main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Nintendo Hard
Be prepared to see this a lot.


The first Nintendo Entertainment System was known for two things: reviving home console gaming and having ridiculously difficult games.

Back in the '80s, video games didn't have the advanced storylines of today; Excuse Plots were the norm. So much of the feeling of accomplishment one could derive was from overcoming the insane difficulty that the games provided, if only so one could brag to one's friends. A plethora of enemies and difficult jumps were not just the name of the game, they were the game. These games weren't just hard; they were Nintendo Hard!

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.

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 highly limited or non-existent continues.

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

A lot of these are simply rookie mistakes. For a company, establishing an identity and building the fanbase takes priority over finding the proper challenge level. Often the designers will go for something highly distinctive, take a lot of time designing and making it look right, and not spend enough time on the actual gameplay and level mechanics, then realize too late that they've (completely unintentionally) made a monster. Ghosts 'n Goblins is a good example of this.

When Nintendo Hard is taken to its most sadistic extremes by deliberately adding cheap deaths and Trial-and-Error Gameplay, you get Masocore or Platform Hell.

When only one or few levels or areas of the game are Nintendo Hard, you're probably dealing with That One Level, or SNK Boss if it's the end. If the game reaches an obscene difficulty at a certain point and never looks back, look for Difficulty Spike. Examples of Nintendo Hard head-to-head fighters generally go under The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, since crazy-hard opponent AI is nigh-universally the culprit. Earn Your Fun is a common argument for those who like such abusingly difficult games.

Nintendo products themselves are physically very hard (to break, which is fortunate when playing games like this), but that's Tonka Tough, not Nintendo Hard.

Apparently several classic Nintendo games are, in general, NP-hard, which is also not the same, but interesting.

When you add examples, please be sure to read the following sentence: 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, then it is not an example.

If you know where an example filed under "Uncategorised" goes, then please sort it.


Video Game Examples

Non-Video Game Examples

Cranky Kong: You call these games hard? Bah! I was beating games with twice the difficulty these had before any of you were born!

Most Annoying SoundAnnoyance TropesOffing The Annoyance
Ninja Pirate Zombie RobotPt/Índice de TraduçãoThat One Boss
News Travels FastRole-Playing GameNo Hero Discount
Ninja Pirate Zombie RobotJustForFun/Tropes of LegendThat One Boss
Multi User DungeonOlder Than the NESNon-Standard Game Over
Multiplayer Difficulty SpikeFighting GamePuppet Fighter
Non-Indicative DifficultyVideo Game Difficulty TropesNumerical Hard
Easy-Mode MockeryImageSource/Video GamesTrial-and-Error Gameplay
Mr. FanserviceOverdosed TropesName's the Same

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy