An annotated history of video game boss battles

Look back at some of the most memorable boss fights in games.

When arcades were a powerful presence in gaming, boss battles were, amongst other things, a way to keep players from coasting through games. Today, they often include far more nuance and drama. They can be hours-long, involving multiple stages and story reveals.

Bosses "can define a world, give it character and allow players to have a focal point when discussing moments within the game," says Kynan Pearson, creative director at Bluepoint Games.

After plenty of time spent pondering, as well as talking to a few developers about their thoughts on the matter, I recently picked 17 favorites that encapsulate the evolution of boss battles. Check them out in the timeline below.

Image credits: The Digital Antiquarian, Electric Blue Skies, G3AR, Game Revolution, A Hardy Developer’s Journal, Honest Gamers, In my youth, victory was a power pellet, Metal Gear Informer, MobyGames, NerdBomber, Nerd Reactor, Pinoy Tekkie, Strange Kids Club, VG247, What They Call Games, Zelda Dungeon