Hardcore elements

Video game concept

Any concepts that make a game harder to get into (higher learning curve) and more demanding on player (more things to learn to have even passing success; less supplemental information given).

Contrast: casual elements

These generally do not automatically make a game hardcore.
Fragile protagonistThe protagonist dies extremely easily (though not from single hit from [i]everything[/i]).1989 / 2018103 games
Instant deathThe player dies from single damaging hit of any kind, the equivalent of having never more than one life/hit point.1978 / 20181374 games
Map deficientEither completely lacks maps or the provided maps are mostly unusable, forcing the player to draw one themselves to avoid getting lost. Mainly for games that are not linear and don't tell where to go.1975 / 201859 games
OverpoweredThe enemies are too strong or numerous for the protagonist to handle, forcing them to sneak past them or otherwise avoid direct confrontations whenever possible.1986 / 201535 games
Permanent deathUpon the protagonist's death, [i]all[/i] game progress is lost and the player must start the game all over instead of loading a save or restarting at some checkpoint such as level start.1971 / 2018532 games
Realistic damage1985 / 201552 games
Simulation elementscontainer group