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The Most Punishing Video Games of All Time

Updated October 16, 2020 14.1k votes 3.1k voters 550.9k views22 items

In your library, you probably have at least one game that punishes you so hard that you still haven't beaten it. Below we're ranking the toughest games in terms of punishment and the rage they give you while playing them. Games in the modern day are typically criticized for not punishing the player too much when they are unsuccessful. Save systems, lower difficulty, and a general forgiveness to the player for not being good at the game result in many AAA titles to have a sense that just anyone can beat them. There are some games, even long video games, that are brutal to the player, and find different ways to make you feel like a failure. With our list of grueling video games, you'll find plenty of challenges that you may (or may not) be up to the task for! 

Some games, like Dark Souls II, are relentless and devoid of any handholding -- you're dumped right into the deep end. Others, like Five Nights at Freddy's, punish you for the very act of playing the game: the game itself is an exercise in the dread that you are going to be killed, it's going to be loud and jumpy and there's nothing you can do but wait and hope it doesn't actually happen. But it will happen. 

So take a look at our list of hard-won games and vote for your favorites! After that, take a look at some of our other video games lists to see what you should be playing next! 
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