Hey Critikal Readers, Prodaj here!
I recently welcomed a new member to my family: a healthy baby girl and she is beautiful. I can’t wait to train her up as a gamer who loves anime, sports, and most of all, the Lord. As a father all over again, I’ll take a look at some video game and anime fathers that make you proud to be a good father and others that make you cringe for the kids. Originally, I tried to keep this post as short as possible but when I get going it’s like a snowball downhill and the piece gained momentum. So I will break down this post into 2 parts. Most of these you will recognize and others you may not, but perhaps this will serve to act as a point of curiosity to either check out a game or an anime; either way it’s a win-win.
The parental dynamic is used as a troupe in all media because of its intrinsic importance. Parents shape our lives for better or worse. It is an easy way to base a story, develop a plot, build character exposition, and in some cases deliver a climatic plot twist. Humans are made to value the concept of paternity, if not the parents themselves. As the parent/child dynamic has developed over time in media, it has also shaped our perception of what those relationships should look like. No two parent/child relationship dynamics are the same, but we have been conditioned by media- mainly television, to expect certain commonalities. In the 50’s and 60’s when television really became a part of Americana. You could sit down in your linoleum-clad kitchen or the shag carpeted living room with your family and watch other families on TV. Shows like Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best and Happy Days told you “this is how families are”, but in reality no family is perfect. Over time, the glamour of the “perfect family” started to give way to a more real and dysfunctional version of the family show. A perfect example of this was “All in the Family”. This show dealt with real issues like racism, sex before marriage, politics and war, even death. Shows like this and others like The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son and Good Times reflected a cultural shift in the perception of the family in Media. In present days the family dynamic has changed greatly and even the definition of family has changed. Fathers went from being the cornerstone of a family to imperfect individuals to emasculated men to almost absent. But im not here to give you a history lesson about yesteryear television or to preach about how the media portrays fathers, husbands and men for that matter today. I want to shed light on the concept of fathers in games and anime. Some of these fathers are good and others are downright awful. Here are some that come to my mind.
HEIHACHI MISHIMA from the Tekken series
This man, driven by ambition and some superhuman hair gel, tossed his son Kazuya off a cliff to ‘toughen him up’. In doing so, Kazyua sold his soul to the devil to get revenge which causes him to be a crap dad to his own son Jin as well because he was consumed by hatred (and the devil). He ostracizes Jin before being tossed into a volcano by Heihachi. Talk about generational curses.
BOWSER from the Mario Franchise
I know what you’re thinking: “how dare I call him a bad Dino-daddy”, but his bad kids serve to be the minor antagonists of later installments of the Super Mario series. He didn’t abuse them per se, but he must’ve influenced them to be bad directly by teaching them or by being himself and his kiddies’ just copying daddy. Either way- Bad Bowser! Get yo kids!
KRATOS from the God of War series
Even though this franchise is one of my all-time favorites I can’t deny that the Spartan warrior turned vengeful God turned enigmatic crusader against any mythical being was a bad dad. Maybe it was because of his ambition being a famed Spartan warrior but he won a few too many battles because Ares the God of War tricked him into killing his family in a slashing haze-rage. This guy literally takes his dead family’s remains with him wherever he goes: their ashes permanently cover his skin. There is a new installment in this series that has him seemingly living with his son, but im not too confident that Kratos Jr will survive this game- sorry.
JOHNNY CAGE from the Mortal Kombat franchise
The cocky flashy movie star turned defender for Earthrealm seemed too self-imposed to have kids. But with Mortal Kombat X, the latest installment of Netherrealm’s blockbuster series, we find Johnny Cage as big poppa improved. He had a kid with Sonya Blade and she turned out to be as cocky flashy and badass as himself. Cassie Cage is the captain of Earthrealm’s Special Forces cadet troop with Jacqui Briggs, Takeda, and Kung Jin: all descendants of past MK characters. Johnny leads the team and a big part of the MKX story is a coming of age story for them. Can I have this dad’s autograph?
BARRY BURTON from the Resident Evil Game Franchise
Barry was an original member of STARS a Special Forces squad in the ill-fated Raccoon City.
He survived the carnage of the first Resident Evil and didn’t really appear in later installments save for a few peeks here and there. Well with Resident Evil Revelations he’s back and his daughter Moira has been taken. He embarks on a one man army mission to the remote island where she was last heard from. He puts himself in lots of danger and ends up trying to protect another child named Natalia. Moira doesn’t have the best words of kindness for him but she still loves him. It’s for good reason: what dedicated father would go through a kind of hell to rescue your wayward kid? I’ll tell you who: Barry Burton that’s who!
JOEL from The Last of Us video game series
Now, I don’t know much about this game because shocker- I haven’t played it. But I have heard of it through others and from what I can tell, Joel is a really good dad/father figure. In the world of The Last of Us, the story introduces Joel and his daughter Sarah and they seem to love each other. That’s shattered when a weird infection outbreak hits and his daughter dies. During this zombie apocalypse he becomes a smuggler and is tasked to smuggle Elle, mankind’s last hope. He gets her to her destination and ends up forging a bond with her. Although his actions paint him in a gray area at best, he delivers his ‘package’ safe and sound.
Well that’s it for my list of good and bad Dads in video games. Come back to our Facebook page next Monday to see my list of good and bad Anime Dads. Don’t forget to like and comment below and as always Stay Critikal!