- Steel Battalion for the Xbox, which features hour long missions with no pause or reset and useless allies. Did we forget to mention that your save game gets deleted if you don't use the Ejection Seat in time or not have enough supply points for a replacement Vertical Tank?
- This is a game with a 30+ button controller◊ with multiple joysticks, pedals, and switches. You're liable to get killed just trying to work the controls.
- IL-2 Sturmovik, still regarded as the most Hard Core of WWII combat flight simulators. Flying in a hamfisted manner WILL get you into a stall or spin that will likely end in your demise either by crashing or getting shot up in such a helpless state, and hitting the target with your guns is much more difficult than it looks when you have to compensate for ballistics in three dimensions at high speeds. It's even harder if you couldn't afford a good, precise flight stick.
- Modern air combat simulators like Falcon 4.0 and DCS: Black Shark are a different kind of difficult; generally easier to fly thanks to computerized Flight Control Systems, but much more difficult to fight in due to the complicated weapons systems. Ramp starting the aircraft from a cold state in either sim also makes the aforementioned Steel Battalion's startup procedure look as easy as turning a key in comparison. They don't call them "study sims" for nothing-especially when they used to come with gigantic manuals, one of which (in Falcon 4.0 's case) was a binder that doubled as the game's packaging!
- It gets worse for DCS. The developers were actually contracted to make a sim to train actual A-10 pilots into converting to the newer "C" variant, and were allowed to release a slightly modified commercial version. They've boasted that if you can learn to play their game, you can hijack *ahem* fly the actual A-10 Thunderbolt. (Similar boasts have been made for Falcon 4.0.)
- Among racing sims, Grand Prix Legends and Richard Burns Rally in particular stand out for unforgivingly realistic driving physics. Trying to leadfoot your way around the whole track, as you would do in an arcade racing game, will only make you slide right off the turn and into the wall. Learning to manage the gas/throttle and brake in addition to the wheel is extremely critical to getting to the finish line intact with a decent time.
- Armored Core: Last Raven. As the last game in the series made for the PS2, Last Raven was essentially made for players who had played and beaten all of the previous games. If you hadn't played the previous games, you couldn't import a file, meaning you were stuck with a crappy mech against enemy aces. Even if you had imported a file, the game was scaled to assume you had done so, and the fights are still extremely tough (especially in Jack-O's route which in brief is "fight a Raven every level, or two if Jack-O demands it"). The storyline has different branches and endings depending on what missions you take. However, there are no indicators of how hard a mission will be, and they vary heavily within story paths. Most notably, you start with two missions, one has Bolt, who will obliterate your pitiful starting mech in a heartbeat. The other is a standard intro mission.
- X-Wing and TIE Fighter both fit this, mostly because you can't choose which fighter you pilot. This results in fun because the Y-Wing can't maneuver worth a damn, and the TIE Fighter has no Deflector Shields. Also, a lot of escort missions feature ships piloted by Leeroy Jenkins. Is it any wonder the next game let you choose your ship?
- RollerCoaster Tycoon has some rather mean objectives for you to set out on.
- Harmony Hills: 1,200 guests in 3 years without adjusting land, scenery or building over trees.
- Micro Park: Get a park rating of $10,000 at the end of the 3rd year with a park 13x13 big. And you thought Dinky/Pokey Park was hard.
- Mothball Mountain: 900 guests in 3 years with poor terrain, wet weather, land is rather expensive and your max loan is $15,000.
- Fiasco Forest. 800 guests in one year, and the danger factor is like Action Park on steroids.
- LHX Attack Chopper turns this way, especially once you start going up the ranks. Doesn't help that your savegame gets deleted once you're killed.
- Densha De Go is a train simulator. If you are 15 seconds late, or 15 seconds early, or 5 metres out of place, or if you accelerate within the platform to avoid the aforementioned sins, or if you brake too hard so that passengers fall over... you lose lifepoints. I don't think even Japanese railways are really that strict. By comparison, British trains are considered on time if they are less than 5 minutes late - and being early is praised!
- Cart Life is exceedingly brutal, due to the many, many factors you need to juggle in order to survive, as well as the fact that time passes extremely quickly in-game.
- Grimm's Hatchery is an animal management simulation game which combines luck and days with limited time. You have to raise $300,000 in 80 days. The problem is, the days start out in very short but then get longer on later days. One objective requires you to collect a golden goose from golden goose eggs which drop from regular gooses, and is required to continue the game. And still, you're always racing the clock, which can prevent you from raising enough money if you're unlucky with the golden goose or the similar tasks.
- Otometeki Koi Kakumei Love Revo is a massively complicated Dating Sim that you almost certainly will fail miserably on your first playthrough at a minimum. Not only do you have to concentrate on losing weight while still having to eat snacks from time to time to stave off hunger, but you have to raise ten other stats too to catch the eye of the guys. Furthermore, even if you lose enough weight, raise your stats high enough, and go on enough dates with your chosen guy to raise his heart level to the maximum pink, you can still fail to get an ending with him if you didn't go on quite enough dates or picked a single wrong dialogue option with him. Oh, and picking all the right dialogue options isn't as easy as it might sound because while selecting the correct option typically gives you a 'ding!' sound, some wrong dialogue options give you the exact same ding sound, giving you no clear indication of where you screwed up.
- Microsoft Flight Simulator can be this, depending on what you're trying to achieve. Flying an older type of aircraft in a realistic way, while communicating with air traffic control, you quickly run into this. There's a reason some of those types often had a crew of 3 or more, all of whom were often busy with their own seperate tasks, especially during take-off and landing. One particular example would be Concorde, which required careful coordination between the flying pilot and the flight engineer, while the non-flying pilot would often be busy speaking to air traffic control. Doing the same thing as a single player often result in at least one aspect going badly wrong.
- Silent Hunter at the highest realism settings qualifies. Among other things, you've to worry about fuel, battery, CO2, and compressed air levels, the possibility of the torpedoes you fired being duds (thus ruining a well-planned attack), long times for reloading a torpedo (which can be a pain in the ass when attacking a convoy), no way to know if your sub has been detected by the enemy until they come upon you, and having to calculate yourself torpedo attacksnote , and -of course- no event cameras.
- SpaceX Falcon 9 Lander on Scratch, which challenges you to land a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in the middle of the ocean, shows that it's no piece of cake, like in reality. Your rocket are 98% likely, when you land it, to shift off the platform and explode. Many news sites have published articles about the browser game, because of this trope.
- Kairosoft games like Game Dev Story and Pocket Stables sounds easy, but to actually breed horses that can win higher level races or create bestseller games that will score highly in game reviews will have you yelling Guide Dang It! due to the deep, complicated statistic-imbued mechanics.
- Pocket Arcade Story: Both the simulation and fighting aspect of the game. On the simulation aspect, you need to maintain your balance sheet to make sure you don't fall into the red. On the fighting aspect, you need to match the computer AI against a capable fighter of your own, and intervene in such a way that you don't deplete your stamina and still win in the end. And to take things up a level, The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard during fighting tournaments.
- Papers, Please requires you to process at least fifteen entrants per day to keep you and your family financially secure. A lack of money can result in having to do without food or heat, thus causing family members to die (which can lead to you losing your job, because Arstozka promotes strong families and an inability to provide for them is unacceptable) if you don't end up going into debt and being arrested for failure to pay your bills. Not helping matters are the increasing number of rules that can and will change, occasional terror attacks that will force you to end your shift early and cost you money, and steadily increasing rent.
Nintendo Hard / Simulation Games