The 10 most frustrating games of all time

It’s entirely possible that game design developers are simply missing the mark – a glossed over quest tutorial, a forgotten door, and an overpriced enemy that players can’t defeat. These frustrations can permeate the entire game and somehow get to the root of the game design. The games themselves might not be bad, but they certainly can have a penchant for frustrating the players they’re trying to calm down. If you’re curious how the depths of madness feels like, here are the 10 most frustrating games of all time.

10. Fifa 22

Gamepur screenshot
  • Released October 1, 2021
  • Developed by Electronic Arts
  • Published by Electronic Arts

The FIFA franchise generally plays fair, making small changes to mechanics and rosters every year to keep players coming back for more football action. Once you’ve joined the online game, an alleged dynamic difficulty system (known as DDA) was designed to make certain players fail on the field to make the games tighter. As you win your game online, prepare for your entire team to stumble and trip over their own feet while your goalie randomly chases butterflies until it’s an even game. It doesn’t matter who you have on your team, if you’re ahead in the game, they’ll miss performing the most basic moves. Electronic Arts continues to deny claims that DDA (for which they filed a patent in 2016) is specifically active in FIFA Ultimate Team, while users continue to point out bizarre occurrences that magically connect the games.

9. King Quest 5

Image via World of Longplays on YouTube
  • Released November 1, 1990
  • Developed by Sierra Online
  • Sierra entertainment

It’s amazing how we managed to get games done when the industry was still in its infancy, especially when you look at some of the older titles like King’s Quest 5. Microscopic interactions would be required to advance, with no cue from storyline or dialogue, and players would simply be stuck until they consulted their local gaming oracle. King’s Quest 5 is often seen as the low point of Sierra’s heyday, with multiple late-game bans that could kick in if early scenes weren’t played perfectly. There was no indication that the player was soft-banned until dozens of hours later, essentially prompting players to play through the entire game again, but with a different guess.

8. Child chameleon

Image via NintendoComplete on YouTube
  • Released March 1, 1992
  • Developed by the Sega Technical Institute
  • Published by Sega

Kid Chameleon has an amazing setup: an AI boss in a virtual reality game starts kidnapping various players and it’s up to Kid Chameleon to rescue them. If it sounds like the premise of Sword Art Online’s only season, you might be tempted to find it on Steam. Until you learn that the game has a total of 103 levels where no checkpoints, passwords or saves are allowed. You play it in one shot or you lose. Modern versions of the title have the grace to offer an external storage system, but the fix didn’t save the frustrations of yesterday when it released on the Sega Genesis. To be fair, the game was fantastic – it just didn’t care about time investments.

7. Superman 64

Image via World of Longplays on YouTube
  • Released May 31, 1991
  • Developed by Titus Interactive
  • Published by Titus Interactive

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no – it’s a desperately struggling superhero who can only stop by finding a solid object and crashing into it multiple times. Officially called Superman: The New Superman Adventures, it was dubbed Superman 64 and featured unresponsive controls that often had to be pressed multiple times for Superman to do anything other than twitch like an overcaffeinated 12-year-old. Some might point out that this game is simply one of the worst ever made, but context sets the tone for frustration. Superman: The Animated Series smashed TV ratings during this era, and this title attracted hundreds of thousands of new fans immediately upon release. Titus Interactive lost the Warner Bros. license shortly after release.

6. Rick Dangerous

Image via World of Longplays on YouTube
  • Released in 1989
  • Developed by CoreDesign
  • Published by Firebird Software

Rick Dangerous was a raw spelunky that ran on Atari and MS-DOS in 1989. Some critics note that it comes chillingly close to Indiana Jones, Rick Dangerous travels to the Amazon jungle to search for a lost tribe and ends up in the standard range of adventure-driven caving. It’s all well and good until you actually start playing the game and realize how excruciatingly slow you had to move to avoid a plethora of hidden traps and gadgets. Pixel by pixel, Rick Dangerous became Rick Cautious as players zoomed inch by inch across the screen in the world’s slowest exploration. Traps offered little time to react, making the only counterplay as slow as possible.

5. The Simpsons

Image via World of Longplays on YouTube
  • Released March 4, 1991
  • Developed by Konami
  • Published by Konami

Perhaps noting that an arcade game has a level of frustration as they have to do it to keep the coins from slipping into their trays is cheating, but The Simpsons went a little too far. In an attempt to save Maggie from Smithers, this four-player beat ’em up game featured brawls across Springfield against a litany of different enemies. Unfortunately, almost every enemy had the ability to stun players, meaning a one-time hit could often result in the loss of all remaining life. The frequency of this mechanic naturally increased as players neared the end, meaning some boss fights lasted multiple quarters if you were having a hard time.

4. Takeshi’s challenge

Image via JonTronShow on YouTube
  • Released December 10, 1986
  • Developed by Nova Company
  • Edited by Taito

Takeshi’s Challenge is probably the most bizarre game ever made thanks to Japanese comic Takeshi. Follow the daily life of a salaried office worker who strives for greatness in search of treasure and enjoy the constant Game Over screens when you don’t divorce your wife at the right time, don’t meet the necessary NPCs or do the right thing learn musical instruments. Most of the time, players have no idea where went wrong, so enjoy seeing the dreaded Game Over screen every time you try to find the treasure.

3. The bizarre adventures of Woodruff and Schnibble

Image via KieferKhaos
  • Released April 1, 1995
  • Developed by Coktel Vision
  • Published by Sierra Online

A post-apocalyptic point and click adventure with a unique twist: the vast majority of the written language purposely makes no sense. Not as if it was written in some other language, but more so that the developers chose to develop what appears to be a language and refused to elaborate further with in-game glossaries and the like. The puzzles tend to be quite a leap of logic too, meaning both sides of this coin end up frustrating players. This turns what might be a quirky, unique adventure into an arduous process of trying every possible made-up word to get through a dialogue with an NPC that also doesn’t make sense.

2. Dwarf Fortress

Gamepur screenshot
  • Released August 8, 2006
  • Developed by Bay 12 Games
  • Published by Bay 12 Games

Most titles find legendary success by focusing on a few small mechanics and building a game around them. Dwarf Fortress missed the mark by a nautical mile, instead opting to simulate as much life as possible without considering the need for UI and tutorial systems for most players. To be clear, Dwarf Fortress is possible without spending hours reading wikis, watching videos, and generally thinking about how something is supposed to happen. You’re just not going to get very far before your clan eventually goes down the drain, and you’re feeling frustrated because you didn’t figure out how to complete a simple mechanic, like creating arable land underground to feed everyone at the to get life. When you figure it all out, it’s brilliant – it’s just hard to complete every step toward that ultimate goal.

1. Diablo immortal

Image via Activision Blizzard
  • Released on June 2, 2022
  • Developed by Blizzard Entertainment
  • Published by Blizzard Entertainment

Diablo Immortal is the now-infamous mobile iteration of the Diablo franchise, hammering home the idea that free-to-play games are often the most expensive titles known to man. Late gameplay is simply impossible to achieve without spending tens of thousands of dollars on in-game microtransactions, each offering only an opportunity to get what is needed. It’s gambling but with no tangible reward at the end of spending to show the significant other. The setback was severe, but it doesn’t matter – Blizzard easily returned its investment and even more, thanks to the popularity of mobile gaming and a distance between players, developers and publishers. The 10 most frustrating games of all time

Curtis Crabtree

Curtis Crabtree is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Curtis Crabtree joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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