Retro Game Riddles — Challenge Ratings

I have recently gotten into posting retro gaming image riddles. One feature I want to add to future rounds is a difficulty-level system, to give players at least a rudimentary heads-up as to how much effort a puzzle may require.

This is not a scientific system; there will always be exceptions to the general rule, and different people will have different experiences as to how hard individual puzzles were to them.

Nonetheless, from now on (or at the very least, we can try this for round 2 of riddles) I will be labeling retro-game-title puzzles as either Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, or Level 4.

At its most basic, the designation simply means this: Level 1 riddles might be solved by someone in seconds, Level 2 riddles might be solved in minutes, and Level 3 riddles might take hours. Level 1 you can look at and figure out, Level 2 will take some thought (or a lucky, immediately-on-the-right-track insight), Level 3 will take some effort.

Level 4 puzzles will be ones that I have no realistic expectation of anyone ever truly solving.

Although I obviously cannot predict how accurate such labels will be, there is an extent that I can have a reasonable expectation. For example: If I just put the two words “SKIRMISH FROGS” in an image, someone will think “BATTLETOADS” right away. But if I wrote the words in a code that had to be cracked before they could be interpreted, that would obviously add necessary time for solving. And if I took the image of the coded letters and chopped it up into square sections that had to be put back together like a demented sliding puzzle… etc.

It’s about layers: If you have to put an image together, in order to crack a code, in order to get the book title, in which you have to reference certain words in certain paragraphs, which were coordinates you received by solving a different puzzle entirely, but only if you understand a connection that would need specialized knowledge to make — any simple original idea can be artificially inflated to take more and more time to figure. Sometimes I might be a jerk and do that, but I will at least try to provide a variety.

Below are some examples. As usual, the answer to each image riddle is the title of an old video game.

Feel free to leave your guesses/solutions in the comments, as there will be no answer key!


Level 1.






Level 2.



[ Note: This one was already solved by @SomaQZ on Twitter — and with an incomplete version, no less. ] 




Level 3.






Good luck! Happy solving!


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Eric Bailey is Top Frog of He also blogs at You can follow him on Twitter, @Nintendo_Legend.


  1. Lv1

    Star fox and final fantasy


    Konami code

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