Often I compare the way I approach work to the way I approach video gaming. When I’m playing, am I playing to gather gold? No not really. Am I gaming to level up my character? Yes, most definitely. I play to level up my character, gain new skills and spells, and to get one-of-kind loot that can only be gained from defeating a boss character. Yes, I live for the boss battle, both in real life and in the game world. My goal is to be the scariest thing in the realm and to drive away “small-fry” with merely a sideways glance.
I like to think this is why I naturally gravitated toward what I do. Every problem I come up against treat like a boss battle. First I go in with nothing and see what kind of damage the boss does — is it magic based, is it physical damage, fire? water? electricity? wind? What weapons is it wielding. Then I’ll take a few physical swipes at it and cast a few spells I know to see if I can figure out what protections it has, and, if possible, some of it’s weaknesses. This is also a good time to either use the “analyze” skill or spell. I usually lose the first attempt at a boss battle, but it’s okay because I’ve now gathered a lot of information so I can optimize my team and skills and try again. I will choose a different set of members depending upon what skills I think I need for the battle. I will arm them with the appropriate weapons and element opposing spells. I will put on the appropriate protectives to ward against the boss’ attacks and then I will try to battle again, each time gaining more knowledge and optimizing the tools of war until I finally win. Once I have figured out the tools of war and the flow of the battle, all that is left is to set an algorithm and follow it whenever I face that boss again.
The best boss battle I had in the video game world was in Final Fantasy X (please forgive me if my memory falters, as this battle took place several years ago on my Playstation 2). This was the boss battle that marks what you are led to believe is the final boss battle, but really this is only the midpoint of the game. The battle took place in a dead city. I’ve finally made it to the appointed place with Eons aplenty. There’s a cut scene, of course, where the boss speaks to you gently like a goddess and then asks whether you will give up your life and become the next destroyer of the world, “Sin”. I refuse and then she says something like “then prepare to die” and the battle began. So I let the boss attack to see what she’s got and then got in a few good whacks only to get devastated after 3 rounds. Oh crap! I regrouped and after 5 attempts I finally beat her, … or so I thought … the ground shook and she raised out the ground to reveal that she’s actually on the end of a long arm and the battle began again, except I’ve only got one character alive and that character only had 2 hit points left and no MP. Time to go to the previous saved game and spend some time killing lesser beasts to gain some more experience. 10-hours later and 5 levels higher I returned. I easily defeated the first boss phase, and again after 5 or 6 attempts, I beat her, …, or so I thought …(my husband was cheering with me as he had come to watch, after seeing the first phase transformation) but no, the ground shook even more violently and the entire floor broke apart. From the hole rose a giant hideous gray Madusa-like head with scary eyes, a long tongue lolling out of it’s mouth, snakes for hair, and the cackling goddess on top of one of the snake like hair bundles. Steve and I were floored. The first thing this third phase did was cast “Death” such that all of my characters died and it was “game over”. At this point I threw down the controller in disgust and frustration and I believe we went and saw a movie. After the movie, I returned with renewed vigor and swore not to be defeated by this ***** of a boss. So I invested another 10-hrs in leveling up and came back to the battle again. It took me 3-days worth of attempts because the battle engine was clever and any little miscalculation I made the AI took advantage of — it was “NIM” at its finest and I recognized it. I finally beat the boss, only to have her tell me this is not the end and go here and continue your journey … you gotta love “Final Fantasy”. You definitely get maximum game for your buck. I don’t even remember what loot that boss dropped, but I do remember feeling as though I had accomplished the impossible and I rode that high for a while. I also gained 10-levels and learned a bunch of new skills in order to prepare for the battle. The high of victory and the gained experience is why I live for the boss battle in the virtual and the real world. I also don’t mind if some gold falls from the boss’ corpse, too, so I can rest at a comfortable inn and drink the finest mead at the local pub.