Father’s Day is right around the corner, and as the resident Dad of the Daily Crate team, I figured it was my duty to put together another one of my patented “Best of” gaming lists! This time around, in honor of all you kick ass dads out there, I’m talking about the Best Dads in gaming!
Now, let me just say that these dads might not be the typical best dad, in the sense that they have financial security, a good job, a 401k, or that they are always there with a listening ear and support. No, this list of dads has its fair share of dysfunction and drama, but at the end of the day these are some of the most badass characters in video games, period, and many of them are motivated and inspired to do what needs to be done to protect their children – whether they’re their blood, or not. Let’s take a look!
Kratos, God of War: So Kratos wasn’t always doing the brooding overly protective single dad thing, but in God of War’s recent Norse installment, we see Kratos taking on the role of dad rather begrudgingly at first, seeing as he spends the majority of the game refusing to call his son by name and simply calling him “boy”, but eventually we see Kratos do his dad thing to protect his kiddo. And along the way, Kratos warms up to the kid in a big way by, ya know, calling him Atreus (which is his name, of course). In the end, though, there is really only one thing that Kratos is good at and only one way that he can show his love and support, and that’s by just kicking a ton of ass – and this time around he does all of that and more to protect his son.
Joel, The Last of Us: From the start of The Last of Us, we see Joel in the role of a loving, caring, and supportive father. This guy clearly rocks, this guy’s daughter clearly loves and adores him, and all is well in the world. Until the literal end of the world happens, basically, and his daughter is tragically killed 10 minutes into the game. So yeah, it’s set up as a game tugging at your heartstrings right from the start. He later is tasked with protecting Ellie, which he looks at as a simple job at the beginning, but in Ellie, Joel finds hope and love again and provides for Ellie in a way that only a father can. And in the end, Joel has to go to some pretty intense extremes to protect Ellie and it’s probably one of the most impactful “Dad Moments” in any game I’ve ever played. The game is easily the most emotional and narrative-driven game that I can think of, and I played through it recently and being a dad now makes this game WAY heavier and I’m not crying you’re crying!
Geralt, The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt: Geralt is yet another, let’s call him… An unconventional father figure. Geralt is a Witcher, a monster killer for hire that undergoes an intense transition via the Witcher Trials, which includes three trials that are grueling and horrifying, and only a small number survive. Those that do, are incredibly powerful monster killers, but you’re also sterile. So, much like Joel, Geralt isn’t actually a dad, but he’s probably the best kind of dad you can get in the Witcher universe. And again, like Joel, Geralt meets a young girl named Ciri that breaks through his gruff exterior and show him that life is more than just brothels and slaying bad guys. Ciri becomes the target of some really bad guys called the Wild Hunt, and Geralt is tasked with basically fighting against Death incarnate to protect her and keep her from harm – you know, because what dad wouldn’t grab a good ole silver sword and fend off ghouls, ghosts, and vampires?
Barret, Final Fantasy VII: Look, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I LOVE Final Fantasy VII. It’s an absolutely incredible game and to go along with its story filled with political intrigue and supernatural shenanigans, the game is carried by a pretty rad cast of characters – one of my favorites being Barret Wallace. Barret has gone through his fair share of traumatic moments, trials and tribulations, but at the end of the day, he’s a family man at heart, no matter how rough he might be on the outside (or how many times he calls you mean names throughout the game). Much like many of the “dads” on this list, Barret is an adoptive father to lovely little Marlene. And when the despicable Shinra corporation builds a Mako reactor in their backyard, Barret takes offense to the changes happening in their sector and how it’ll mess with his family, and he knows he has to do something to protect Marlene. So he does the only thing a guy with a literal gun on his arm can do: he becomes an eco-terrorist and ends up saving the world. I’d say that’s a pretty rad dad thing to do, don’tcha think?
John Marston, Red Dead Redemption: One of only two dads on this list that are actual biological fathers, we’ve got the rough-and-tumble wild west dad, John Marston. Rockstar Games knows how to make engrossing and involving narrative stories in big, fleshed out open worlds. But they’re also really damn good at character development, and in the smash hit Red Dead Redemption we see John trying to distance himself from a life of crime and debauchery (much of which we witness in last year’s Red Dead Redemption 2), taking care of his family, supporting them, all the while teaching his son Jack the good and wholesome things about the world. But all of that comes crashing down on him when the FBI comes knocking on his door asking him to hunt down his old buddies. John, of course, doesn’t want to have anything to do with that, but the FBI is like “oh yeah by the way we’ve kidnapped your family and are holding them hostage until you knock off your old homies”. To which John begrudgingly obliges, and he spends the rest of the game hunting down the people he used to call friend – but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do for your family, and John does just that – unfortunately for him it doesn’t end very well, but his wife and son do survive thanks to his sacrifice, so there is that…