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Reading the description and reading down the list it seems this is a bit of schizo going on here.

Half the page seems to be a shrine to nostalgic games of that era where it was the norm. The other half more recent games that are exceptions to the current norm or were designed Nintendo Hard out of nostalgia.

Games like the Mega Man entries up to ZX still fit the spirit of the page, but "An Untitled Story" (not on this page, but links here), "I wanna be that guy", the Super Mario Brothers free game seem like they are a different trope. "Retro Hard" or something. Maybe those could be spun off?
Not really any room for a third quote, so putting it here:
In the old days, you didn't come back to a game again and again for anything as fancy as online multiplayer or user-created content. No, you came back because the games were freaking impossible.
The 10 Most Irritatingly Impossible Old-School Video Games - Cracked.com

MJ 12: All this about games that are frustratingly hard and no mention of X-Com: Terror From The Deep? This troper is displeased. The story here is amusing too. The original game had a bug where all difficulties reset to "Beginner" when you loaded a save game, which wasn't discovered until far later. So the fans thought the game was too easy. The result? "Beginner" TFTD is intended to be harder than the HARDEST DIFFICULTY LEVEL of X-Com: UFO Defense, which nobody ever played.

Dalantia: Motion for an entry for Ninja Gaiden II for 360 to go up? With at least a mention of the addition of Fake Difficulty via camera issues, nasty projectiles that come out of nowhere with zero warning, and the other stuff.

Dark Sasami: There seems to be a paragraph missing from the middle of this entry describing what exactly the trope is about.

Keenath: I've edited it to be more clear. The second paragraph (now the third) is not quite as eloquent as it was, perhaps, but now it actually describes what Nintendo Hard means.

Shiralee: Barring the bits with bird enemies, I didn't find Ninja Gaiden all that hard...it was pretty much memorization-happy, unique for sidescrolling platformers, but if you ever played sidescrolling shmups it became pretty easy save for the bosses. Contra was pretty damn easy until Hard Corps too. The rest are good examples, though. Some people just got no coordination.

Unknown Troper: The later levels of Military Madness qualify as Nintendo Hard, don't they? If they don't, I must be worse at strategy games than I thought.

Diddgery: Hey, guys.. I've played Odin Sphere in its entirety, and there was never a boss called Leviathan. The closest I can think of is Leventhan, the baby dragon.. but he is arguably one of the easiest bosses in the game. Though, rereading the trope's mention, I guess it is talking about Leventhan. Even so, he's Gwendolyn's fifth boss, and hardly worthy of the title of "Nintendo Hard." I'd give that to Queen of the Dead, or perhaps the Fire King.
  • Well, I was the one who put that up, and I was the one who had so much trouble with him. I called him Leviathan because it doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell that Leventhan is an engrish form of Leviathan.

Jefepato: I'm forced to agree with Diddgery. Leventhan (the source of the name might be obvious, but we should really use what the game actually calls him) was in no way Nintendo Hard; his attacks are generally telegraphed and not hard to avoid after a few tries. Queen Odette, on the other hand, definitely qualifies, thanks in large part to lag. (I don't recall Onyx being that hard, though, and in any case Odette wins the prize because almost every character has to fight her...and it never gets easier.)

Ki TA: Did I go a little overboard with the Everquest section? Every MMORPG veteran I know of comments on how utterly difficult Everquest was (back in the day before we new players ruined it, anyway), especially in comparison to modern MMORPGs, but I don't know if I put in too many of the questionable design decisions in that section.

Lull The Conqueror: Does being Nintendo Hard count as Fake Difficulty in general? I mean, a lot of these games, particularly the early ones, are full of Fake Difficulty... but I'm not sure I would say that something like Ikaruga counts. It's just legitimately a really hard game.

Thomas: Somebody removed my quip at the guy who said that Jedi Outcast was Nintendo Hard. Why? I am not all that hot at FPS myself, but I didn't have any serious trouble. I am sure that game doesn't meet the standard for Nintendo Hard.

The Affable Paranoiac: Could someone play this game and tell me if it counts, I have used cheat codes to make my character an unstoppable killing machine and still died several times, but I could just really suck at the game; somebody help me out here...

Thomas: I'm considering organizing this entry by platform. Any objections?

Peteman: Assuming Zelda 3 is Link to the Past, while the Ice Dungeon is definitely my second least favourite dungeon, I recommend using the Grappler to kill your momentum whenever you risk hitting a trap.

