Gauntlet (1985)

By Patrick M. Boyle

This game pitted one or two of four characters (Warrior, Valkyrie, Elf, Sorcerer) against an infinite onslaught of unavoidable enemies over the course of an endless dungeon crawl. Each level featured little “houses” spawning hordes of creatures to be killed by players’ thrown weapons.

Most games of the era gave players the chance to make it decently far before smacking them with an insanely difficult level, but Gauntlet refused to pull punches. As a kid, I had huge problems getting through the first level.

Even today, seeing the cartridge (or one of the countless arcade-based sequels that it spawned) causes me to recoil and hang my head in shame.