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Encyclopedia > Boss (video games)
Flag Ship from the video game Gorf
Flag Ship from the video game Gorf

A boss is an enemy-based challenge in video games that, once encountered, stops the game's progression until the player is able either to surmount the enemy or is thwarted by it. Success or failure may have different consequences depending on the game, however all true bosses halt game progression until the challenge is resolved. Mission 5 of the arcade game Gorf This is a screenshot of a copyrighted computer game or video game. ... Gorf is an arcade game released in 1981 by Midway Mfg. ... Computer and video games redirects here. ...

In traditional game design, a boss is usually an enemy which must be surmounted to trigger the end of one level, sequence, plot point, and/or challenge and the beginning of a new one. Progression is stopped until the player can pass this enemy and realize the end or change of this portion of the game's structure or plot.

Bosses are typically a difficult and/or spectacular enemy challenge. A fight with a boss character is usually referred to as a "boss battle," which often has its own special music and environment. Bosses appear in many video games, particularly action games which often feature multiple bosses generally increasing in difficulty as the game progresses. This article does not cite any references or sources. ...



Early video games, like their pinball machine predecessors, could not be "won". They were designed as a contest against the machine, with the only goal to accumulate points until the machine inevitably won. For example, early Nintendo and Atari video games such as Pong repeated the same challenge, although the difficulty of the game would increase. Eventually, the game became too difficult for any player to win. Computer and video games redirects here. ... This article is in need of attention. ... Nintendo Company, Limited (任天堂 or ニンテンドー Nintendō; NASDAQ: NTDOY, TYO: 7974 usually referred to as simply Nintendo, or Big N ) is a multinational corporation founded on September 23, 1889[1] in Kyoto, Japan by Fusajiro Yamauchi to produce handmade hanafuda cards. ... This article is about a corporate game company. ... For other uses, see Pong (disambiguation). ...

The first arcade video game with a boss-like attacker was the 1979 game Galaxian.[citation needed] In Galaxian, waves of ships would attack the player. Each wave included a few "flagships". Destroying the flagships resulted in significant bonuses. The flagships appeared at the top of the screen, implying that they were directing the attack. The flagships were thus referred to as "bosses" in the games. Although the flagships were usually defeated before advancing to the next level, it was not a requirement. Centipede by Atari is a typical example of a 1980s era arcade game. ... see also: 1978 in games, 1980 in games Games Released or Invented in 1979 Asteroids, a vector-based video arcade game Napoleon at Leipzig Star Fleet Battles The Creature that Ate Sheboygan Trivial Pursuit Games awards given in 1979 Spiel des Jahres: Hare and Tortoise - David Parlett, Ravensburger See also... Galaxian is a 1979 fixed shooter arcade game by Namco. ...

The first arcade video game with a true boss was Phoenix introduced in 1980 by Centuri.[citation needed] In Phoenix, a player was first attacked by several different smaller types of enemies. After disposing of the small ships, the player is then attacked by birds. After the birds are destroyed, the player faced a large mothership. Only by defeating the large mothership could the player advance to the next level. Centipede by Atari is a typical example of a 1980s era arcade game. ... Phoenix is a popular shoot em up arcade game created and manufactured by Amstar Electronics (which was located in Phoenix, Arizona) in 1980, and licensed to Centuri for US distribution, and to Taito for Japanese distribution. ... see also: 1979 in games, 1981 in games Games Released or Invented in 1980 DragonQuest Empires of the Middle Ages Rolemaster The Longest Day Titan Games awards given in 1980 Spiel des Jahres: Rummikub - Ephraim Hertzano, Intelli See also 1980 in video gaming Categories: | ... Centuri, based in Hialeah, Florida, was one of the top six suppliers of coin operated video game machinery in the United States. ...

The first console games with a boss were Vanguard and Phoenix for the Atari 2600.[citation needed] Both games were ported from arcade video games. A console game is a form of interactive multimedia used for entertainment. ... Vanguard (J: ヴァンガード) is a 1981 arcade game developed by SNK. The game is known as one of the first scrolling shooters ever made and is additionally notable by being the first shoot em up where a player can shoot in four directions. ... The Atari 2600, released in October 1977, is the video game console credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. ... In computer science, porting is the adaptation of a piece of software so that it will function in a different computing environment to that for which it was originally written. ...

The first known game to explicitly list an end-level, stronger opponent as a "boss" is the arcade game Renegade (which was ported to several other platforms) in 1986.[citation needed] This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Bosses in traditional game design

Many single-player/cooperative games follow the normal rules of ramping and plot structure, becoming progressively more difficult as the player advances while the overall story continues to build. Bosses are a consequence of this structure, appearing at the end of a level, as a climax to a sequence or event, or blocking the means to the next area or an event or goal important to progression. They tend to reiterate previous themes within the game structure they represent while testing both the player's skills and the player character(s) status and abilities. From a plot perspective they also provide closure, confrontation, or otherwise a change of events for characters or situations within the game's story.

