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User:Anarchangel/Video Games

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The article is almost certainly made up, so I will assume that. Interesting theory, but I believe you have it backwards, at least in terms of notability. The conflicts between an epic hero and their nemesis came first, and are considerably more discussed in literature, so the essay should be written to explain and show that bosses are a similar plot device, etc, as the epic conflicts, not the other way around.
Finally, in the event that the article is made up, such is not suitable for inclusion on WP. That is WP's loss, if you ask me, and you may, but no one at WP will ask me, and that's the point. It is only one person's opinion. Many people's opinion is still only opinion, but to play devil's advocate somewhat, it gets onto WP because it is a large enough phenomenon to mean something. Anarchangel 11:30, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

The "Final Boss Level" in Ancient Literature From The Metamorphoses to Paradise Lost, there have been similar sequences of events from one page to the next; reoccurring themes across time and culture shaping the idea of fate and deeds. More specifically is the idea of fatalism and the general look on the need to achieve. Upon peeling back the layers of the literary onion, both the books the Ramayana and the Aeneid have what I like to call the “final boss level” to their stories. Each story that the class has read has come to an ending with the climax consisting of our hero in heated battle: Aeneas with Turnus, Rama with Ravana, and Beowulf with the dragon. In a broad sense, this article will compare and contrast the ending battle scenes to the Aeneid and the Ramayana. More specifically, it focuses on the scenes between Aeneas and Turnus along with Rama and Ravana. The article is going to compare the two pieces and their ideas of fatalism and dharma as fatalism and how they promote the idea of personal achievement with heroic successes in defeating their enemy. This concept is also applicable to the late twentieth century idea of adding the boss level and the need to defeat the boss to either fulfill the challenges of a level or complete the game.


Throughout this semester the class has constantly talked about the same story or similarities in the stories cross-culturally. What the audience sees over and over again is the similar story with different customs; different beliefs built out of the matching general ideas; one of those ideas being fatalism. The Book Doing Philosophy says, “Fatalism, however, says that future events happen regardless of what we do.” [1] The future is fixed and there is nothing anyone can do to change it. "Book XII" states, “’Ah, sister, see, fate overpowers us./ No holding back now. We must follow where/ The god calls, or implacable Fortune calls.”’ [2] It is Turnus’ destiny to be slain by Aeneas. So once realizing this, instead of stopping, he goes all out to fight his foe. Constantly the Aeneid talks about fate and the will of the gods. Jove says to Juno, ‘”My consort,/ what will the end be? What is left for you?/ You yourself know, and say you know, Aeneas/ Born for heaven tutelary of this land, /By fate to be translated to the stars.”’ [3] Aeneas will win. No matter how many obstacles Juno puts in his way she is only fortune. Jove has already determined Aeneas to be the victor.

Similar to the Romans and fate, the Hindus believed in what is called dharma the, “eternal law.” “The karma doctrine requires that man’s own ‘character’ be his own ‘destiny’”. [4] A good Hindu must do his or her karma, complete his or her dharma and move up in the cast system. Rama’s (Vishnu’s) dharma was to defeat Ravana and save the people from the demon’s torture. Matali says to Rama, “It can fly swifter than air over all obstacles… and will help you to emerge victorious in the battle.” [5] Rama is to arise to victory and doing so carries out his dharma. On the other hand, Ravana was fulfilling his dharma by being a demon and being destroyed. Chapter twelve states, “Many ominous signs were seen now-his strings suddenly snapped; the mountains shook; thunders rumbled in the skies; tears flowed from the horses eyes; elephants with decorated foreheads moved along dejectedly. Ravana noticing them hesitated only for a second, saying, ‘I don’t care. This mere mortal Rama is of no account, and these omens do not concern me at all.”’ These characters are chosen by the gods and if the hero is to succeed for the greater good, then the villain must be strong in their convictions no matter what says fate.

All are pawns in the gods’ games of chess. Turnus was a pawn of Juno, only to be knocked out of motion by Jove’s knight Aeneas. However Turnus was destined to fail and die just as Ravana was meant to be destroyed. Fulfilling dharma is equal to completing the course of fate. Rama says to Sita, “My task is done. I have now freed you. I have fulfilled my mission.” [6] The reason for Vishnu being born as Rama was to defeat Ravana and release his people. Before birth Rama was destined to execute this task and nothing stopped him from doing so. Ravana’s weapons could not stop Rama. The text repeats multiple times in different variations, “but Rama’s arrows diverted, broke, or neutralized Ravana’s.” [7] Just as Rama’s killing or Ravana was predetermined by Vishnu, Aeneas slaying of Turnus was determined by the god Jupiter for the sake of Rome. The difference between these deaths, however, is that when Turnus died, that was it. The Book ended, their fates were completed. On the other hand, when Rama killed Ravana to story went on. Ravana reached enlightenment upon his death and Rama lived on to be a great king. These scenes are similar in that they are determined by fate, but they also bring about the idea of achievement.

