20 Best and Worst Fathers in Video Games

Heavy Rain Ethan Mars

So, Father’s Day has just passed, and while thinking about my own dad, it also got me wondering: who are some of the best and worst dad’s in videos? Some of the best video game narratives involve a father/ mentor character, while others are the antagonist and a reflection of what the hero is fighting against. I am going to take a look at some dads from video games, whether they are the best of the best, the worst of the worst, single, married, related by blood, or parental guardians.

Here is a list of the figures you want to have and a few you would thank isn’t your dad. Obviously, spoilers ahead. With that being said, let’s first take a look at some of gaming’s more questionable father figures.

The Worst Dads In Video Games

1. Ethan Mars – Heavy Rain

Press X to ‘Jason!’ After failing to save his son Jason in the game’s prologue, Ethan quickly gets swirled up in the game’s events as his other surviving son Shaun gets captured by the origami killer and will die unless Ethan is willing to go through tasks arranged by the killer.

Now, much like Corvo, Ethan’s ultimate fate varies greatly depending on your play style. These can range from Ethan being killed while Shaun survives, to Ethan starting a new life with Shaun and another in-game character Madison. However, Ethan gets an average rating – after Jason dies, the relationship he and Shaun share suffers greatly, and it takes an encounter with a serial killer to (potentially) get things back to the way they were. Not the best dad in this list, but not the worst either.

Dads out of 10: 5/10 dads


2. Kratos – God of War series

God of War Review 13

So earlier this year, the God of War series received its eighth instalment. The game was very positively received. Among other things like its revamped combat mechanics and change from Greek to Nordic mythology, everyone and their mother has been praising the complex relationship shared by the protagonist Kratos and his son Atreus.

Now, I haven’t played this game, but I have touched upon the previous instalments and can I just take a moment to remind people that this is the same guy who slaughtered his wife and daughter in the first game of the franchise? Granted, he may have been tricked by the god Ares, and he does feel remorse for his actions, but no way is he a good gaming dad. He may have redeemed himself by the way he is trying to raise Atreus, but slaughtering your family in one dimension only to go and start a new one in another isn’t going to make you father of the year.

Dads out of 10: 3/10 dads


3. Big Boss – Metal Gear Solid Series

Taking genetic material from a legendary solider and using that to create two super solider clones counts as fatherhood, right? The complex narrative of all the games is a bit hard to follow and even harder to condense into a manageable size, at least one small enough for this article, but here’s why he’s a bad dad.

For the first half of the series, Big Boss acts as the series’ protagonist – after being betrayed by the American government to kill his mentor, he becomes a mercenary and starts building up his own private army to complete his plan called Outer Heaven, a dream of Big Boss which involved ending the exploitation of soldiers by their respective governments. In the last half of the series, Solid Snake – one of Big Boss’ clones – constantly works against him, thwarting his operations. However, near the end of the series’ timeline — more specifically in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, after Solid Snake completes his final operation — Big Boss comes to him and in his dying moments, explains to his ‘son’ why he did what he did. Not the best dad, but it’s nice to get some closure.

Dads out of 10: 2/10 dads


4. Giovanni Auditore – Assassin’s Creed 2

Arguably the best character to show up in the Assassin’s Creed series is Ezio Auditore. Over the course of several games, we see him grow from a charming but naïve young rogue to a wise, experienced assassin, becoming one of gaming’s most loved characters. However, before this grand life story, Ezio was just an average young man living in Florence, Italy.

The only reason that Ezio ever goes down this path in life is because of his father Giovanni’s position as an Assassin, and how said position gets him and Ezio’s brothers executed. While this may be a good beginning to an epic narrative and though we do see Giovanni and Ezio have a seemingly healthy relationship, getting your family slaughtered because of your cause isn’t going to get you many points on this list.

Dads out of 10: 5/10 dads


5. Big Daddy – Bioshock Series

Bioshock 2
Source: gameluster

Now this was a tricky one. I know some fans of the game would argue that the relationship the Big Daddy’s and the Little Sister’s share would be one of guardianship. Personally, though elements of a fathering nature do pop-up, what they have feels more like a symbiotic relationship of mutual interest rather than one of father and daughter. With that being said, I still think these behemoths are worth a mention on this list.