Man Called True: To the person (Wily Ubertrout) who wrote the following:

  • I'm going to second this, actually. This was a game that had no in-mission save points, meaning that after you had spent an inordinate amount of effort ON THE SECOND GODDAMN STAGE just getting to the boss, you'd be sent right back to the beginning if you died. Which you would, since there was literally not a scrap of evidence pointing to how you were supposed to kill the boss (which would've helped considering the bosses were all obnoxiously, ridiculously unkillable). In fact, I'd actually go further by saying that Devil May Cry 3 was designed by Japanese sadistic maniacs intent on causing mass suicides in the US, possibly because this is their revenge for World War II. Fortunately, their game was such a horrendous pile of shit that nobody really bothered to care beyond possibly throwing a controller across the room. I still insist that torture is the only viable punishment for the makers of the Devil May Cry series. Considering that video games at their best are supposed to help relieve tension, this game was a failure of spectacular, epic proportions.

...just because you're bad at it doesn't make the game bad. And judging by the positive press and ridiculously high sales figures, plenty of people cared about it. (Oh, and as for the second level, learn to dodge, and Ebony and Ivory are your best friends.)

  • I believe Castlevania Bloodlines, as well as the original Legend of Zelda, and especially Link to the Past, should all be removed from this list. While certainly not easy, they don't come even close to the rest of the examples here, particularly because of their large health bars, plenty of refills, and easy method of saving the game. Kid Icarus also doesn't qualify - as the entry says, "most of the game isn't too difficult" - rather, it has one instance of poor level design near the end; and neither does Rayman, which is certainly difficult but not frustratingly so. Just my two cents; thoughts anyone? —ME—

-Z-: now now, megaman X8 isn't THAT bad, aside from the moving spikeblock thing in antonion's level, and gigabolt manowar's stage on hard. X7 was far worse.

gryffinp: I can't help but notice that I Wanna Be the Guy is mentioned several times throughout the page, but only appears at the very bottom, after all the entries that make reference to it. This seems wrong, but I'm not sure how to rectify it. Thoughts?
Man Called True: I just cut two bits that both claim to have little to no trouble with Digital Devil Saga and Devil May Cry and basically called the rest of us losers for not breezing through them. (And yet he claims to have trouble with Devil May Cry 2?) Both really lax on grammar, both using multiple exclamation points (probably typed whilst wearing underwear on his head). Don't you love it when the trolls make themselves obvious?
Ninjacrat: Signs a page has become a dumping ground for complaining about shit:
  • The World Ends With You. The player literally has to use their good hand to stab the daylights out of the DS's touch screen with the stylus and their off hand to mash buttons and control the character on the OTHER screen, at the same time. Which means their EYES have to be on both screens simultaneously as well. Throw in the accessory system that pretty much requires you to have a game guide handy (hold it with your feet or something?!), and you've got a real winner here.
Yes, the console RPG known for being the lightest, softest entry into a genre with traditionally very easy gameplay just got written up on Nintendo Hard.

Drascin: I'd have put TWEWY more on Fake Difficulty than Nintendo Hard, because it just ain't a hard game once you get over the fact that you're not suppossed to control both characters perfectly, but... are you, honestly, really, trying to tell me that playing TWEWY is "traditionally considered" easier than playing any random FF ripoff where the only point of difficulty is how much grinding you need?

Man, gamers these days have some strange definitions of easier :P.


Lord Seth: Deleted:
  • The "Labyrinth Zone" boss in Sonic the Hedgehog involved you chasing the Big Bad Dr. Robotnik through a maze where the walls, floors, and ceilings all had spikes that would shoot out at regular intervals. And the water is rising, and Sonic cannot swim, so you must climb as fast as possible, even though every surface in the entire maze is harmful.
Because one hard boss does not Nintendo Hard make. It belongs in That One Boss anyway.

Leedz: Labyrinth Zone nothing. I've been a Sonic fan from the beginning, and by far the most maddeningly Nintendo Hard game in this series is without question Sonic Shuffle for the Sega Dreamcast. One would think that this game would be a cakewalk, given that it has a thin storyline as an excuse to be a party-style board game akin to the Mario Party games, ne? Think again: Sonic Shuffle's AI is absolutely BRUTAL. I have never played against a more cut-throat computer. Just playing on the EASIEST setting, it took me forever to progress in the single-player story mode. As it is, I've STILL never made it to the fourth level.

