This is the HARDEST Video Game EVER Made – Never Been Beat

A widely popular game series, which you’ve most likely played if you were alive in the 1990s, holds the single hardest video game ever made. It’s so difficult, in fact, it could be considered impossible.

So what is the hardest game ever made?

The hardest game ever made is Wave Race.

Yes, we’re talking about the jet skiing game released by Nintendo. You may be thinking you’ve beaten the game and it wasn’t that hard, but you’d be mistaken.

Wave Race 64

Released on September 27, 1996, gamers around the world were introduced to the synth-driven jet ski racing game Wave Race 64. With a Metacritic score of 92/100 and commercial success, Wave Race 64 sold 1.95 million copies in the US alone. Worldwide, Wave Race 64 had 2.94 million sales, putting it in 15th place for most sales of any Nintendo 64 game.

Synthwave, dolphin-riding, nostalgic goodness.

The game was honestly just so good, and if you ever needed a break from the races, you could ride the dolphins instead!

How to Ride the Dolphins in Wave Race 64

In Stunt Mode, select Dolphin Park and go through all the rings while performing every stunt.

The Difficulty of Wave Race 64

Wave Race 64 was a fantastic game with a fair amount of difficulty. The game featured a couple of tough corners to master on Expert and Reverse modes, especially on Marine Fortress. With that said, the game was very beatable and championed excellently balanced difficulties for players of all skill levels. What many people aren’t aware of is the fact that Wave Race 64 wasn’t a stand-alone game.

Wave Race 64 was a game that was nearly impossible to miss in the late ’90s. However, Wave Race isn’t just a one-off game. Instead, it’s a series. By the early 2000s, the next installment in the series didn’t maintain the same presence as its previous release.

Wave Race: Blue Storm

Wave Race: Blue Storm was released with significantly less praise, but still mostly received a positive reception at an 80/100 Metacritic score. Blue Storm was released on September 14, 2001.

Despite less positive reviews, many would disagree. The game’s water physics are great, even by today’s standards. There’s just something about well-made video game water that is so enticing — and it’s certainly on display throughout Blue Storm. This GameCube release features some catchy songs, the controls were solid, and it even had some funny secrets. The most well-received secret in Blue Storm is the sarcastic, condescending announcer which can be unlocked with a Konami code reference.

How to unlock the Sarcastic Announcer in Wave Race: Blue Storm

In the option menu go to the Audio Settings. Hold Z until the audio wave line at the bottom of the menu changes to a vertically scrolling haze. Then press Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, A, X, Z. If done correctly, you’ll hear a jingle. Now you’ll need to select Ryota Hayami as your player, and the announcer will now be condescending and insulting.

Overall Wave Race: Blue Storm is a very fun racing game. It’s a game you could pick up any time and still have a great experience!

Wave Race: Blue Storm – Difficulty Level

This Nintendo GameCube release may be awesome to play, but was it really the hardest game ever made? Given that Blue Storm has been completed by players around the world, absolutely not.

So which of these Wave Race games is “impossible” to beat? Well, I’ve already told you the answer to that. Wave Race.

Wave Race

4 years before the release of Wave Race 64, the series began. The original Wave Race was released on July 1, 1992 for the Nintendo Game Boy. And here, in 1992, we have arrived at the most difficult game ever made. I promise I’m not jebaiting you this time. This game is currently viewed as unbeatable.

One reason the original Wave Race may seem like a secret is that it didn’t release in Europe until 1997, at which point it’d be greatly overshadowed by its successor Wave Race 64. Wave Race was also never released in Japan, leading to a further lack of awareness.

While it was limited in its release, Wave Race did manage to sell enough copies that Player’s Choice (now Nintendo Selects) awarded it a medal. It is likely due to this that we were given the two awesome sequels that followed.

I personally have gone head-to-head with Wave Race to no avail. On my playthrough, it took me 14 hours to beat 650cc in the World Series, but each circuit is exponentially more challenging than the circuit before. We’ll soon be breaking down the reasons why this game is so difficult.

There are countless games that are difficult for various reasons, but Wave Race pushes the limits. To know why the game is considered the hardest game ever made, we’ll need to look at what criteria and which games are being considered.

Which Hard Games to Consider

There are video games that are simply not intended to be completed without tool-assistance. Notably, there are many Super Mario World romhacks (Also known as ROM hacks) that were fully intended to be played by humans, but with the expectation that save states will be used.

To consider these wouldn’t make much sense, because the first few-thousand games on the list would be games that stump the players within the first couple of seconds.

On the topic of romhacks, tracking down the hardest romhack created with the intent of human completion without tool assistance would be an immensely huge task. There are plenty of really great romhacks, fangames, homebrews, and otherwise. For the sake of this overview, we’re focusing on official games released on console, Steam, or the aforementioned mediums if the games are widely enough known (including games like Battle Kid 1 & 2).

While some games can get pretty tough on harder difficulties, Wave Race only has 1 difficulty available. This one difficulty leads to the end-game credits. Even when considering harder difficulties on other games, they pale in comparison to the insane challenge of Wave Race.

Wave Race on Game Boy Has Never Been Beaten

Wave Race has never been completed by anyone. Ever.

What’s shocking is that of the wide number of playthroughs, speedruns, reviews, and walkthroughs, there’s not a single instance of the game being beaten. There is no footage of completion and no anonymous internet claims of such a feat. Even the online walkthroughs ’90s kids relied on seem to give up on the 2nd half of the game.

Wave Race Guide
Source: GameFAQs

As you can see, the difficulty comes from the Circuit Mode in the World Series. 800cc specifically is just an absolute monster to take on. Spanning from 1992 to the current day, nobody has been able to overcome Wave Race’s 800cc in the World Series, which is the only trigger of the final cutscene and ending credits.

Footage of the ending has been ripped from the game and is available for viewing.

As shown in the ending credits, the game’s producer is the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto! The same Shigeru Miyamoto that is known for The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario. Such a well-known producer, and a well-known series, surely someone had to have completed this game, right? What about speedrunners?

Wave Race Speedruns

If you’re familiar with the speedrunning scene, you’ve probably already taken a look at the leaderboards to debunk this claim. And there it is, 800cc World Circut leaderboard with not only one, but two videos proving my claims wrong!

After watching the videos all the way through, you’ll find that while these speedruns make it to the end of the game, they do not show end credits, and they play a tune that seemingly mocks the players. Replaced by the final cutscene is a line of text reading “YOU MUST GET 31PTS” and “TRY AGAIN“.

The speedruns focus on finishing each race within the circuit, rather than winning. When you’re familiar with the intense rubber-banding of the enemy AI, it becomes apparent that you can sometimes go slower to score more points. Slower would not be useful in a speedrun setting.

While there are full circuit and slalom mode speedruns, the focus of Wave Race speedruns is primarily on individual-level speedruns (also known as ILs).

In any case, countless attempts have been made to beat Wave Race by speedrunners and casual players alike without success. Some may reason to think that the game hasn’t been beaten because it’s simply not good enough to play through to completion. Let’s take a look at what the original Wave Race offers as a gameplay experience.

Wave Race Game Modes

There are two primary game modes, and three secondary modes offered in the game. The two main game modes are vastly different from each other and are both equally fun in their own ways.

Circuit

The circuit mode is the main mode of the game. In this mode, the player competes with 3 other opponent racers to the finish line on the final lap. The number of laps changes between difficulties, and the mode features 6 total divisions. Beating the final division, the World Series 800cc, is the only way to reach the end credits of the circuit mode. I dare you to try!

Points are acquired based on your placement in each course. Finishing in first place grants the character or player 5 points for first, 3 points for getting in second place, 2 points for third, and 1 point for last. To complete each division and move on to the next, you are required to hit a set number of points as detailed below.

National Series

  • 550cc: Complete 2 laps for each of the 4 courses. Finish the 4 courses with 15 points total to move on to 650cc.
  • 650cc: Complete 3 laps for each of the 6 courses. Finish the 6 courses with 23 points move on to 800cc.
  • 800cc: Complete 4 laps for each of the 8 courses. Finish the 8 courses with 31 points to unlock the World Series.

World Series

  • 550cc: 2 laps each, 4 courses. Finish with 15 points to move on to 650cc.
  • 650cc: 3 laps each, 6 courses. Finish with 23 points to move on to 800cc.
  • 800cc: 4 laps each, 8 courses. Finish with 31 points to beat the game!

There’s a lot of information there! But what is critical to note is that the points required to beat each circuit increase. My 14-hour completion of 650cc in the World Series came in at 23 points — just enough to move on to 800cc! One point less, and the grind would’ve had to continue.

650cc complete
I can’t tell you how many times I failed this race!

This is the main mode of the game, sort of what we would view in a modern game as the campaign. This is the mode that nobody has ever beaten. Before we break down why that might be the case, we’ll give a quick overview of the alternate game modes.

Slalom

Slalom mode is very fun! Slalom mode also features ending credits. The slalom end credits are different from the credits in circuit mode. Arguably the most fun you could have in the game — especially if you’ve got friends to play with. Just like in circuit mode, there are 6 divisions to be completed. 3 difficulties in the nation races, and 3 more in the World Series.

In this mode, you are faced against 3 opponent enemies on a scattered map. While circuit mode has a linear map with checkpoints at the end, slalom is a free-roam free-for-all! You’ll be racing in all and any directions trying to cross through each of the checkered lines. For every checkered line that you cross before the opponents, you score 1 point. You’ll need to hit a specified number of points to beat each division.

The checkered lines are shown on the map in the bottom right corner.


Each one could gain you 1 point!

Multi

Just like Wave Race 64, the original Wave Race can be played 4 player!

Using Nintento’s Four Player Adaptor, you can play with 2, 3, or 4 players! This mode requires each player to have the game and a Game Boy. Honestly, this is a really cool feature!

Just like with 1-player mode, Circuit and Slalom modes are both available. Either can be a blast with friends!

The game manual does a great job of outlining exactly how to set up multiplayer mode!

Practice

Practice mode allows you to select any course at any speed. No pesky opponents are there to push you around! This is a really good way to practice your movement, and master the slippy-slidey feel of your jet-ski.

This is the mode speedrunners use to compete for IL (individual level) times. While there are still “full game” speedruns, most of the speedruns for Wave Race are ILs. These IL runs best showcase the speedrunner’s ability to navigate through the rough waters, unique controls, and many obstacles faced on each course.

In practice mode, points don’t matter. So clearing a course to move on to the next simply doesn’t apply. This mode also ensures that you can go at your top speed without the worry of enemy rubber-banding. Or worse yet, aggressive non-player characters knocking you off course!

Records

In Records mode, you can view your circuit mode records. If you’re interested in speedrunning, this is a cool reference point to track your own personal bests!

One feature that’s actually quite useful is that Record mode includes all of your in-game records! Not just 1 player mode, but also multiplayer, and practice mode records. So no matter which game mode or how you play, your fastest will always be recorded!

If you decided that you want a fresh start, that’s an option available too. Albeit, a little hidden. To erase all of your records by holding “up” while pressing the select and start buttons on the title screen. Don’t worry about doing this by accident. If you do these inputs, the game brings up a confirmation screen where you can cancel your clear.

Wave Race Gameplay

Slick Wilson, a fictional character that only shows up in the game’s manual, introduces you to your objective. He tells you that you’re heading to the Bahamas to compete in the National Series competition. He basically reminds you that only one person can win. So you’re going to have to be skilled to come out as number 1!

Wave Race Manual

Slick refers to your “Personal Water Craft” as a PWC, because this acronym is totally critical to your survival at seas.

Character Movement

“PWC? More like Putrid Witch-Craft, just like this game’s horrible controls! I’m pressing left and the back end of the craft takes forever to turn around! I’ve seen better turning from a Weiner-dog with its back legs in ice skates! What were they thinking!?” – AVGN, probably.

While the Angry Video Game Nerd never actually said that, it’s a common sentiment. The controls are tough to get used to. But to be fair, the controlling is pretty accurate to a real-life jetski experience. It’s honestly pretty remarkable!

Accurate doesn’t always translate to enjoyable gameplay. Personally, I found it a great challenge to master these controls. But when I’ve heard people say it’s bad, I totally get it. You’ll sometimes feel like you’re slipping on ice more than splashing through the waves.

To get better at controlling your character, you’ll need to develop techniques. Passing through a series of small turns, instead of holding the directions for turning, you’ll benefit from tapping. Tapping 2 times for a light turn could be a life saver — so long as you do your best to keep your taps consistent. Furthermore, you’ll need to be ready to adjust on the fly. And while cruising at high speeds.

Turbo Jet / Turbo Accelerate

At 800cc, it’s tough to control your character around the corners. Even at 650cc, it starts to get pretty challenging! But, if you’re just going along at your top cruising speed, you’ll never win.

You have a turbo meter on the right side of the screen which you can use by pressing or holding “A”. There will be times when you will need to use your turbos around corners, but you’ll need to control it with caution.

While turning a sharp corner, the back end of your watercraft might continue sliding after you have stopped turning. In those cases, you can use the turbo to sort of boost yourself back into stability. On the other hand, if you boost into or during a turn, you could send yourself spiraling. If you want to win, you’ll need to master timing your turbos around corners and on straightaways.

And most importantly, if you use all of your turbo meter, your jetski will start slowing to a stop. You need to keep the meter monitored at all times!

Maps

Those turns I mentioned… they’re pretty much everywhere.

Wave Race Maps

The Bahamas are pretty chill, but after the first 3 levels, it just gets crazy. Both Slalom and Circuit feature the same locations, but the maps are entirely different. The maps in Wave Race are as follows:

  • Bahamas
  • Hawaii
  • Corsica
  • Rio
  • Sydney
  • Miami
  • Fiji
  • Bali

Taking a look at Rio, you can see a stretch of endless turns on the right side of the map. This is where you really need to master tap controls! The maps themselves are very tricky to maneuver because the movement of the game pretty accurately emulates moving through water.

The black squares on the Slalom maps are each checkered flags that can gain you a point (also called Point Pylons). However, other indicators, such as Corner Pylons, aren’t shown on the game maps.

Course Structure

Corner Pylon: Indicators that must be passed on a specific side in order for the player to progress. If you’ve thought about taking shortcuts, forget about it! These things keep you on the path and make for watercraft moshpits that send even the enemy players out of control sometimes. If you touch these, they act as a wall that just absolutely stops you in your tracks.

Bouy: These will bounce you back into the course and slow your speed. These are here just in case you decide you want leave the course to stop by the Bahaman tiki hut for a pina colada. No can do!

Jump: These are ramps that will give you the opportunity for one of two outcomes. You can go fast off the ramp, by holding down. Or, you can go slow off the ramp, by holding up. Not holding either is somewhere in between. When going fast off a jump, you will be extra slippery when you land. But going slow, is slow and decreases your speed even more once you hit the water.

Course Obstacles

If all of that wasn’t enough to slow you down, you’re in luck! You also have to look out for shallows, whirlpools, and currents.

Shallows: You’re just breezing along, all sunny-eyed and gleeful, when all of a sudden you’re crawling like a turtle in a race of greyhounds. These shallows will slow you down so much, you can almost feel the bottom of your jetski scraping the rocks.

Whirlpools: Well, they pretty much do exactly what you’d expect. It’s like stepping inside a washing machine. When you hit one of these, you’ll be sent spinning off-course. In the meantime, you’ll enjoy the lovely view of all your enemies surpassing you.

Currents: This quick-moving water can push forward, sideways, or against you. No matter which way they push, it always feels like they’re against you! They do give you a nice boost in speed when they’re going forward! However, whichever way they are pushing, you have to be careful and align yourself with the most efficient route through them. Sometimes it a matter of mere pixels whether you’re going to get pushed to the side or slowed down.

All the game really needs now are hurricanes and UFOs. With all the chaos and obstacles to avoid, you’d think that’s what makes the game truly difficult. But honestly, that’s not even scratching the surface. These obstacles are nothing compared to the enemy AI.

Rubber-Banding Opponents

The real reason nobody can beat Wave Race is because of the enemy AI. You know how no matter how many bananas Donkey Kong throws in Mario Kart, he always seems to have more? The enemy opponents in Wave Race are like that with their turbo boosts. You can absolutely leave the enemy in the dust, but next time you blink they’re passing you by. Test out a full turbo meter, and just watch as they somehow out-turbo you.

