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...old school elements... like sucking it up and getting better at the game and not having the ending spoon fed to you.
(from a review of DuckTales Remastered)
This might seem odd for me since I frequently play "old-school"/"retro" games. And sometimes I like them hard. But not always. I don't think that games somehow "ought" to be either hard or easy. Yes, there was some more inconsistency in difficulty, due sometimes to intention and sometimes to design flaws, back in the day, or in different regions. Some people have attributed this to the Japanese being more hardcore players (though Japanese NES games sometimes tend to be easier), while others have speculated it's because console games couldn't be credit-fed like arcade games are. But whatever the reason, you have people often speaking of older games being harder, and how newer games are oh-so hand-holdy or they "baby" the player etc. etc. etc..
No, games shouldn't have been more difficult back in the day, unless that was the design intention. If not, then they should have been designed better. Yes, some of them were enjoyable even as difficult games, and if it was due to generally not giving the player any clue how to proceed at certain points, then we ought to be talking about whether that was a good thing for the game, and if it's something we want to see in a new game today, how to properly implement it (as I've heard Dark Souls has done, for example). Difficulty is a gameplay feature that we should be considering as a part of design, asking how well it fits with the narrative. Games aren't necessarily better or more authentically "retro" because they're harder. Difficulty should fit the narrative experience the game provides.
TL;DR old games weren't better for being harder (or easier), so stop talking about games being harder "like old games", or reminiscing about how games were better when they were harder, or implying superiority of older, harder games than newer, easier ones.