Video games have had a ton of different dads throughout the years, from the highs of God of War‘s Kratos to the lows of Final Fantasy X‘s Jecht. Some dads just have their children as sources of motivation, while others bond with a child during the story of a game. In any case, dads are a well-represented group in video games, in both good ways and bad.
In early video games, when stories were less developed, dads were usually only present as protagonists, with their children sometimes being mentioned as a reason for taking action in what they’re doing in the game. In many RPGs like Pokemon, where the dads are is often unexplained, leaving them conspicuously absent. However, as video game technology advanced and video game stories got more complex, dads became more prominent figures, many of whom had enough depth of character to be noteworthy.
The best and worst fathers in video games come from a variety of genres, from RPGs to roguelikes. The best dads show that they care for their children, whether it’s looking after them, making sacrifices for them, teaching them new things, or just telling good dad jokes and being a good storyteller. The worst dads, on the other hand, are harsh at their best and neglectful at their worst.
Kratos Is God Of War’s Fantastic Video Game Dad
2018’s God of War was the beginning of a major character change for antihero Kratos: he became a father. In his new story that will be continued sometime in the future after God of War: Ragnarok‘s release date, Kratos became a father to a son, Atreus. At the beginning of God of War, Kratos is easily frustrated with his son. When teaching Atreus to hunt, Kratos quickly angers and is an unwilling teacher.
However, as Kratos’ journey continues, he becomes closer to Atreus as they grieve Kratos’ wife and Atreus’ mother. That’s when players got a taste of how much of a dad Kratos can be. His storytelling ability is shown in his boat rides with Atreus, as he tells tall tales, along with some additional ones from Mimir later in the game. He even ends up being a fantastic teacher for Atreus, as Kratos’ son develops into a capable warrior by the end of the game. Finally, he gives one of the most iconic pieces of advice at the beginning of the game: “Do not be sorry. Be better.” Good advice is a great quality to have from a dad, and while it might be a little heavy-handed, Kratos delivers plenty of it.
Hades Is A Worse Godly Father Than Kratos
From one of the best games released in 2020, Hades of the game that bears his name is not a great dad. Hades is a popular indie roguelike developed by Supergiant Games. Unlike God of War, Hades centers around the son of the god, Zagreus, who spends the game trying to escape his father’s domain of the Underworld.
Throughout Zagreus’ journey out of the Underworld, all Hades does is get in his son’s way. Hades sends all his forces after Zagreus and even tries to get his other employed gods like Hypnos and Nyx to stop interacting with his son. If Zagreus gets close enough to the surface, Hades will even send his dog Cerberus and step in personally to stop Zagreus from escaping his home. Parents get scared when their kids move out all the time, but Hades takes it too far.
Joel Is A Heartwarming, Protective Father In The Last Of Us
From the very beginning of The Last of Us and its upcoming remake, Joel is shown as a great father. He cares for his daughter Sarah and, following her death, takes care of his new surrogate daughter, Ellie. Their relationship starts as a necessary business exchange to help combat the ongoing infection, but the two develop a much deeper relationship during their journey across the country. From Joel teaching Ellie how to whistle, to his decision to save her life at the possible expense of many others, Joel is a fantastic father to Ellie, even though she isn’t technically his child and the moral implications of his endgame decision makes it a more complicated proposition.
Ethan Mars From Heavy Rain Is One Of The Worst Video Game Dads
Ethan Mars from Quantic Dream’s interactive drama Heavy Rain is one of the worst fathers in video games. From the beginning of the game, it seems like Ethan is a great father. He plays with his sons and seems to always be looking out for him. Not long after that, though, he goes to a crowded mall and loses his son, Jason (twice!). He even dedicates a whole button on the player’s controller to yelling “Jason!” to help find his son, a goofy prompt that will hopefully return in Quantic Dream’s upcoming Star Wars game. This results in Jason ending up across a busy street, and crossing said street to try and reunite with his father. While Ethan does try to save Jason, it doesn’t work, and Jason is killed in a car accident, with Ethan ending up in a six-month-long coma.
