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50 Years of Boss Fights (Hardback)

Video Game Legends

Colour Books Hobbies & Lifestyle > Gaming Photographic Books

By Daryl Baxter
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 184
Illustrations: 100 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781399013574
Published: 30th June 2024

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50 Years of Boss Fights celebrates a fading art in modern games. Author Daryl Baxter has written about 51 bosses that have made the greatest impact, ever since the first boss debuted in 1974.

Full of interviews and insights from the developers who helped made the bosses as memorable as they are, includes those who have worked on Mario 64, DOOM, Bioshock, Star Wars, Half Life and many more. Some explained how they came to be, what was scrapped, and, ultimately, if they were happy with them, looking back.

The book goes into detail about the first ever boss from the start, called the Golden Dragon in dnd, which first debuted in 1974. Heralded as the first ever boss in a video game, Daryl spoke to its creators about how it came to be, and how they feel about creating a standard in games.

The book sheds light on what was scrapped in other bosses, and how some bosses were so illegal, they had to be updated in rapid fashion to avoid a potential lawsuit.

Full of photos that showcase how the bosses work and how to beat them, it’s a 50-year record of the best, the most challenging, and the most memorable that you may or may not have beaten so far.

It’s 70,000 words that celebrate the past 50 years of bosses, while giving insight by the developers who helped make them possible.

This is an interesting exploration of how the concept of the end-of-level boss was first conceived and how it has developed in subsequent games over the decades. Quite a lot of the bosses turned out to be from the same series of games, and I was surprised how few of the featured games I've actually played - maybe I'll get around to them one day, who knows.

NetGalley, Melanie Dolhun

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have loved video games for years and one of the constant gaming memories is often fighting and losing Boss Fights so it was great to reminisce about different Boss Fights and learn about bosses from games that I haven't played yet.

NetGalley, A D

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

50 Years of Boss Fights - Video Game Legends by Daryl Baxter is an absolute blinder of a book! Whether you are GenX, a gamer, a cultural historian, a lover of cartoons or just someone who loves a good boss fight in all its forms, this is defo the book for you

I am GenX and I still get chills when I see Bahamut and Sephiroth, giving hundreds, yes hundres of hours of my 20s to playing every single minutae of FFVII ad FFVIII... and FFX, FFX-2, FFXIII (you get the idea) But not only does this book cover the epics of PS lover history, but also the greats of Nintendo, Sega, XBox and PC (plus many more)

I really enjoy how this book is clearly written from a first-hand perspective, and Daryl Baxters passion for the pastime is utterly infectious! I think I have mentioned before that it is always a real joy to read a gamer book of sheer happiness without judgement and that is what you get here, just an utter delight at the journey to and foray into battles with the 16-bit to hi-res legends we may have let slip from our consciousness, but are never forgotten. Bravo, an absolutely stunning book!

NetGalley, Ink Reads

About Daryl Baxter

Daryl Baxter is a writer and podcaster from Lincoln, where his work has featured in sites such as WIRED, TechRadar, SUPERJUMP, Den of Geek and many more. Alongside Sonic and Metal Gear, Tomb Raider was a series he grew up with, wanting to create a writing career borne out of games.
He’s interviewed people in the industry such as David Hayter; the voice of Solid Snake, Ed McMillen who co-created Super Meat Boy, and plenty more throughout his career so far.

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