The basic boss concept in gameplay is a single enemy to be surmountable by defeating it with the player character(s) abilities available. This basic concept is often expanded on by designers and directors in different ways, requiring the player to fight multiple enemies working together as a "boss", or a boss that has multiple forms or stages, or specific weakness or weak points. Some are unique in the sense that they are optional, or even do not directly stop progression at all points of contact. An example is Nemesis from Resident Evil 3, a boss character that constantly stalks the player throughout the game, turning game progression into a running boss battle. Nemesis is a fictional monster from the Resident Evil series of survival horror games. ... Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is a game in the Resident Evil survival horror franchise. ...

Some are created with more unconventional solutions in mind such as puzzle solving, mini-games, or other unique solutions. For example, a boss in the NES game Monster Party is a pair of dancing zombies; they are impossible to defeat unless the player allows them to finish dancing, after which they self-destruct. Some bosses are designed to be literally unbeatable, usually for plot or design purposes. In some scenarios, the goal instead is to simply avoid or survive against the boss' threats for a certain amount of time, while in others, the player's defeat will not cause a "Game Over", but will actually continue the plot. Monster Party is a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), released in the U.S. in 1989 by Bandai. ...

Game design tradition often sees weaker or simpler bosses appearing before encountering a true boss that actually signifies the transition to the next challenge of the game, or to plot progression. These types of bosses are usually referred to as mini-bosses or sub-bosses. A mini-boss is usually designed as less of a challenge or of importance to the story, and more as a means to briefly break up the regular action, to define a dramatic point in the level structure, or simply as a warm-up to an actual boss.

A boss that, upon surmounting it, signals the end of at least the core progression of a game is called a "final boss". This boss type is often designed to be the ultimate challenge in the game as well as the plot's climax. A stock final boss tends to fully tax all of the player's methods and skills learned in the game, or their player character(s) attributes and abilities, though this is not always the case due to design reasons both intentional and unintentional.

Some bosses, upon being defeated, trigger the destruction of their surrounding area, or in some cases, the entire game world. These bosses are colloquially called "load bearing bosses," in reference to "load bearing walls" found in architecture. Upon defeating a boss like this such as Mother Brain in the Metroid games, the player usually must escape from the area in a timed escape sequence, where the penalty for running out of time is either a game over or massive damage. Mother Brain can refer to the following things: Mother Brain, a character in the Metroid game series. ... The Metroid ) games are a series of video games produced by Nintendo. ...

Many games feature enormously strong optional bosses that are not accounted in the core game structure in any way; they are usually hidden within the game design and serve only as an extreme challenge for an expert player. These are commonly known as "superbosses", of which many have grown to become rather infamous amongst hardcore gamers. They often require an incredible amount of skill, resources, even physical endurance to beat. The Yazmat superboss from Final Fantasy XII, for example, can take literally many hours to defeat, with his fifty million hit points and ability to instantly kill player characters at random. Final Fantasy XII ) is a console role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for the Sony PlayStation 2 video game console, and the twelfth installment in the Final Fantasy video game series. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Bowser, the repeated boss in the Super Mario Bros. series as seen in the original Super Mario Bros.
Bowser, the repeated boss in the Super Mario Bros. series as seen in the original Super Mario Bros.

Image File history File links This is a screenshot of a copyrighted computer game or video game. ... Image File history File links This is a screenshot of a copyrighted computer game or video game. ... This article or section may contain excessive or improper use of copyrighted images and/or audio files. ... Over the years, Mario has appeared in at least 140 popular video games to date, both with starring and less significant roles. ... This article is about the Super Mario Brothers video game for the NES. For other uses, see Super Mario Bros. ...

Presence of boss design in gaming

Little has had more impact on game design than the introduction of the boss concept. Bosses are often favored by game directors and designers as an easy opportunity to provide a great deal of gameplay, spectacular art, and challenge all in one. Despite this, the extent boss design makes an impact on a game varies from title to title and across genres.

Some games have few or fairly standard boss battles as a means to emphasize other game structure. For example, the Halo trilogy keeps emphasis on its sweeping gun/vehicles battles and atmosphere, and thus has few bosses throughout its three games, with the first game having arguably absolutely none, and the third a final boss that is intentionally anti-climatic. It has been suggested that Covenant Vehicles in Halo be merged into this article or section. ...

