I like difficult video games. Bayonetta (or really, just about anything from Platinum) stands tall as one of the best action games I've ever played, and a large part of its quality comes from its ruthless difficulty, and how beating the game actually meant something when you were done.
One of today's real contenders for the "cruel and heartless game design" crown is From Software, creators of Armored Core, Demon's Souls, and last year's Dark Souls. Demon's and Dark Souls were terrifying games full of sudden and unexpected death--round a corner wearing the wrong armor, pick a fight with the wrong monster, or even step outside a building at the wrong time and a gruesome death was your reward.
Japanese gaming site My Game News Flash summarized a 2chan thread wondering what would happen if From Software developed a Mario game--as the Mario series is known for steadily ramping up the difficulty and teaching you how to play through solid design, instead of the Souls games' "always be prepared for anything, anytime" mentality. 2ch posters gave some great answers!
Bowser comes out of a block.
Enter a pipe, fall to your death.
Luigi is an invading enemy.
Start a stage running away from Bowser.
Princess Peach can attack you.
Invincibility stars don't exist.
You won't be able to proceed in some areas because of bugs.
The stages would have a dark, damp atmosphere.
I dunno, I think they're all pretty spot-on. For the record, I'm glad that From Software isn't going to get hold of a Mario game... but a part of me is still very curious. For the video game masochist in me, there'll always be Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, with its poison mushrooms and random winds that push you back while jumping.
What do you think? Would you play a From Software-developed Mario game?