Posted on June 17, 2011, Ross Lincoln 5 Video Game Characters With The Biggest Daddy Issues
Most of us are lucky enough to have totally excellent dads. Once we grew up enough to learn that being a stern, judgmental disciplinarian is just a father’s way of saying ‘hi!’, we realized they’re pretty cool people, and that we’re pretty lucky to have them. That’s why we’ll be sending them cards, gift certificates and ties this Sunday as a way of saying ‘thanks for all the dad stuff you did when I was a selfish, tantrum throwing little kid.”
Then again, most of us aren’t video game characters. Dads in video games routinely abandon, exile, unfairly punish and often outright try to murder their kids. And that’s in between attempts to take over, or just destroy the universe. And even the dads who get it mostly right? They have a nasty habit of disappearing right when their kids need them the most. No wonder then that your average game protagonist has more daddy issues than the Library of Congress.
This Father’s Day, when we’re frantically calling our dads, let’s be sure to leave room in our hearts for people who aren’t as lucky as we were. Here at the 5 video game characters with the biggest daddy issues.
5) Kratos (God of War)
The Dad: Zeus, King of the gods.
Why he won’t be getting a Father’s Day Card: Reverse Oedipal Complex plus bigamy to the 11th power.
We all have some problems with our parents. They don’t understand us, they wouldn’t let us stay up all night listening to that new music they think is noise. No big deal, nothing a few nights of collegiate binge drinking can’t help you work through. Unless you’re God of War’s Kratos, in which case your dad is Ancient Greece’s biggest philandering deadbeat.
When Zeus isn’t flinging thunderbolts at hapless humans, he’s appearing to attractive women in the form of golden showers or a rampant bull, blithely impregnating them and then leaving them to endure a WIC-free society as a single mother. He knocked up Kratos’ mom, abandoned her, never bothered to check in on lil’ Kratos’ development and then later on, when Kratos grew up and joined the family business as the new God of War, Zeus pulls the ultimate bad dad move: He engineers an amazingly convoluted plot to murder Kratos.
How bad does this mess poor Kratos up? He can’t use contractions. He’s incapable of holding down a committed relationship, typically winding down after a hard day of killing by banging nymphs two at a time. Also, he tends to stab everyone he meets in the back and front. Really, Kratos has a ton of reasons to be angry, but having a raging bastard for a father is reason #1. Luckily he gets the closure he needs when kills dear old dad for good in God of War III. Great for Kratos, but he ends up laying most of the mortal world to waste in the process. Zeus could have saved himself and all humanity a lot of grief if, instead of trying to kill his son, he took him out for father/son pizza instead.
4) Solid Snake (Metal Gear)
The Dad: Big Boss, AKA Naked Snake
Why he won’t be getting a Father’s Day Card: Repeatedly trying to kill his son as part of a plot to take over the world.
We don’t always turn out like our parents wanted. Sometimes we vote for politicians they want to punch. Sometimes we go into the arts when they’d rather we get a practical job, like ‘freelance billionaire’. But these are trivial concerns, easily set aside when it’s time to spend some quality family time together during the holidays. But what happens when dad is the leader of a shadowy international conspiracy bent on world domination? If you’re Solid Snake, you get a one way ticket to psychological traumaville.
Solid Snake is basically the best Soldier in America’s armed forces. He’s stealthy, smart and looks really cool. He’s saved the world more than once and is basically what you would describe as the perfect son. Sure, he’s technically a clone, but that shouldn’t matter to an open minded parent, should it? But is that good enough for his bio dad, Big Boss? Hell no. Big Boss isn’t proud that his son Solid is the best thing Evarz. Big Boss is obsessed with how Solid keeps trying to stop his evil schemes. So he spends most of his time trying to kill Solid. How’s that for awkward family reunions?
Sadly, Solid Snake never gets to make up with his dad. Instead, he has to kill him. Ouch. And the worst bit? Solid Snake doesn’t even find out he killed his own father until years later. Now he gets to spend the rest of his life fully aware that his father betrayed and attempted to kill him, and that he had to kill him (father) in return, and wonder if maybe, had he known the truth, he could have done something about it.
We’re guessing that the bulk of his Veterans Benefits package is going to be spent on prozac and therapy.
3) Marcus Fenix (Gears of War)
The Dad: Dr. Adam Fenix
Why he won’t be getting a Father’s Day Card: Failing to stop the end of the world; Turning out to not be dead after everyone had been completely traumatized.
Marcus Fenix wasn’t born a badass war ex-con war hero. He was raised to be one by Dr. Adam Fenix, super soldier and super intellectual who instilled in his son the virtues of being honest, brave, and willing to kill every last thing that gets between you and survival. He even tried to discourage his son from throwing away his life fighting in a ghastly, lengthy war and still made sure Marcus knew he loved him before shipping out. What a guy! No wonder Marcus wanted to be just like him.
Too bad Adam also got himself wrapped up in a very ill-advised government scheme to bring a ghastly war to a swift end via the use of scary weapons on mass destruction. Too bad it didn’t work. Too bad he disappeared and was presumed dead just as humanity was plunged into what appeared to be their final gasp of survival. It’s no shock then that Marcus would suffer a major blue screen of death at the loss. He coped by throwing away his military career on a fruitless, mutinous quest to save his dad from certain doom only to fail spectacularly. He was arrested and sentenced to death, narrowly avoiding that fate when his government ran out of soldiers and reinstated him. A shell of the man he used to be, Marcus spends the bulk of the gears of War series in an emo funk about his dad, basically looking for death at every corner.
But in a rare happy event, it turns out Adam survived his presumed death. Assuming he and Marcus make it to the end of Gears of War 3, it’s just possible Marcus will work through his daddy issues and be able to once again enjoy games of touch football and impromptu BBQ with the old man. He’s just going to have to kill about 4 million enemies before he’ll get the chance.
2) The Lone Wanderer (Fallout 3)
The Dad: James (AKA Liam Neeson)
Why he won’t be getting a Father’s Day Card: Abandonment; making you live in the vault.
Everybody wishes their parents were secretly cooler and more awesome than they appear to be. So imagine how cool it would be to find out your father is actually a brilliant scientist and leader of a top secret project to save the world? Now imagine how cool it would be to not find that out because your dad totally abandoned you without word or warning, leaving you to fend for yourself in either a fascist hellhole or the post-nuclear wreckage of Civilization. Congratulations: you now know what it was like for Fallout 3′s Lone Wanderer growing up.
Life is bad enough when you spend your college years fighting off mutants. But when your beloved daddy goes AWOL right after you graduate High School and doesn’t bother telling you why/where/how, it kind of ruins your whole life. In Fallout 3, The Lone Wanderer spends the majority of the game learning how kill people, blow up buildings, loot, steal and manipulate all so s/he can eventually find their dad and get him to explain why the hell he left.
Turns out, James had excellent reasons. Unfortunately, he dies before he gets a chance to make up for lost family time, and the Lone Wanderer gets to spend the rest of the game dealing with the double whammy of parental abandonment and the loss of their only living relative. We suspect a better plan would have been for James to actually tell his kid what he was planning, preferably during a little league game, or family game night. Oh well, at least The Lone Wanderer can enjoy 30 years of guilt, now that he’s gone ahead and saved the world in dad’s place. And hell, who can stay mad at Liam Neeson?
1) The Prince (Katamari Damacy)
The Dad: The King of All Cosmos
Why he won’t be getting a Father’s Day Card: Abusive, hypercritical parent and dangerous alcoholic who expects son to clean up after him.
Who hasn’t disappointed their parents at one time or another? No big deal since most of us have parents whose accomplishments and status are decidedly less than stellar. Unfortunately for the poor Prince in Katamari Damacy, his father is the King of All Cosmos, an omnipotent, godlike being who also has a wee drinking problem. One night, the king indulges a bit too much of the bottle and in a drunken stupor ends up laying waste to all of creation. Now most alkies would skip directly to the remorse part of alcoholism and apologize to everyone; they might even resign after announcing that they’ll be seeking undisclosed treatment somewhere. Not so The King, who instead gleefully celebrates his excess and orders his hapless son to clean it all up.
But it gets worse. Not only does the Prince dutifully follow his drunken dad’s command and clean up the royal mess, for his efforts he’s subjected to horrendous ridicule. What an ass! Basically, The Prince is Tara from True Blood in video game form, and the King of All Cosmos is Charlie Sheen. Forget trying to patch things up, the Prince needs to lock daddy up in treatment and take control of his estate. Even sad Father’s days are happy when you know your sick parent is getting the treatment they need and you don’t have to endure their jerkassness. But if the Prince needs closure? He’s got more money than he’ll ever need for therapy.