After Jason’s death, Heavy Rain flashes forwards two years later to Ethan trying to bond with his other son, Shaun. However, this ends up being a bit of a futile effort for Ethan, as he blacks out and loses Shaun as well. While it could be argued that Jason’s accident was just a case of bad luck, it’s hard to argue that losing two sons within two years puts Ethan very high on the dad-o-meter.
Lem Works Hard For His Daughter In Citizen Sleeper
One of the hardest-working fathers in video games, Lem from indie hi t Citizen Sleeper is a fantastic father. As a refugee from a spaceship flying to the station where the game takes place, Erlin’s Eye. This refugee ship is also where Lem meets his adopted daughter, Mina. Despite not knowing who she is or where she came from, Lem takes Mina in and raises her as his own daughter. Player choices in Citizen Sleeper can determine where Lem and Mina go by the end of the story, but no matter what choices the player makes, one thing remains the same: everything Lem does, he does to make a better life for Mina.
Michael Is Grand Theft Auto V’s Deadbeat Dad
Another bad dad in video games, who could be joining GTA Online, is Michael from the evergreen Grand Theft Auto V. Michael is a “successful” criminal who lives in a mansion with his family in Los Santos after leaving his criminal career to live a life as a family man. He berates his kids, Tracey and Jimmy, for their lifestyle choices, but his complaints about his family all come back to him. As a narcissist who suffered from a (self-inflicted) failing marriage, Michael’s mid-life crisis led him right back to crime. While many of the best dads on this list made bad initial decisions, then atoned for them by being better fathers, Michael was a bad father who just got even worse.
Sojiro Is A Great Adoptive Father In Persona 5 Royal
As the player character’s adoptive father in Persona 5 Royal, Sojiro can initially come off as a bit harsh. Instead of living with him, the player lives in the attic of his coffee shop, a cramped room that is likely less than ideal for a high school student. He also insists that you work for him in his shop, and consistently reminds the player of the fact that they are a juvenile delinquent.
However, as he warms up to the player throughout Persona 5 Royal‘s long single-player journey – and as they get to know his daughter, Futaba, helping her break out of her shell – Sojiro grows much more welcoming to the player. He does still keep a bit of a hard exterior, but the warmth shows through, and he even taking a big risk pretending to be ignorant when asked about the player’s activities as a Phantom Thief. Sojiro has one of the best character arcs in Persona 5 Royal and becomes a caring father to his kids, adopted or otherwise.
Jecht Is Tidus’ Awful Father In Final Fantasy X
In the world of Final Fantasy X‘s Spira, it seems like protagonist Tidus is always living in the shadow of his father, Jecht. In the land of Zanarkand where Jecht and Tidus are from, Jecht is a superstar in the sport of Blitzball, a huge phenomenon in Zanarkand that could be expanded upon if Final Fantasy X-3 follows the FF7 Remake series’ end. However, this superstardom made Jecht incredibly arrogant. He was also a heavy drinker and left Tidus and his mother when Tidus was young.
However, unbeknownst to Tidus, Jecht vanished when he came in contact with Sin and transported him to the land of Spira. While in Spira Jecht got into a lot of trouble, but was somewhat redeemed by his journey to help a summoner on a journey to save the land of Spira. Even so, he still never made it home to Zanarkand to be truly redeemed in the eyes of his son. While a reunion in a possible Final Fantasy X-3 could somehow reunite the father and son and redeem Jecht, he is still regarded as a bad father for the way he treated Tidus before being transported to Spira. He is still a pretty great blitzball player in Final Fantasy X, though.
Octodad Is The Best Video Game Dad
In the end, the award for best video game dad couldn’t go to anyone but Octodad from Octodad: Dadliest Catch. Despite being a different species from the rest of his family, he still does his best to relate to and help them with anything they may need. There is not a hint of neglect or harshness for Octodad’s family like in God of War or Final Fantasy X; his family is clearly his number-one priority. While he may not be able to speak to his family well, and he’s a little short on dad jokes and good advice, there’s one thing Octodad has plenty of: love.
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