The trustworthy souls over at Gamasutra have offered up a list of 20 difficult games and the important design lessons to be derived from each.
The impulse to make video games easier can be traced to a fundamental change in perception over what a game should be. The older school of thought, which dates back and beyond the days of Space Invaders to the era of pinball, is that a game should measure the player's skill. Arcade games, in fact, must make it difficult for a player to last for any great length of time in order to keep money coming into the coin box. The newer concept is that a game should provide an experience to the player.
So, old-school gamer, the next time you're ready to throw that controller or pound that keyboard remember...maybe the designer really loves you after all.
You can read the full article here.