Fathers in video games are often complex characters. When they aren’t protecting us from the darkness that lurks digital worlds, they’re often the ones that are throwing us and our compatriots to the wolves in a shocking act of betrayal. We at HeyPoorPlayer would like to take a moment this Father’s Day and honor some of the most diligent and devious dads in gaming for all they’ve done for us over the years, for better or for worse.
Mike Haggar (Final Fight Series) When this former professional wrestler left the ring to become the mayor of Metro City, the punks of the Mad Gear Gang made the mistake of thinking he went soft. After kidnapping his daughter, Jessica, the gang finds out the Mayor’s plans for reducing the city’s crime rate by delivering street justice one vicious pile-driver at a time. This mayoral mass of muscles cracks enough skulls to put Liam Neeson to shame as he fights to rescue his daughter.
Harry Mason (Silent Hill) If running through the twisted nightmare land of Silent HIll to save your adopted daughter doesn’t at least earn you a father of the year award, I don’t know what does. Harry fights off a menagerie of twitching hellspawn and demonic babies in his quest to reunite himself with Cheryl. And while I’ve never hard to battle through a hellish town infested with all sorts of things that go bump in the night to protect my progeny, I’d wager it takes at least twice the nerve it does to manage the worst diaper catastrophe.
Ethan Mars (Heavy Rain) While by no means the perfect father, Ethan Mars does his best to reconcile the relationship he has with his remaining son after the tragic loss of the other. While the relationship between Shaun and Ethan is rocky, Ethan proves his undying devotion to his child after he is abducted by a deranged serial killer. Ethan goes through hell and back to rescue Shaun, even going so far as to chop his own finger at the whim of his maniacal quarry.
John Marston (Red Dead Redemption) John Marston raised Hell for much of his life. The former outlaw stole what he could, murdered in cold blood, and struck fear into all who crossed his band of bandits. After the gruff cowboy settles down and starts up a family, his only intention is to keep them safe and make sure his son doesn’t follow in his footsteps. The dialog between John and Jake is stern but heartfelt, creating some of the most touching moments in the game. And John Marston’s fateful rush into a hail of gunfire is a testament to just how far this roughneck would go to protect his kin.
Joel (The Last of US) We’ll do our best to avoid spoilers here as the game was just released, but this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning The Last of Us’ grizzled protagonist. Joel’s tooth-and-nail fight to protect his daughter in the beginning throes of a world quickly being thrown over the edge is raw and emotional. The opening ten or so minutes of the game is one of the most powerful displays of heroism we’ve seen in three decades of gaming, and that’s saying something.
Now that we’ve covered our five favorite fathers of gaming, let’s take a look at some of the deadbeat dads of the medium. These are the dregs of digital daddery who we’d only buy a tie if they’d use it to hang themselves.