The way the game works is that, rather than dice, characters move with the use of cards. Each player can only see their own cards through the use of the VMU in their controller. However, the computer will constantly choose from your selection of cards without pause, despite supposedly being unable to know what they are. Battles are also determined with cards, and magically, the AI characters always seem to get perfect card pulls. Additionally, AI chars are flawless at group challenges, always seem to get the non-confrontational only-gets-you-a-power-up events, and as for stealing each other's jewels? The computer always has perfect luck. ALWAYS. And again, this is on the EASIEST setting; I've never even considered playing on normal, let alone hard. If THIS is how easy plays, I'll never make it to hard.

Basically, the game is only remotely enjoyable if you have someone else to play with — preferably four people so you can actually, you know, relax and play. I've noticed that, in playing this game with my friends, anytime there were less than four of us, the game turned into all of us ganging up to defeat the computer player. And even then the one AI char would STILL kick all three of our butts. ON EASY. (Sorry, I just can't emphasize that enough.)
Nijnacrat: Pulled a bunch of 'this game is hard if you play on the highest difficulty level' examples. Gosh, really?

Coolnut: Also pulled some examples where it seems that only one or so missions or levels are hard. If so, that's Scrappy Level or That One Boss or the like. (If it is like this for most of the game, say so and put it back in.)

  • Recent example: The Ferris Wheel scene in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is insanely difficult, even being toned down by the programmers at Infinity Ward when not even a single game tester was able to beat it on any but the lowest difficulty setting. In fact, this scene is the culmination of the most difficult mission in the game, which this editor finds ironic, as it's taking place in a flashback, from a soldier who (obviously) survived it.
  • Drakengard's Final Boss, accompanied by an Unexpected Genre Change, is horribly difficult to defeat. The game has done a good job with the Sorting Algorithm of Evil and keeping the challenge proportional to the player's status in the game, but when you hit that final chapter, the Final Boss will make you rip your hair out.
    • Actually it's only a matter of "Know the Scheme". Pause, memorize, unpause is common technique, or just getting the sequence from a guide and playing it from paper. It only appears difficult, but is nowhere near Nitendo Hard.
  • One mission in Kane and Lynch: Dead Men involved the player having to protect an NPC from a bunch of gun toting Mooks. Once you dispatch the first wave, a massive dump truck arrives and attempts to run over the NPC. The only way to stop it is to shoot the driver, who is surrounded by bullet resistant glass - which gives way in a few shots, but still. Add to the fact that all you have is a rather inaccurate submachine gun, that the truck is moving very fast, that the truck cab is very high off the ground, and that there is absolutely no way to tell if you're hitting the driver or not, and you have several hours of enraged controller smashing.

And...

  • Many early Game Boy titles such as Super Mario Land and Kirby's Dreamland had codes that allowed you to replay them Nintendo Hard. And if that wasn't enough, Kirby's Dreamland also had a code that allowed you to change the Life Meter from 6 bars to 1.

Per Ninjacrat, it's only one Nintendo Hard aspect in the game and shouldn't count (unless there are other examples as well).

BTW, should we split this by, say, era? (NES, SNES/Genesis, PlayStation, etc.)


Ihitterdal: Oddly enough, my entry for Half-Life (due to how easy it gets to be in a situation with no way to restore health AT ALL where you will very much need to do so) was deleted. Either there's a troll among us or I really do suck at Half-Life. Badly.

Autolykos: Actually, this tends to happen because the game autosaves before dangerous situations. It can be easily remedied by saving manually (in the save menu, not quicksave) when you feel that you're in good shape (enough health and ammo).
Loyal 2 NES: I removed the Super Smash Bros. entries since they ALL consist of "but only on the hardest difficulty" or "there's this one tiny aspect of the game that's pretty hard but it's only required for 100% Completion."
Autolykos: I don't think Operation Flashpoint is Nintendo Hard, except perhaps for the last levels. I finished most missions in the original game on the first try, only taking some time for the last two (but even then one wisely used save is enough). Resistance has longer missions, making the player wish fo more saves - but I still made it, and it isn't too hard, or even unfair. Red Hammer, however, is a lot harder (the first missions are about as hard as the last ones from the original game, and tt gets worse). I can't tell for the last ones of Red Hammer, since my game kept crashing in the "Alamo" mission. Players used to normal Ego-Shooters might find this game impossible, since their usual approach (rush in and kill 'em all) doesn't work. But if one uses cover and stealth (like the manual says), everything becomes much easier.

