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Frustrating Flappy Bird Tops App List: What Are the Toughest Games Ever Made?

Infuriating iOS game Flappy Bird has soared to the top of the App Store charts after taking social media by storm.

The game, in which you tap the screen to make a bird fly higher in an attempt to navigate a series of pipes, has thousands of gamers in the palm of its hand. It has a ton of fans, but has also inspired loathing due to how incredibly, hilariously difficult it is.

Its toughness isn't helped by the game's simplicity either. The mechanics are as basic as they come, it never varies from its first pipe to its hundredth, it is laden with ads and it looks remarkably similar to Super Mario Bros.

Some are addicted, some hate it, but no matter what you think of Flappy Bird it is certainly an attention-grabber. To celebrate its improbable rise to iOS prominence, here are some of the toughest games ever made.

Battletoads

What started life as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rip-off has become the stuff of videogame legend.

Battletoads' success was down to the work of developers Rare, who put together an excellent side-scrolling platformer with a distinct and memorable visual panache. It was also hard as balls.

Platforming games at their essence are about timing, and the very toughest platformers require a level of precision usually reserved for clock-makers and professional Operation players. That's what Battletoads demanded of players, and that's why it has become a classic.

774 Deaths

Square Enix are best known for their Final Fantasy games, so an iOS platformer of unforgiving difficulty is something of a departure for them.

774 Deaths will see you die many more times than that, sometimes on just a single level. Eurogamer's review puts it perfectly: "Saying 774 Deaths is hard is an understatement on par with saying Hitler had some unpleasant qualities."

QWOP

The quintessential videogame ball-buster. QWOP is very, very difficult, but it is not nearly as frustrating as other games on this list.

In it you control the limbs of a runner attempting a 100 metre "sprint". Coordinating the movements is key, and it's a lot harder than it sounds. A lot harder.

QWOP's difficulty is its charm, and failure – while annoying – often provides good laughs as your rag-doll athlete contorts and crumples following a last ditch effort to cross the 0.7 metre mark.

Dark Souls

Dying as a state of failure in videogames is a hangover from the days of coin-guzzling arcade machines, and is often employed as a default fail state. In Dark Souls however, death is crucial because it teaches you so much.

Dark Souls is a hack-and-slash action adventure set in a dismally dark fantasy world. It has been rightfully lauded as one of the greatest games since the turn of the century, and has been rightfully labelled one of the most difficult.

It demands patience, planning and lateral thinking – qualities lost on most games of its ilk. For this reason death serves as a crucial part of making your way through the game, as with each failed fight you learn what works, what doesn't and what risks may be worth taking in the future.

The Impossible Game

Similar to Flappy Bird, The Impossible Games requires only finger-tapping to play, as you control the jump of a square hurtling down a course of shapes.

Naturally the course is littered with obstacles, and don't think hitting them will just slow you down – it ends the game. Yep, you only have one life.

Perhaps most frustrating of all is the constant reminder of how many times you have attempted a level blazoned across the top of the screen. It will climb into the hundreds before you finally complete it.

Ninja Gaiden

Like Dark Souls, this hack-and-slash action game puts its emphasis on a player's mastery of skills rather than their ability to mash buttons.

Both games represent a different kind of challenge to platformers as well. Whereas those games are about timing and finding a rhythm, Ninja Gaiden and Dark Souls are about mastering every facet of combat and knowing when to attack.

The remake of the classic NES Ninja Gaiden was a hit in 2004, spawning sequels and remakes running right up until 2013. It is a punishing experience, but that's why people love it.