I’d had my share of tough video game bosses before. Oozerip the Resurrected from Genesis Dragon, who could only be beaten using a sword that took nearly 100 hours to craft in-game. Cindersoul from Revelation Song, who could only be made vulnerable to damage by completing an epic series of 99 sidequests. Larakoxe from Velocity Skipper, who could only be damaged one out of every 100 rounds. I’d beaten them all.

Even Cycoss, the legendarily tough optional boss from Oblivion Power who had one billion hit points (in a game where the maximum damage was 9999) had fallen to me.

But the Shadow Lady, the hidden final boss of Past Beta VIII, was tougher than them all. Apparently invulnerable to all damage, her first attack struck for more hit points than the player could possibly accumulate.

In fact, as far as I could see, she had never been beaten without the aid of a cheat, which in my mind robbed the endeavor of all its noble qualities. I resolved to beat the Shadow Lady the old-fashioned way.

As I sit here on the rubble which used to be my parents’ house, I wish I hadn’t.