Need to Achieve[edit]

What is the need to achieve? The need to achieve is just that: the idea that humans must fulfill a task in which they overcome an obstacle. Invitation to Psychology defines the need for achievement as, “A learned motive to meet personal standards of success and excellence in a chosen area.” [8] As quoted by author G.K. Chesterton, ”Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” This incorporates the learned motive. Dragons, evil, characters such as Ravana exist but to know that these demons can be overcome, society must learn to overcome them. Just as fairy tales and the killing of dragons teach about achievement, so do the legends of Rama and Aeneas and their successful battles against their foes. These battle scenes are much more than just another action shot. It is a technique used to influence the audience to achieve all that fate desires. In the Aeneid it was desired by Jove for Aeneas to establish Rome. The ideas in both the Ramayana and the Aeneid relate to the theory for the need to achieve. In the metamorphoses, the Aeneid, the Ramayana, Beowulf, and even in Paradise Lost there comes the climax of the story in which an epic battle scene between our heroes and our villains occurs. How does mythology relate to our modern world? [9] Both of these stories are mythological and analyzing the story structures can be applied to video games. Does the hero triumph in the end?

Fate and Achievement in Video Games[edit]

In the early 1980’s video games began to appear with a boss level. The boss will appear at the end of a world, a level, even sporadically throughout the game. In the video game “Mortal Kombat” every fighting level increases in difficulty as the player wins. However, there is always a final stage, the most challenging stage that takes everything the player applied in the previous stages and puts them to the test. Many games of today have storylines behind them. Included are: God of War, Prince of Persia, Kingdom Hearts, even super Mario. Most importantly, what lies behind the main idea of these video games is the humanist need to achieve. One of the best examples for explaining this concept is video games. Video games are set up with success in mind. If the game is one with a storyline than the fate of the player is to finish the story; no matter the setbacks or however many times they die. He/she is fated to beat the boss and succeed in completing the game. From the beginning of the story on was preparation for this one battle against “the Boss.” The boss scene transpires in other books, movies, plays, but is highly apparent in video games. From Mortal Kombat to Mario, From Pong to God of War; all of these games have something in common. These games consist of a journey in which the hero (the player) develops their skills within the game gradually getting better to ultimately battle the final boss, the most complicated level of a video game. “If a particular game ended a level without a boss, it would immediately feel as if something were missing, some challenge - a test - to prove one's worth to be able to continue to the next section. And then, sometimes, a boss has issues - it's easy, it's weird, it's unfair, etc. As I've learned in the world of storytelling, the ending is the deal breaker. It can make a poor experience tolerable, make an amazing experience mediocre, and in some special cases, turn a waste of time into a reason to live.” [10](Gamasutra) Not only does a video game create that need to achieve and beat the game, it also incorporates fatalism. Depending on the game, a player can have free range to complete a task or a level at anytime with some restrictions such as not being able to level up without first completing a certain portion of the level. In many cases, a player cannot complete a level without first beating a minor boss. Although what will happen exactly during the motion is unclear, to beat the level or to beat the final boss thus successfully beating the game has already been predetermined. Even though not every try in a video game ends fruitfully, the ultimate goal and the fate of the player will be to play the boss, defeat the boss and win the game.

So to answer the question, does the hero triumph in the end: yes. Nonetheless the villain, if lead by fate, also triumphs in the end. In both the Hindu and Roman philosophy fate, or dharma, rules. Furthermore, these stories are comparable to video games and the spreading of the motivational need to achieve. These stories promote human growth, thus aiding the individuals of society.


  1. Shick, Jr., Theodore, and Lewis Vaughn. "Chapter 3 Free Will and Determinism." Doing Philosophy. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2010. 199. Print.
  2. Virgil, and Robert Fitzgerald. "Book XII." The Aeneid. New York: Vintage, 1990. Print. Ll. 915-917
  3. Virgil, and Robert Fitzgerald. "Book XII." The Aeneid. New York: Vintage, 1990. Print. Ll. 1072-1076
  4. Gier, Nicholas F. “Dharma Morality as Virtue Ethics.” Indian Ethics (2009): n. pag. Web. 23 Nov 2010. <>.
  5. Narayan, R. K., and Pankaj Mishra. The Ramayana: a Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic. New York, NY: Penguin, 2006. Print. ch. 12 p.141
  6. Narayan, R. K., and Pankaj Mishra. The Ramayana: a Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic. New York, NY: Penguin, 2006. 13 p. 148
  7. Narayan, R. K., and Pankaj Mishra. The Ramayana: a Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic. New York, NY: Penguin, 2006. Print. ch. 12 p. 143
  8. Wade, Carole, and Carol Tavris. "Chapter 14 The Major Motives of Life: Love, Sex, Food, and Work." Invitation to Psychology. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, 2008. 490-91. Print.
  9. Lester, DeeGee. “Time Travel: Myths and Legends.” National Middle School Association Conference. Nashville, TN, 2006. 3. Web. 23 Nov 2010. <>.
  10. Molinari, Michael. “Video Game Boss Design for Schmups.” Blogs. Gamasutra: The Art and Business of Making Games, 19 June 2010. Web. 22 Nov. 2010. <>.

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