3. Barney's Hide and Seek Game
It might not surprise you that a video game starring a character most four-year-olds find an insult to their intelligence isn't that hard. But compared to Barney's Hide and Seek, games like Sesame Street 1-2-3 were goddamn Battletoads.
In a way, Barney is the grandfather of every single new-school game that spoon-feeds you every last morsel until your guts explode from all the win. But in this case, Grandpappy's far worse, because at least you CAN lose a spoon-feeding game if you really want to. Barney? You couldn't lose. AT ALL. The stated goal of the game - find all the hidden children - did not matter, because you won no matter how poorly you did. Whether you found zero children or all five, you could cross the finish line and Barney would insist you did a super-dee-duper job.
The fewer of these brats you picked up, the more super-swell your life became.
But wait, there's less! Let's say you took too long to move Barney around. Maybe you forgot to pause while going to the bathroom, or while calling Grandma to yell at her for buying you this piece of crap even though you were 15. How did Barney react? By playing his own game, that's how! If you took too long to move his swollen grape-looking ass anywhere, he would actually walk to the finish line by his lonesome. And once again, it didn't matter how complete your kiddie collection is, Barney still proclaimed you did a super-dee-duper job.
But wait, there's even MORE less! Turns out, Barney couldn't die. He would not walk off a cliff, no matter how much you begged and begged. Instead, he would do this:
That's right: Barney would flash a stop sign and claim he could not proceed until it was "safe to do so." Only once a platform appeared could you actually control him again. So if you were so bad at games that every time your character went near a cliff, they were guaranteed to go splat at the bottom (or fall forever, depending on how you view video game pit physics), Barney was the game for you.
If, on the other hand, you bought the game purely to violently murder Barney like a normal child would, this was so not for you. You'd just have to keep on imagining his slow, brutal demise, much like every night.
2. Altered Beast
Most old-school gamers played this title, mainly because it came packaged with the Sega Genesis and did the trick until we finally annoyed our parents enough so they'd buy us Sonic. As such, many of us have fond memories of Beast, though mostly due to its kitsch factor. Even if the game was literally nothing but hour after hour of "WISE FWON YO GWAVE," "POWA UP," "WEHCUM TOO YO DOOOM," and the goddess Athena making love to a fucking werewolf, we'd be happy.
And here you thought Zeus was the only perv on Mt. Olympus.
It's a good thing such ridiculousness was included, because the actual game was easy as pie, though not nearly as tasty. There were five stages, and each one was super-short. If it weren't for the Invisible Scrolling Wall of Interminable Slowness stopping you, you could probably zoom to the end of the game in five minutes flat. Instead, you had to spare ten, possibly fifteen minutes to conquer this epic. Suck it ,Atreyu - this is the REAL Neverending Story!
And it's not like that brief period of playtime was filled with death and doom and danger lurking around every temple and monument. Nope - the enemies were slow, weak, and didn't get any faster or stronger as you progressively powered up. In fact, other than when you turned into a mythical beast, all power-ups were completely useless. At your weakest, two hits were required to make a foe crumble, though usually you only needed one.
As for the bosses, these might have been the most pathetic bosses in gaming history. You could destroy each and every one in seconds flat, simply by spamming your special Beast move over and over again. If you somehow died while doing this, you would immediately come back to life with full health, while the boss's health remained unchanged. That's like winning a basketball game, only for your opponent to immediately start a rematch where they're up 115-2 at tip-off.
1. Super Metroid
Much like with Final Fantasy VI, sometimes our love for an unabashed classic can cloud our judgment of it. Such is the case with Super Metroid, one of the greatest, most influential, and - unfortunately - easiest games in history.
Samus Aran, already a battle-hardened warrior, was now so vastly overpowered that winning was practically a foregone conclusion. You had over double the items you had in the original Metroid, including super missiles, super bombs, a stupidly high jump, four new beams, tons more energy (including reserve energy for when you run out of real energy), and so much more.
Shockingly, there was no mega-super-ultra-giant-huge bomb that could explode the entire planet before the game even began. Maybe the developers decided that would be cheating?
In addition, this game was the originator of the map-out-everything trope that Castlevania appropriated several years later. With the original Metroid, there was no map, which forced you to actually explore and remember where you'd been and how you got there. Unless, of course, you were so meticulous that you could actually draw your own map. More often than not though, any attempt at doing so immediately resembled a series of kindergarten-esque scribbles, the paper liberally spiced with every curse word we had heard of up until that point.
But with the map, we always knew exactly where we were at all times, and exactly how to get to where we needed to be. It all but eliminated the thought process required in the original Metroid. A lack of map may have made the game harder to beat, but that was also kind of the point.
Then of course, there was the final boss. Except Super Metroid didn't really have a final boss, did it? Mother Brain's new body sure looked scary (not to mention a little curvy,) but she was little more than a storyline battle that you legitimately could not lose.
Even if somehow you lost a ton of energy in the almost-battle, the game would just skip straight to the part where the Baby Metroid sacrifices itself and bequeathed you yet one more beam that will absolutely obliterate Mother Brain and leave her a mere pile of dust.
That's right - one of the most beloved videogames of our childhood ended up being almost as predetermined as Barney's Hide and Seek. How super-dee-fucking-duper.
Previously By Jason Iannone: