I've noticed that most of the games I've gotten recently have been INFURIATING. All in caps.
I've still been trying to play through Fire Emblem, but it's infuriating. 90% of your characters die in two or three hits. This is made worse because they almost always kill the enemy that attacks them, making a perfect opening for another enemy to slide right in and attack. Of course, once a character dies, you need to restart the entire chapter, because a dead character is dead forever. It's like fun, except you're driving needles under your fingernails.
I've been playing through Dead Rising. It's a fun game, except that the boss fights are insanely hard. I'm level... 28 now, and I'm still stuck on the first "real" boss - a psychotic clown. He took me from full health to dead in one twenty-second-long air-juggle combo. It's not unusual. I only have a row and a half of health, only enough to survive getting repeatedly run over and shot by the Dead Rising Warthog-equivalent for a minute and a half. Pshaw, chain guns are nothing compared to psychotic clowns.
I did finally beat Gears of War, but I had to play it on easy. Even then, some of the fights were "hey, you did something slightly wrong! You die." I especially like the way they start to kill you for being in the dark about five minutes before they actually tell you that the dark is what's killing you. They also had the irritating habit of restarting you BEFORE the minute-long unskippable cut scene.
Okay, this one's great. I've been playing a bit of the New Super Mario Brothers. Except that it only saves when you BEAT A CASTLE. When's the last time I wanted to play ten levels of Super Mario straight? A decade ago? I'm not going to put it in sleep mode, because I want to use my DS for other games. So I still haven't reached the second castle. ARGH.
There's a deeply flawed thinking in these kinds of situations. It's more common in Japanese games, but western games often make the same mistakes. I don't mind a game that gives me a challenge. In fact, I like a game that gives me a challenge. But I like my challenges to be less discrete. I don't like WIN/LOSE, especially in games where "lose" means having to play large chunks of the game over again.
All I can presume is that these guys decided to "up the difficulty", but didn't know how to do that without making the player have to replay the area eight times.
Know your game mechanics. Know what constitutes a challenge and what constitutes just being an asshole.