Others focus on the player fighting a massive assortment of bosses, such as Gunstar Heroes, which has the player fighting over 35 bosses across seven brief levels, including one boss that must be defeated in seven different forms within one battle. A rare few games are almost entirely focused on simply defeating bosses, with no other relevant design in the game to compete with it. For example, the single-player mode of most fighting games consists entirely of one-on-one fights against opponents of increasing difficulty, ending with the battle against the final boss. The action-adventure game Shadow of the Colossus consists of little more than sixteen gigantic monsters to defeat, each with its own long battle. Gunstar Heroes ) is a run and gun video game released in 1993 by Treasure Co. ... Screenshot of The King of Fighters XI (2005, SNK Playmore). ... Shadow of the Colossus , lit. ...

Some games include a sequence often referred to as a boss rush, in where the player must surmount several bosses in a row or even all at once, often without the option to renew resources or rest. Boss rushes are often used in game design to see the player endure a long rematch against all the bosses defeated prior to that point. Series particularly noted for featuring boss rushes are the Castlevania series and particularly the Mega Man series, in which the titular character usually has to battle all of the Robot Master bosses in the game, one after the other, within the confines of a single level near the end of the game. Boss rushes are also used as bonus gaming modes, sometimes revolving around a time attack challenge. It has been suggested that Boss Rush mode be merged into this article or section. ... Original NES Castlevania Logo Castlevania is a video game series, created and developed by Konami. ... An illustration of the starring characters in the various series. ... Not to be confused with Robot Master (Transformers). ... A time attack is another term for time trial. ...

In modern gaming, bosses have long since been used as an integral device to accentuating the plot, particularly for confrontations against antagonistic characters. Many game stories feature the player defeating villains through boss battles, as the boss concept inherently lends itself to the idea of a "showdown". The end result is many players defining a villain's worth not just by its relation to the plot, but as a worthy boss battle as well.

As games evolved as storytelling devices, bosses have found more and more use in different story contexts, such as symbolic images or thematic concepts; an example are the Pyramid Head bosses in Silent Hill 2, whom in actuality symbolically represent the main character's tortured psyche, rather than simply a threat to the player. Bosses have come full-circle enough to be used for lampooning or self-referencing the concept itself, such as the Bob The Goldfish boss in Earthworm Jim, who, as a normal goldfish, is totally defenseless and can be defeated by simply knocking it out of its bowl. A recurring final boss in the Metal Gear series is named "Big Boss"; his mentor's name is simply "The Boss", whom Big Boss must defeat as the final boss of Metal Gear Solid 3. Screenshot of Pyramid Head. ... This is about the video game released on PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC. For the upcoming Silent Hill film sequel under the same name, see Silent Hill 2 (film) Silent Hill 2 is the second installment in the Silent Hill Survival horror series. ... For the cartoon series, see Earthworm Jim (TV series). ... For other uses, see Metal Gear (disambiguation). ... Big Boss ) is a central character in the Metal Gear video game series. ... This is a list of characters appearing in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. ... Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (commonly abbreviated MGS3) is a stealth-based game directed by Hideo Kojima, developed and published by Konami for the PlayStation 2. ...

There has been a small backlash against the prevalence of the boss concept. Some critics feel that bosses are overused, often are more frustrating and tedious than fun, and needlessly disturb the atmosphere of the game. An example is a common critque of the boss characters in the Max Payne series of games; many feel the player's immersion in the noir-ish, cinematic, more realistic world of these games is diminished when encountering a person that can survive several shotgun blasts to the head simply because the game deems him a "boss".[citation needed] The "boss backlash" is partly responsible for the "Giant Enemy Crab" internet meme, after producer Bill Ritch's upended his own presentation of Genji 2 by introducing a clichéd boss character glaringly out of place with a game supposedly based on real feudal Japanese battles. Max Payne is a third-person shooter computer game developed by the Finnish company Remedy Entertainment, produced by 3D Realms and published by Gathering of Developers in July, 2001 for Windows. ... Bill Ritch inflicts some massive damage. ... Genji: Dawn of the Samurai is a PlayStation 2 game released on September 20, 2005. ...

See also

This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


External links

  • General-purpose Boss Fighting Guide
  • Boss battles – article discussing good boss design

  Results from FactBites:
Boss (video game) (157 words)
In video games, a boss is a particularly large computer-controlled character that has to be defeated at the end of a level, episode or game.
Bosses appear in many video games, including story-based or level-based First- and Third- person shooters, Platform games, many Role-playing games, and most Shoot 'em ups.
Bosses are a consequence of this structure, appearing at the end of a level or episode, and being the hardest enemies to defeat.
Boss (video games) at AllExperts (2823 words)
In video games, a boss (sometimes called a guardian) is a particularly large or difficult computer-controlled character that must be defeated at the end of a segment of a game, whether it be for a level, an episode, or the very end of the game itself (final boss).
Bosses are a consequence of this structure, appearing at or near the end of a level or episode and being the hardest enemies to defeat.
Bosses are traditional choke-points in RPGs, used to ensure a player has taken the time to level-up (raise their abilities through fighting anonymous easier foes) before progressing to a new section of the game.
  More results at FactBites »



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