The main focus of my thesis is boss battles, unique enemies in video games that are normally tougher than normal enemies. I explore their place in the gaming industry in order to formulate an idea of how the concept came to be, how they are created, how the concept has evolved, and how I can implement them into my future games. I’ve separated my thesis into five chapters, barring the introduction and conclusion. The first is a timeline of boss battles that have influenced the video game market and introduced new concepts. This chapter encapsulates the first boss ever in 1975 up to the late ‘90s and early 2000s. The second chapter details six roles I believe most bosses occupy in a game to justify their inclusion, along with specific examples for each. The third chapter discusses various mechanics and how they impact the quality of a boss fight. I also lay out a few shortcomings that are common amongst boss battles. In the fourth chapter, I mention several games that have been released in recent years that have manipulated the formula of bosses. I discuss the impact of these changes and my overall opinion of the movement. In the final chapter I present my thesis game, Living Fortresses, including my plans for its gameplay, art, and story. This game serves as the culmination of my affinity and research of boss battles. In the end I hope to use the information I have gathered to have a better understanding of the concept and create my own boss battles that serve vital purposes in my games and provide players with enjoyable, memorable experiences.


video games, boss battles, game design, programming

Document Type


Year of Completion



Ramiro Corbetta

Academic Department

Digital Art and Design