There's no denying that, broadly speaking, video games have become easier in recent years. Whether to appease angry fans, appeal to casual players, or for accessibility, it's rare to see games as brutal and punishing as just about any given game on the original NES.
However, this has also opened up a sizeable market for those very same kinds of difficult games. It's why FromSoftware has been so successful with their Souls games. And that's to say nothing of the dozens of titles released over the past several years also built around a high difficulty - Hades or Cuphead, for example.
What makes these games tolerable is the fact that developers have had years to learn how to make games challenging but not cheap, making infamously challenging games simultaneously famously rewarding.
Sometimes though, those old-school cheap bad guys still find their way into our living rooms, resulting in yelling gamers and frightened pets across the globe.
Thankfully, in our modern age, pretty much any game can also be patched, hopefully correcting these missteps.
10. Sean - Sifu
Classic beat-em-up games were mainly designed to rob kids of their quarters in the arcade. Traditionally, you'd walk along beating waves of enemies until encountering a boss so ridiculously overpowered it could eat up your entire pocket full of coins.
The genre already has a history of punishing difficulty, so if you got into Sloclap's Sifu - a game built and marketed on its difficulty - without knowing what you were in for, then that was on you.
However, difficulty has to be built on a learning curve, especially for a game with the nuance of Sifu. So when the second boss in your game is also the most difficult, it tends to bother people, as it requires a level of skill that they shouldn't possess at that point.
That boss, the infamous Sean, fell into that sweet spot of being just strong enough, cheap enough, and boring enough that fighting him was an infuriating chore. The fight wasn't interesting or diverse enough to justify the amount of time and effort it took to beat him. A nerf was inevitable.
Unfortunately, some players considered this an over-correction, making Sean so trivial that became more of a minor irritant than a test of skill.