The Bishop of Battle is an episode of the horror anthology movie Nightmares (1983). It’s about a teenage boy who loves video games and is determined to beat the hardest game in the arcade, even if it kills him.
J.J Cooney is a hot-tempered risk-taking teenager who loves listening to punk rock on his walkman and playing video games at the local arcade.
In the Game-O-Rama at the mall, J.J. is a local legend. Everyone knows his name and his gaming skills are so respected that when he walks in, people gather around just to watch him play.
His current obsession is a game called The Bishop of Battle. He pops a quarter in the coin slot, cranks up the punk rock on his walkman and he’s in the zone.
“Greetings Earthling. I am the Bishop of Battle, master of all I survey.
I have 13 progressively harder levels. Try me… if you dare.”
J.J. is determined to make it to the final level of the game, level 13. Everybody tells him nobody has ever made it because level 13 doesn’t exist, but he swears some kid out in Jersey reached it twice. J.J. is determined to beat this game, even if it kills him!
At first, it seems like J.J. is going to beat the game, but on level 12, he makes a mistake and it’s game over.
“You are good Earthling, but not good enough. Insert Coin.”
A cute girl asks him if he wants to go and get a pizza with her.
J.J. turns her town. He would rather play video games.
Eventually, at closing time, the owner has to plug out the machine to get J.J. to leave.
“I’m you’re best customer,” J.J. shouts. “You shouldn’t treat me like this. I’m gonna get back at you! I mean it man!”
When he gets home, his dad is looking at his report card. His grades are bad, so his parents tell him he’s grounded. No more video games.
“You don’t know anything about me!” J.J. whines. “GO TO HELL! I HATE THE BOTH OF YOU!”
That night, J.J. sneaks out of his room while his parents are asleep and heads down to the mall. There’s no one around, so he breaks into the Game-O-Rama and plugs in the Bishop of Battle machine.
“Good evening, Bishop,” he says. “I hope you’re ready to lose because tonight’s my night.”
J.J. puts on his headphones. The punk rock is blasting in his ears, he’s concentrating hard and his adrenaline is pumping. This time, nothing is going to stand in his way. J.J. is playing better than he’s ever played before, zapping every alien that he lays eyes on.
The enemies are coming fast and furious, attacking him ffrom all side, but he keeps his cool and destroys every single one of them. When he manages to beat level 12 and the machine starts beeping and screeching wildly.
“Sorry, Bishop,” he laughs. “Your boys aren’t good enough tonight. I’ll see you on level 13!”
Then the game machine begins shaking and rocking violently to and fro and J.J. knows something is wrong. He takes a step back and, to his surprise, the machine suddenly explodes in a shower of sparks right in front of him.
“I beat you!” J.J. shouts with glee. “I beat you!”
Just then, he hears the Bishop of Battle’s voice.
“You are very, very good Earthling. You have just reached level 13.
Welcome! Let’s begin…”
A laser beam shoots out off the machine and knocks J.J. off his feet. He falls to the ground and writhes around in pain.
When he recovers, J.J. is holding the gun controller. He tests it out and discovers it shoots real lasers. The Bishop of Battle has come out of the game world into the real world.
As the aliens swarm around him, J.J. is in a fight for his life. He shoots the Bishop’s minions… along with practically every game in the arcade. Sparks fly as machines explode left and right.
After a fierce battle, J.J. makes a run for it. He blasts the doors of the arcade and escapes into the mall parking garage.
Just when he thinks he’s gotten away, the Bishop of Battle himself appears in front of J.J. As the grotesque green head closes in on him, J.J. screams.
“Get away from me! Get away from me!”
The net day, everyone is looking for J.J. His parents head down to the mall, hoping they’ll find him in the arcade.
All of the kids are gathered around the Bishop of Battle machine, staring at the new character in the game.