Father's Day has always been the Waluigi of holidays—recalled only when mentioned, not very exciting, and rarely seen as necessary. While Mother's Day—the beloved Mario in this analogy—sees sons and daughters worldwide reflect on the labor (in every sense of the word) their mothers have gone through to allow them to grow into the people they are today, Father's Day is typically a way to tell Dad something along the lines of "Meh, you're not too bad either." While mamas are showered with chocolates, flowers, gifts, and funny Hallmark cards, the best dad can hope for on his day of appreciation is a new tie or some power tools. It hardly seems fair, right?
Well, if we were to base holidays on the world of video games, we would see that this lukewarm reception is inadequate in some cases, and generous in others. You see, video game dads tend to exist in two separate planes: those who are wholly devoted to their children, and those who are wholly devoted to themselves. For every morally infallible pixel man willing to go to Hell and back for his family's well-being, there's a paternal villain who needs to be reported to Child Protective Services for his evil, self-centered treachery.
And since the only thing more inescapable than death or taxes is a holiday-themed video game list, I've decided to compile the best and worst padres gaming has to offer here for you today.
While not technically "fathers," BioShock's iconic drill-armed brutes represent just how protective any real dad should be of his children should any potential danger come to them. Well, maybe they shouldn't be "drill a basketball-sized hole through your stomach" protective, but you get the point—these big fellas will guard their little ones to the death. They have a surprisingly sensitive side too; how else could they tolerate their Little Sisters incessantly calling them "Mr. Bubbles?"
The consummate everyman, provided that you consider a widower searching through a nightmarish Helltown for his adopted daughter who happens to be composed of the half-soul of a demon child to be relatable. Indeed, Mr. Mason is no "everyman," but that's mostly because of the relentless courage he displays when wading through the murky fogs of Silent Hill, always finding a way to carry on towards saving his daughter Cheryl. With no special powers or combat training, Harry uses the magic of pure will to do what needs to be done. He's nothing short of devotion personified.
The late father of series hero Fox McCloud, James was an accomplished pilot, war hero, and loving husband before passing at the traitorous hooves of Star Wolf's Pigma Dengar. James left an everlasting imprint on his son, helping to mold Fox into the hero he ends up becoming, even guiding him through sticky situations as some sort of spirit guide at times.
If nothing else, he's also the coolest dad on this list, bar none. Anyone who has the fortitude to name his kid after the name of their species has an immeasurable amount of swagger. That'd be like if I was named Human Dunn. And have you seen those shades? Forget about it.
This one may seem a tad controversial. After all, having one son run over by a car and another kidnapped by some fatso with daddy issues himself isn't going to earn you any "World's Greatest Dad" coffee mugs come Father's Day.
However, like Harry Mason above, it's Mars' willingness to do whatever it takes to get his Shaun back that earns him a spot on this list. Cutting off a finger, driving against highway traffic, crawling through tunnels of glass, even potentially sacrificing himself—nothing is off limits for Ethan if it means rescuing his boy. Also, considering both his sons weirdly have French accents, they may not even be his in the first place, which makes all this doubly impressive. Just throwing that out there.
Rockstar's gun-slinging outlaw is one of the most fully formed, distinctly human fathers ever seen in a video game. Sure, he can somehow slow down time to score headshots and almost singlehandedly fend off a zombie apocalypse, but at his core, John Marston is a true family man. He's made mistakes, run with the wrong crowd, and done plenty of things he shouldn't have done, but he's always owned up to them and taken responsibility for his actions. A man misled by a disillusioned youth, Marston fought the corruption of both criminals and the law until his dying breath, the whole time fueled by one undying hope: to keep his wife and son safe. If there's any video game man about whom real dads should teach their kids, it's John Marston. Besides the whole killing half of Mexico part, of course.