Specifically in the World Series on 800cc, if an enemy AI is far behind you, be prepared. They’ll suddenly be blessed with infinite turbo. I don’t know if that’s actually programmed into the game, but I have a difficult time believing otherwise. One way to avoid an absolute overkill of overdrive from your opponents is to keep them closely behind you.

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” – Pretty much everything Hollywood has ever made

Of course, this comes with its own risks. If you make one slight mess-up, it’s GG. You’re done! Slick Wilson is waving farewell. Additionally, it’s nearly impossible to keep all 3 enemy players closely behind you. Sometimes even they will scrape along the shallows. And if so, oh boy! They’re blaming it on you and coming back with a vengeance.

As a bit of saving grace, the game does offer a little bit of help — if you can get it.

Course Help

In some of the courses, you’ll find dolphins and octopi. I don’t know exactly how they’re interacting with your PWC to give you these powers-ups, but they certainly help!

Dolphin: For a short period of time, you’ll experience friction again. Touching a dolphin will give you excellent controls, and course obstacles don’t affect you. This is pretty much the biggest advantage you can get. Once you’ve memorized where these show up, it’s always worth consideration to pick them up.

Octopus: The turbo leech! You can bump into your enemies to steal their turbo! Effective against real players in Multi mode. Whether it actually takes away turbo from non-player characters is… debatable. However, it does increase your turbos. Especially when you grind against an enemy and really mess up their day. It’s great!

Course Help

I love how the dolphin in the manual graphic has his lips out. Very cute little critter. He’s like “Ooh!”

Or maybe It’s like Boo!

Do! BASE BALL!

anyway. Here’s the problem.

This all seems great in theory. But actually getting these power-ups is another story. You’re slipping around like you’ve got bars of soap strapped to your feet. The powerups are usually way off course, where only non-human players seem to get to easily. Currents, whirlpools, enemy players with way too much caffeine, and life itself are all against you. On top of all of that, if an enemy player picks one up, it’s gone. If it shows up again, it likely won’t be in the same place on the map.

So good luck! And while I’m at it, good riddance! This game is an absolute monster.

Why Nobody Has Completed Wave Race

The reason nobody has beat Wave Race is simply that it is very difficult.

Truthfully, there is a slew of reasons why Wave Race’s circuit mode is so difficult. The character movement is crazy hard to master, the circuit maps are tough, and the opponent characters’ rubber-banding is hardcore. While the end credits can’t be reached by beating the National Series, a lot of gamers will call it “good enough”. The World Series is the only way to see the game to completion. But with a long and frustrating battle with the National Series, players create an exit strategy.

Additionally, it’s not super fun. It’s alright — even enjoyable. As for the modern-day gamer, it might be a bit lackluster. For example, Wave Race lacks in-race music, which decreases the amount of time someone might be willing to invest.

When this game came out, many people were glued to their Game Boys. Well, when it was released in the US, anyway (*chuckles about EU*). There really isn’t any excuse for there to be absolutely no proof of a full game clear on the internet. If you look up just about any Game Boy game, you can find a playthrough. Or at the very least, you can find some claims of completion.

For Wave Race, radio silence!

If you can beat Wave Race, you’ll be a gaming legend!

Wave Race was so difficult, it’s even been added to Speed Gaming News’ list of impossible speedruns! But maybe we haven’t seen the final Wave Race challenge yet!

Will There Be a New Wave Race Game?

Nintendo applied to get the Wave Race copyright renewed in November of 2016. While this isn’t a guarantee of a fourth installment in the Wave Race series, it could mean there is a consideration for it.

One of Wave Race’s producers, Shinya Takahashi, mentioned that he personally loves the Wave Race series.

Shinya Takahashi on Wave Race Switch
We love Wave Race too, Shinya Takahashi!

When asked if Wave Race would get a new game on the Nintendo Switch, he mentioned “You may see that game again”. Takahashi went on to say “We have been trying to make many games and that may be one of them”.

You can check out Tom Regan’s full article on this interview at Fandom.com.

The Hardest Game Ever Made

The original 1992 Wave Race on the Nintendo Game Boy is the hardest game ever released on console or Steam.

What do you think? Do you believe there to be a harder video game? Have you played any games that you were convinced simply cannot be completed without tool assistance? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear about it!

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