If you want to talk innovative, and frustrating, video games, one would be remiss to exclude Marble Madness by Atari Games.
Mable Madness was an isomorphic maze game released in 1984 for the Atari 1 arcade system. The player controls a marble through 6 courses using a large trackball, attempting to finish each course under the time limit. In these courses there are hazards and tricky obstacles to navigate. Hitting a hazard, breaking your marble with a long drop, or falling off the track costs you time. The game is over when you run out of time (or when you successfully finish the 6th course and win). It’s basically like a crazy version of one of these:
Mable madness is a great example of a simple concept being brought to life in a great way. While the game is often massively frustrating, it’s also incredibly fun. You can even play head-to-head with a friend for additional frustration/fun. Since its initial release, Marble Madness has been released for the NES, Gameboy, Sega Genesis, as well as the PC, Mac, and Amiga. Getting your hands on a copy isn’t terribly hard, and there are even some online offerings of it… as well as a few reboots and homebrew versions. It’s also been released in several Atari game compilations as well as an official rebooted, extended version for Smartphones put together by EA. So yeah, it’s out there and pretty readily available.
-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?