friday Five – Frustrating Games

frustrated guy playing games

Welcome to the Friday Five! Each week we help you get to know our writers a little with the help of a top five list. This weeks category: Frustrating Games.

It’s no secret that we play a lot of games. And in general it’s said that gaming has gotten way easier then it was in the past. So of course we’ve all had that moment that led us to sort of. . . flip out and walk away. Or if, we’re being particularly stubborn, you keep going until you flip a table over. Well, this is our tribute to the games that caused us to lose it!


It seems to me that the older video games were way more frustrating to play. Now we’ve got games that will make you invincible if you die a couple times or that automatically targets an enemy. Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s we just had headaches. I mention some of the games that really get under my skin with this, but there are so many others, the Mega Man, ALL of the Ninja Gaiden and Shinobi games, and so many more. But below are the ones that really drove me insane.

  1. Contra (NES) – I’ve never gotten very far in Contra, even with The Code it’s hard as all hell and after a while it’s just so depressing you have to stop.
  2. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! (NES) – It’s all good till the end. . .
  3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) – I’ve gotta steal this one from Drootin, which you’ll read later on. But god damn was this game hard, The Dam level was one of the worst experiences of my life, and then there’s those top levels with the tanks! It’s making me angry just thinking about it, but I’d play it right now if I had it.
  4. Battletoads (NES) – Holy crap was this game hard. I think I only ever made it to like the third level. And for some reason I love it.
  5. Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage (SNES/SEGA) – I love this game, it’s great but it is really freaking hard. All those old school side scrolling beat ‘em ups usually were. But something about this game always felt worse, no matter who you went with it was just a lot of getting your ass kicked.

Honorable Mention: Superman 64 & ET(Atari) – They didn’t make you want to throw your controller for the normal reason, they just plain sucked.

Box art for Contra on NES


  1. Myst – I used to play this game a lot in middle school, they had it on the computers in the computer lab. I would always get stuck on the stupidest things. I don’t think I ever legitimately beat it without looking up the end code.
  2. Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening– I loved this game. It came bundled with my Gameboy back in the day and I played it all the time. I got stuck in the second temple and got so frustrated that I stopped playing the game altogether and didn’t pick it back up for like 10 years. I finally realized what I was doing wrong and beat the game.
  3. Tron Evolution – I was playing this game on PC and the controls were horrible. I think I died trying to jump over a 3 foot gap 15 times before I finally plugged my 360 controller and it got a lot better, until the tank fight. I felt the learning curve was way off on this game, but I still like playing it for some reason.
  4. Darius Twin/Ikaruga – I had Darius Twin back in the day and when I played Ikaruga years later I felt like I was reliving the difficult horrors I endured as a child, only this time I had to worry about the colors of the enemy projectiles so that I wasn’t killed even more quickly.
  5. Super Mario RPG – This is probably my favorite SNES game of all time. I remember renting it from Blockbuster week after week so I didn’t have to start over, only to get stuck at the Power Rangers boss. I could never get the 100 super jumps for the hidden shirt. I unlocked the crystal boss but could never beat him. I play this game about once a year and I’m much better at it now, but I remember wasting my allowance every week renting a game that pissed me off to no end.


Box art for Myst on PC


Pretty much everyone who has been playing video games for any decent amount of time has thrown, slammed, or broken a controller and/or keyboard/mouse from pure frustration over a difficult or annoying video game and here are 5 of the games that have done this to me in some way. (Also my birthday is this following Sunday, happy birthday me!!!!!)

  1. NHL ’94 – A very easy game for me to play against the computer, my frustration comes from playing in leagues on and either getting demolished or blowing a lead somehow.
  2. Contra – Yeah, it’s hard, the friggin 1 hit kills suck, and it’s just, hard. It’s just unforgiving, the Konami code helps, but even then I’ve never beaten this game and likely never will.
  3. Ninja Gaiden (NES) – Sensing a theme yet??? I’m not sure I’ve met more than a small handful of people who have actually beaten this game. Effing birds…
  4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) – FUCKING ELECTRIC SEAWEED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Old school games were way harder. . .
  5. Counter-Strike (PC) – This game is one of my all-time favorites and all its frustration comes from one of 2 things, either 1) people who are just so much better than you it’s infuriating or 2) hackers who make it unbearable to play.

