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Top Ten Most Frustrating Video Games

Updated on July 9, 2013

When the going got tough.

Video games today have evolved quite a bit from the days of NES and Sega. The late 80's era of gaming contained a handful of the most brutal titles ever made.

Let's revisit the pain and open up those old wounds in today's countdown of the top ten most frustrating games!

10. FTL: Faster Than Light

Faster Than Light is an indie game that made it to mainstream appeal. It's a bit like Oregon trail in space. You fly your crew into the depths of space with limited fuel, ammunition, and credits. You only get one life.

With every turn you take you lose a bit of fuel and you're met with a random encounter. You could be boarded and murdered, the sun could set your ship ablaze, you could lose power to your vital systems like oxygen, and oh so much more can go wrong.

The gameplay itself is fun, but at any moment, your next turn could be your last. Then it's back to the menu screen.

The unlockable crystal ship.
The unlockable crystal ship. | Source

9. Oregon Trail

In 1971, Don Rawitsch developed this game to teach children about the realities of pioneer life in the 19th century. 65 million copies later, quite a few people have experienced losing their band of adventurers to various ills.

We learned about starvation, sickness, dysentery, snakebites, measles, typhoid, and cholera to name a few. It was never fun having to replace axles, oxen, and scribble in the names of our fallen comrades in tombstones while our classmates forged ahead to success. That's alright I'm not bitter.

8. Paperboy

If you ever aspired to delivering newspapers, well this game was for you.

As you played you controlled a bicyclist on a paper route. The houses on your route were lit up and you hurled their paper onto their doorstep, directly into their mailbox for a bonus score, or sometimes through their window. That may sound easy enough but the obstacles in your way were endless.

What obstacles? Just the ordinary run of the mill type you might find along a sidewalk such as break dancers, drunks, people repairing their cars, radio controlled cars, dogs, skateboarders, tornadoes, people poking their heads out of sewers, and more. You could at least get some recognition in the next day's paper if you stopped a baby stroller rolling across the street (yes by smacking it with a newspaper).

Paperboy saves runaway baby.

If everything wasn't out to get you throwing newspapers at houses and launching yourself across ramps through people's front yards actually doesn't sound too bad.


7. Starcraft 2 - Lost Viking Arcade

If you are a fan of Starcraft 2 you will remember seeing the Lost Viking Arcade tucked away on your ship in the single player campaign. Going for the gold achievement of 500,000 is extremely challenging and time consuming.

Lost viking, a throwback from Blizzard's SNES game "The Lost Vikings," is a classic top down space shooter where you attempt to shoot your way to a high score with gameplay similar to space invaders.

There are three stages to complete, but winning those wont net you the points you need. You have to repeat these stages over and over with increasing difficulty until you manage to nab the points. All while jamming on the space bar until your body breaks down in a cold sweat.


6. A Boy and His Blob

A Boy and His Blob is a puzzle-platform game where you traveled with a blob companion you could feed jellybeans to. Different flavors would change its shape (like an umbrella, trampoline, bubble, or a ladder) allowing you to traverse different puzzles.

There's really no tutorial or instructions in this game. You just have to figure out your way through it. You will die. And you will die a lot. This game takes a lot of trial and error. If you ever completed it you certainly get gaming bragging rights.


5. Mike Tyson's Punchout

You play as Little Mac with a handful of jabs and dodges in your arsenal. You have to fight your way through a series of boxers to face Mike Tyson himself. Apparently there's even more after him not that I would have known. As fun as the game was I could only beat a handful of opponents before the game became very challenging.

Once you lost, of course it was back to the beginning.

4. Mafia - Grand Prix Racing Level

Mafia took the GTA formula and applied it to a realistic mafia setting in the 1930s. Over 50 classic American cars filled the streets of the game. The missions were engaging and beautifully crafted. The story had any great mafia fan hooked. Everything was great until you were faced with a grand prix racing level.

Suddenly to continue on the story you had to perfect an eight minute car race. It was eventually patched to dramatically reduce the difficulty required, but for those that played it prior to the patch some kudos are deserved.


3. Marble Madness

In marble madness you controlled a marble and had to guide it through stages against a timer. Your left over time would be applied toward your time for the next stage.

This game required a lot of skill and a lot of patience to master. If you love soul crushing pain go back and load this game on your console, assuming you have a NES lying around. There's only six levels but beating them will be about as easy as bending steel with your bare hands.


Ah, if you haven't experienced this gem, it is my twisted pleasure to introduce you to it. QWOP is a web based "game" where your goal is to "run" as far as you can.

It got the name QWOP because you used the Q, W, O, P keys to move your athlete forwards (or mostly backwards).

So please take a moment and experience this frustration for yourself.

1. Battletoads

I tried not to include such obvious games on this list (Ninja Gaiden & TMNT). But I will give respect to where it's due with my final #1 entry.

Battletoads was created to rival teenage mutant ninja turtles but instead became known for its extreme gameplay difficulty. The game performs as if only the first two levels were play tested, and then you're sent off to a twisted world of rage-inducing, mind-boggling hijinks that is almost guaranteed to put you on some kind of medication.

This is the most frustrating game you will ever play.

The Rat Race

In Conclusion

Memory lane can sometimes be upsetting, but we have peeled the layers back. What were your most frustrating moments in gaming history?


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    • ilikegames profile image

      Sarah Forester 4 years ago from Australia

      That Grand Prix Racing Level... don't even remind me. Great idea for a Hub.

    • toptendeals profile image

      Jason Benedict 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida

      Thanks John, always great comments as usual.

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      A great list and I'm glad you acknowledged the Ninja Gaiden games, mostly difficult due to time, respawning enemies and consistant-but-unfair platforming segments. Battletoads is a pain, especially in Co-op where you can damage your friend, and only one person can pick up the health kits, but the soundtrack is kickass (particularly Double Dragon & BT: The Ultimate Team).

      I'd mention Castlevania because the water and stairs were some of the most annoying hazards ever, especially in one game where Dracula just uses a failsafe on you and surrounds the player character in fire. Oh, and the NPCs in Simon's Quest.... I hated those.

      Voted up, interesting, funny and awesome ^^