MattyDienhoff: I'm inclined to agree. The thing about OFP's difficulty is that it's much more subjective than in most games due to the relative non-linearity of the gameplay. In a more traditional shooter (e.g. Call of Duty), getting through a level on high difficulty levels generally hinges on having split-second timing and, more often than not, a great deal of luck, doing the same thing over and over again until you succeed, there's usually very little room for maneuver or trying alternative tactics. In Operation Flashpoint, you're often given some assets and simply told "here's an objective to attack/defend, go to it", leaving the actual where and how entirely up to you. If you fail you can generally change your tactics up in a variety of ways, using different weapons, vehicles, or simply going a different way. There's rarely anything stopping you from circling all the way around an objective to attack it from the other side, for instance.
Mr Fluffykins: Pulled some examples:

* Speaking of those original two Zelda games, this troper was twelve when the first debuted and it remains her favorite NES game of all time; she can beat it start to finish in less than three hours. But she has several friends who grew up on the newer consoles who claim that it's impossible to win. For whatever reason, younger gamers have an incredibly difficult time with the original Zelda. (And even those of us who grew up with Link's first foray into Hyrule will attest to the difficulty of the second game!)

I think very few people would consider Zelda 1 to be Nintendo Hard. Apart from that, "my friend thinks it's hard" does not make it a valid example.

* The final boss in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. Actually, there are three. Four if you count the last boss (I'm not sure if you fight the fourth boss consecutively after the third boss because, well, I haven't got past the third boss.) This troper had all his resources (Mushrooms, Mix Flowers, 1ups) depleted by the time he reached the third final boss. It's close to impossible.
** The Japanese version is easier by comparison. Most bosses have half the American version's HP, and if they use a recovery move it recovers less HP. Click here for more details. True, some of the minor enemies had more HP in the Japanese versions, but look at the bosses.
*** The first one was bad about this in it's final boss too, WHO NEVER SEEMS TO DIE! But it's a two part battle and the first part is laughably easy, which sets up a player for the true boss battle.
***Although both of these battles can be made much easier by leveling beyond the calculated threshold of the boss, as the final battles in these games do not scale beyond a certain degree.

Typically the final boss of a game is supposed to be hard. Even if a couple bosses are particularly hard, that doesn't make the game Nintendo Hard. If the boss is really bad, you could put this in That One Boss. The rest of this example is natter.

* Rhythm Tengoku / Rhythm Heaven (DS). This troper has changed his screen protector three times and is still not halfway finishing the game.

Explains nothing about why the game might actually be hard.

* As long you dont make bets in Juiced 2 you are fine. But in the later leagues and you want them nice cars, bets are needed. Once you made a bet, there is no load and save to avoid this, so if you did a pink slip race, you got one chance to do it right. Of course, there is a way around this which is to copy your save and then place it somewhere else and make copies to start over.

This doesn't make any sense.

* Squaresoft's Live A Live certainly contains a lot of variety, but the most common factor in all of its chapters is the sheer impossibility of knowing what the shit you're supposed to be doing (or, more accurately, just how much you can miss). It's just plain hard, but not quite Nintendo Hard... until you get to the ninja chapter.

If you think it's "not 'quite' Nintendo Hard" then it doesn't belong on the page. Anyway, this sounds more like a candidate for Guide Dang It.


Regarding Fire Emblem examples - the majority of these seem to be referring not to beating the game, but to beating the game with good ranking (i.e. not having let anyone die)... including the entries in the series that didn't even rank you. It seems to me that this is against the grain of the page. There are also laughably spurious complaints about hardness caused by the RNG hating the player.

Not to mention:

Getting through the entire campaign without losing a single character (whilst also leveling them up to the max) and getting every character and item is borderline impossible even on the easiest settings.

Getting every character up to max level in FE is akin to getting every Pokémon up to max level in Pokémon. It's not something a sane person does. You shouldn't even be getting your entire working PARTY up to max level. I just finished a playthrough of Shadow Dragon several days back and half my party had only been promoted a couple of chapters beforehand.

Also, Super Robot Wars. SRWFF has you facing multiple level 99 enemies? Interesting that I've beaten both major routes and no enemies even approach that level. I haven't done the Evangelion route but considering it ends halfway through FF I don't see this being the case there either.


Dammerung this page desperately needs to be sorted by genre, but I'm not jumping on that grenade.


Whoever said Final Fantasy 3 was Nintendo Hard lied. None of the enemies before the Dragoon class are hard, and after the dragoon class blood weapon + jump always means you win the battle.


