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On the other hand, if the game suddenly kills you for performing some reasonable action (like opening a door), *then* the game would be considered unfair.
(Incidentally, the idea for this topic came from seeing the game Celeste, a hard but fair platformer that wants the player to succeed. I am interested in a game designed with the same "wants the player to succeed" idea but that is intentionally not fair.)
With that said, there are a couple of interesting existing game that have been mentioned, namely Sunless Sea and Elder Sign, which aren't what they seem at first. I could actually say the same thing about Syoban Action; it appears to be a platformer, but actually plays more like a puzzle game, as you need to figure out how to get past each obstacle, only to find that the developer put a trap in there to not make your solution work.