Box art for NHL '94 on Sega Genesis


Ok, we all know I love to play video games. What some of you may not know is that I’m a little OCD with my methodology. I can never just “beat” a game. I have to “complete” it. More often than not it means playing through a game a second or third time to get those last trophies, or unlock that cool new weapon. Occasionally it means that I cannot progress further until I complete some insanely impossible task before moving on. In these cases I tend to put the game down and generally don’t come back.

  1. Pokemon – (Series) – I love Pokemon! The simplistic rock-paper-scissor methodology to the RPG genre makes it incredibly accessible to everyone. Yet, it’s deep statistical mechanics and robust lineup of obtainable pocket monsters makes it impossible enough to master for the hardcore. While I’m probably considered a “core” gamer by the sheer number of games I play, I am by no means a Pokemon Master. I have this stupid rule set that I’ve established and can’t bring myself to break. . . 1) Use each Pokemon until evolves to it’s highest form, then box it and replace it with a new Pokemon. 2) DO NOT move on from an area until you have captured every type of Pokemon available in said area. *exceptions being water types and inaccessible areas* Yeah. . . I generally spend HOURS grinding, which isn’t fun. It was for that reason that I have yet to complete Pokemon Black 1, and I think I’m still at the 4th gym. . . maybe?
  2. Demon Souls – This is pretty much the same thing as Pokemon for me. . . I love it! The complexity in the combat and the difficulty just keep me wanting to come back to this one time and time again. But my method of play is what kills it for me. . . See that shiny object over there protected by a dragon? I need it. Like. . . NEED it. I don’t even know what it is! I can’t walk away. I have to try. And die. Then try again. . . and die again. And so on and so forth. After telling myself to give up and move on, I find a new shiny object that catches my eye, that happens to be at the bottom of a deep pit. . . “Geronimo!” The cycle continues.
  3. Final Fantasy Tactics – (PSOne, Vita, iOS) – This game has had one hell of a ride to my top 5 list. Of course it came out when I was young and naive. It had cartoony sprite graphics and they looked horrible, so I thought it was a terrible game. A couple years later I got a copy for $5 to use on my modded PSOne, and the fun began. It was a great game, but your first play though is incredibly frustrating! There was zero explanation on how to play the game, or how to advance properly through out. There was a tutorial, but it was damn near impossible to decipher the broken english. The entire game was trial and error. And the Dorter Slums. THE DORTER SLUMS! Gah! I broke at least 2 controllers, and damn near beat the shit out of my knee, a table, and my fist, on more than one occasion with this one. But I love it!
  4. Monster Hunter – (Series) – My first forray with Monster Hunter was on the PSP. I thought it was an interesting game, and certainly worth the $8 I spent on the clearance item at target. The fun I had with it quickly vanished after I reached the higher levels. I don’t mean end game, I mean like rank 3 or something. . . I really don’t remember. All I knew was I kept blaming the issues I had on the control scheme, when in reality it’s the games methods of “grind, advance, grind, advance” that drove me nuts. The controls were still really bad, but they were the best they could be on the PSP. The entire game felt like it was running at half speed too! Everyone moved slow, and your actions were unresponsive at best. And why in the hell would someone ever Flex the muscles after drinking a potion? It just leaves you open to get hit after just attempting to restore your life! I’ve headbutted my PSP countlessly with this game. I think I’ve even bitten it out of frustration. . . Can’t wait to get the new one on Wii U! When it drops down to $12. . .
  5. BATTLETOADS – Seriously! How is this not on this list 5 times already? I only ever put this game in my NES when I was in a particularly good mood and just wanted to kick myself down a couple notches. It wasn’t all bad. The first level was fun. But then you have to rappel into the depths of the earth whilst fighting off the angriest birds ever. If you happen to make it past there you get treated to the only level in gaming no one has ever beaten! If you say you have then you’re lying! No one has ever beaten it!

Box art for Final Fantasy Tactics on PlayStation

is not a boss.

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