Vilui: I'm going to have to remove the first Prince of Persia game. The article points out that you're a One-Hit-Point Wonder until you get the sword — it doesn't mention that you get it on the first level and there are no enemies until then. It makes a big deal of the one-hour time limit, when the game is easily completed in half that time (remembering that you can load saved games so that only successful attempts at levels count). Sure, it's not easy to complete, but it's more a case of That One Level (Level 8). And a touch of Guide Dang It if you couldn't work out how to beat Grey Strides on Level 12.


Trying to clean up the intro to be more about the concept and less about the bickering between "hardcore" and "casual gamers. See the discussion here:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=v03736at1sa3seu6f6ixctdz&page=1#2

Below is the old intro, for those interested:

There is a strong idea among older gamers that video games have, in general, become less difficult as a way to appeal to a wider demographic. This is a highly disputed assertion. Some cynics suggest that this is only because said gamers were young and inexperienced at the time; or that it may be just the same magnification of memory that tells you that your school's playground slide was fifty feet tall — although this too is disputable, as it's still very possible to play an NES game.

However, sometimes it's because the game really was Nintendo Hard. Frequently examples of Fake Difficulty, Nintendo Hard games aren't just difficult; they're hair-pullingly frustrating to play. The controllers that came with the original NES could take a full-on slam from a teenage arm into the wall from about ten feet away, as well as numerous other forms of abuse that would be unthinkable on a modern controller. There is a very, very good reason for this.


The difficulty of these games usually stems from a combination of factors:

For further building blocks of Nintendo Hard, see Classic Video Game Screw Yous.

Nintendo Hard gameplay will frequently force you to move with split-second timing when enemies or traps appear on the screen, because they will kill you if you don't act instantly.

But it gets worse. Nintendo Hard games often do not provide Save Points or indeed even allow you to save your game at all. If you're lucky, they might give you a password that lets you begin again from the start of the level (assuming it works, which is not guaranteed), but sometimes they'll just expect you to play it through from the very beginning every time. With no continues, and very few lives. Did we mention it's very difficult to get One Ups? Or, if you're competing against AI opponents, that The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard?

The game mechanics that make a game "Nintendo Hard" were often transported from arcade games that required the player to spend more money to keep playing after his character was killed. Except that when they got ported over to the console, there was no coin slot, leaving you stuck with a fixed number of lives, and, very often, highly limited or non-existent continues.

This trope is, of course, not limited to the eight-bit NES (whose library of games ran from the insanely difficult to the mediocre), but it was an extremely widespread console for its time. On the other hand, many Nintendo games seemed inherently dangerous.

Almost invariably, actually winning a game of this sort got you little more than A Winner Is You, and — on the arcade versions — a free replay, if you were lucky.

The concept has recently been satirized on the Internet, most famous by the The Angry Video Game Nerd, formerly the Angry Nintendo Nerd, who points out that via Sturgeon's Law, most examples of Nintendo Hard are a result of sloppy or bad design.

In other cases, it's deliberate. As mentioned before, it's partially a holdover from the arcades, where making the game nigh-impossible forced people to spend more quarters to keep playing. And some arcade game makers (Eugene Jarvis was probably the first) believed that making a game infuriatingly difficult would better motivate players to beat the game. However, it should also be noted that many Japanese games were made harder for their US release. One theory on this cites the Japanese frustration with game rentals, which were illegal in Japan but widely available in the United States; developers may have deduced that harder games could not be beaten in a weekend, and would result in more actual purchases. In all likelihood, most gamers were simply infuriated and wrote the games off as unbeatable.

Another explanation is difficulty was used to extend the time spent on the game. Contra, for example, can be beaten in under an hour, assuming you have a good understanding of all of its mechanics, a fast trigger finger, and amazing reactions so you don't die and are forced to continue. Compare this to games now, which have at least 20 hours of material you only see once.

No genre is exempt from this. See Surprise Difficulty. May lead to exclamations of: "Guide Dang It!"

Modern games that intentionally mess with the player's expectations to create insane difficulty curves fall under Platform Hell, or "masocore."

As the Discussion will testify, your mileage with this Trope may vary depending on how extreme your skill is. Some caution in adding examples may be wise.

If you feel inclined to add the words "for This Troper" or "could be considered" and cannot make a strong statement on the universal difficulty of the game in question, please reconsider.


This article is yelling for an entry about Spelunker (no relation with Spelunky) by Broderbund Software. Ridiculously hard game released for the NES and some others. I mean, falling more than 8 pixels = death.


The example section of this article need formatting.