Hey there folks! So August has finished up, and we’re now into September! And seeing as how Father’s Day has pretty much rolled around for everyone (at some point or another), but recently for Australia, I thought it would be a good opportunity to base my monthly top 10 list on gaming’s top 10 dads! And so here you have it:
THE TOP 10 GAMING FATHERS!
10: King Krichevskoy from Disgaea
The father of the Protagonist of the first Disgaea, King Krichevskoy reigned for a very long time as a well loved and well respected Overlord of the Netherworld. Until his untimely demise at the hands of a steamed dumpling. According to his son Laharl however, the late king was a fool of a man, although he does appreciate the lessons that he taught him as the Prince who would one day have to rise up in his stead. However, the King’s ultimate fate falls increasingly into question, especially when Vyers (from my top 10 mini-bosses list) is involved. Now, regardless of Laharl’s own biases against him, King Krichevskoy was pictured as a good father, having to raise his son on his own after the death of his human wife, Laharl’s mother. A single parent running an empire? Probably not the easiest of gigs. That said, his “death” may have provided a much needed reprieve in which Laharl could later ascend to claim the Overlord’s title.
9: John Marston from Red Dead Redemption
OK, so maybe he isn’t exactly the image of what you would call a role model. Or even that great of a human being for that matter. But despite many days of fighting in shoot-outs, tying ladies to railroad tracks, lassoing hapless bandits and even fighting off a horde of unread, John Marston clearly places himself as a family man who will do anything for his wife and child. And that means ANYTHING. I think most gamers would give him a ‘A’ for effort and intention, but a definite E in moral execution of said effort. So it should average out to a C. So yeah, not bad.
8: Hector from Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword and Sword of Seals
Fire Emblem is a series in which we often see successive games use the same characters, or children of characters from previous instalments. And sure one might argue that Eliwood and Roy are a more iconic father-son team, or even Garcia and Ross from Sacred Stones, but Hector truly stands out among the crowd as a personality and father figure. He is also the most kick-ass Lord class character ever. Eliwood and Lyn could not hold a candle to him. During the events of Fire Emblem 6: Sword of Seals, the players have the unfortunate displeasure of seeing Hector almost executed at the hands of an enemy general only to die by Roy’s side moments later. He laid down his life as the most powerful person in the nation of Lycia to protect not only his country, but also his daughter. It is interesting to see his transition as a father figure, because in the prequel Fire Emblem 7: Blazing Sword, Hector was portrayed as a young, immature and irresponsible rogue warrior. Seeing him grow into the competent leader of Lycia following his brother’s death, as well as a father, Hector changes make him all the more worthy of being on this list, because he represents to us the changes that people go through as they age.
7: Ethan Mars from Heavy Rain
So, you find out your kid is missing and possibly the target of a notorious serial killer. Of course you would go after him. Who wouldn’t? Determined to save his only remaining son from a grim fate, Ethan Mars stands out at number 7 on this list. He is a man who has truly lost everything, save for the love of his child. To lose that would push anyone to the edges of mental stability. The look on his face when he realises that his son is missing projects so many emotions to us. Fear, shock, anger, helplessness, depression. All of these which we know as the negative facets of being in family life. Despite the overwhelming nature of a possibly deadly situation, Ethan endures simply to have his son returned to a normal life safe and sound. Without spoiling too much of the plot of Heavy Rain, Ethan’s situation is made all the more painful for him, given the circumstances of his other son’s death.
6: Carth Onasi from Knights of the Old Republic
A man that points out to many of us the harshness of having to balance family life and military life. Carth Onasi is regarded as one of the greatest heroes of the Republic army in the KOTOR timeline. However, as a family man, his responsibilities had to come second in a time of war. Through his travels with Revan (the player character) he slowly begins to open up about his history. He tells tales of his military life and how he was betrayed by trusted comrades. For a time, Carth was happily married, and his wife and son lived a relatively sheltered life on the Republic Planet Telos. This was all ended the day one of Carth’s superiors defected to the Sith, and launched an all out attack on the undefended Telos. Carth and the Republic arrived too late. The planet had been decimated. His wife died in his arms and his son had disappeared, unbeknownst to him, into the conscripted ranks of the Sith. Years later, in his travels with Revan, he again runs into his son Dustin training on the Sith Planet of Korriban. Despite his inability to save his family the first time, Carth successfully manages to convince Dustin to turn his back on the Sith, and thus the pair are reunited. A sad story, but with a genuinely happy ending.
5: Bowser from Mario Brothers series
An interesting case of parenting to say the least. Bowser is the perhaps not so proud father of 8 different little terrors of the Mushroom Kingdom. The number has recently been revised due from 7 to 8 due to the introduction of Bowser Junior to the official canon of the series. (And yet somehow Baby Bowser doesn’t count…) Now, despite the fact that Bowser is the primary villain of the Mario series, he has to be doing something right as a parent seeing as how he has raised all 8 of his children to idolise him and he’s a single father. Debates have raged on in regards to the identity of the mother of his children, but that often leads to rather creepy fanfics and disturbing images. As a father figure, he is not what one would call ideal, seeing as how he sends his kids out to get their butts kicked by Mario and Luigi every other week, but still, the love is there right? I mean, he gave them all a piece of prime castle real estate. And that just can’t be scoffed at.
4: Norman from Pokémon 3rd Gen
As I stated back in my mother’s day top 10 list, during the Pokémon series, players were used to being introduced to the mother character in their own hometown, but the identity of a father character has rarely been explored. The only exception ever made has been in the 3rd generation games (i.e. Ruby/Emerald/Sapphire) where the player characters are told that their father is the leader of the Pokémon Gym two towns away. Norman is an expert user of Normal type Pokémon. Unlike the other fathers of the main Pokémon trainers from the other games, Norman at least has an excuse for not being around in the home environment. He also refuses to accept the challenge of his child to a gym battle until they have obtain at least 4 other badges from around the Hoenn region, so that you might meet him on equal terms. My memory of the battle is vague, but his Slaking was a tough nut to crack, so, fair’s fair for not choosing to DEMOLISH his own kid when they first started out their Pokémon journey.
3: Chuck Greene from Dead Rising 2
It’s pretty clear to anyone that’s played Dead Rising 2 that Chuck’s daughter means the absolute world to him. In every cinematic his concern has always been first and foremost for his daughter. Heck, the entire reason why he came to fortune city to compete in the zombie killing game show ‘Terror is Reality’ was to earn enough money to pay for her medicine. Additionally, if at any point Katie does turn into a Zombie, Chuck’s slump into a suicidal depression speaks volumes about how he would no longer have a reason to live if he didn’t have her. His story is all the more tragic for it, given that the zombie form of his wife is what gave her the infection to begin with. Tasked with the constant need to find her the anti-zombie medicine Zombrex, players must always bear in mind that they need to find some of that medicine above all else, even if that means sacrificing Chuck’s chances at freedom after being framed for the outbreak. And for all of those who say that Chuck is a negligent father who wears dresses, and rides tricycles, let’s not forget that’s what PLAYERS have been doing to him. Yeah, we’re a horrible bunch, aren’t we?
2: Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell
Like Chuck, Sam Fisher belongs on this high spot on the list because of his devotion to his child. Heck the entire plot of his latest game revolved around it. Now, unlike Chuck, who slips into thoughts of suicide after losing his child, Fisher continues with his life, albeit in an exceedingly painful way. His choice to endure the harshness of life as a wanted man who’s lost everything shows players that he is clearly undergoing a stronger level of internal torment than Greene. It is also reflected in his evolution as a character from a smart mouthed, highly professional agent into an angry and downright BRUTAL force hell-bent on raining painful vengeance down on those responsible. The discovery made at the mid-point of Convictions also has a dramatic impact on his story and character (which won’t be mentioned due to spoilers), but his nature again becomes all the more violent when players realise that a man with something to fight for can be even more deadly than a man with nothing. Fisher’s characterisation due to his attachment to his daughter really speaks to players, as I’m sure many of us would undertake interogations just as violently as his if we were to be placed in the same shoes. But if Fisher’s performance as a father brings up the number 2 spot, then who could be number 1? Well, it is none other than…
1: Thane Krios from Mass Effect 2
Like Carth Onasi in many ways, Thane is a character who is torn between his responsibilities to his job and the responsibilities to his family. Again, like Carth, his family life began with a loving wife and a child. And just as similarly, the father and son are estranged and meet up during the course of the game, in which they are provided with the chance to work out their differences. I think I’m beginning to detect a pattern here in Bioware RPG’s… In any case, the difference between the two is that Carth is a soldier. A military man whose job is to protect and serve. Thane’s background is much less glamorous. As a professional Assassin, his nature and appearance is colder and yet he seems eerily calm and polite for a man who makes a life by ending others. As a result, his profession is viewed as more detestable, even though he is, by every right, a good man with a strict moral compass. As a result, the rift between the father and son is much larger. So much so that Thane is forced to ask Sheppard for help in reuniting with his estranged son and preventing him from making the same mistakes he made in his life. Ultimately, the situations resolution depends on the player’s choices, but truth be told, the progression of Thane’s side-mission was most certainly amongst the most memorable in Mass Effect 2. Especially if… CREATIVE methods are used in dealing with a hostage situation. Thane’s story is the epitome of what we like to see in strong video game stories. Choice, conscience, reunions and repentance. These are all reasons I feel Thane deserves the top spot.