Dads out of 10: ?/10 dads


6. Michael De Santa – GTA 5


Michael is a pretty bad dad. Like John Marston, he is a man who made a living from being a criminal who got out for his family’s sake. However, he doesn’t have the same redeeming qualities as the cowboy. In the first half of the story, he is aggressive towards his wife and children, and only redeems himself in the third act of the story. Michael gets some points for mending his ways to get his family back in his life and his intentions are good, but he isn’t the best father figure, either.

Dads out of 10: 4/10 dads


7. Lord Harkon – Skyrim: Dawnguard

Remember this vampire lord from the Skyrim DLC? The one who locked up his daughter? The same daughter who makes it her mission to work against him? Yeah, when your own daughter works to bring you down, you got some issues as a dad. You’d think that living for centuries as a pureblood vampire would give you enough time to work on your parenting skills. I mean, we know you want to black out the sun so that vampires can walk out in any time of the day but attempting to bond with your daughter would do you some good, man.

Dads out of 10: 2/10 dads


8. Jack – Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 7
Source: Resident Evil Wiki

The Resident Evil games are very hit and miss, but the latest instalment has debatably restored the series to the glory it knew in its inception. Featuring dark tight corners, creepy monsters, and an interesting story, this horror game is a must-have. One aspect I and many other people enjoyed about the game is the Baker family, a psychopathic bunchof crazy characters living out in Louisiana.

And at the head of this family is Jack Baker, an unhinged tank of a man. Though it can be argued that he does provide for his family, he still is abusive, keeping his family restricted to their homestead and even chopping off his son’s hand at dinner. Definitely not the best dad on this list.

Dads out of 10: 3/10 dads


9. Heihachi Mishima – Tekken Series

Heihachi Mishima is not only one of the worst of the worst, he’s a pretty terrible dad. He abused his son Kazuya when he was young, and went as far as throwing his son off the side of a cliff, just to see if he can climb up. He is the series’ main antagonist and is responsible for the events of the game. Not only is one of the worst dads in this list, but a shit in general. The reason he gets such a low score is because, unlike the other dads in this list, he isn’t incompetent or tricked by some higher power: every decision he makes is his own.

Dads out of 10: 1/10 dads


10. Ghetsis – Pokemon Black and White

When the main central conflict involves an adoptive father and the son he is using for his own motivations, there’s clearly some daddy issues. The boss of team Plasma, Ghetsis starts off the game with a speech about how trainers are inherently evil and should give up their Pokémon to team plasma so that they can be released back into the wild. This is a cover-up to Ghetsis’ real plan, as he plans to collect all the Pokémon so he can be the only trainer left in the world, giving him the power to be a dictator. Goals aside, Ghetsis sucks as a dad. N was mostly raised by his adoptive sisters, while Ghetsis mentally manipulated his son for his own needs. Wanting a son just to further your own evil schemes? The worst.

Dads out of 10: 1/10 dads

The Best Dads in Video Games

Now that we’ve had a look at some of the worst dads, let’s take a look at the other side of the coin. The good, the loving, the nurturing. Here are my picks for the top 10 best dads in video games.


11. Octodad – Octodad

An anthropomorphic octopus dad. That’s all.

Dads out of 10: 10/10 dads


12. Joel – The Last of Us

The Last of Us movie

Ah, Joel. The badass Texan with a hard exterior and a heart of gold. After an outbreak of Cordyceps starts turning humans into zombie-like creatures, Joel tries to escape and, in the process, loses his only daughter Sarah in one of gaming’s most gut-wrenching openings, an experience that leaves gamers and Joel emotionally scarred. After twenty years pass, Joel is working as a smuggler and is hired to transport Ellie, a teenage girl who seems to be immune to the in-game virus. At first, Joel is cold and closed off to her, seeing her as nothing more than a job that demands to be completed as soon as possible. As the game progresses, Joel and Ellie’s relationship develop into one of guardianship, where Joel acts more like her father.

However, in the last mission of the game, Joel finds out the only way that a vaccine can be synthesized is for Ellie to die. Furious, Joel goes against the people who hired him, stealing Ellie away from them and lying to her when she asks what happened. Though Joel loses marks for his final decision, I understand it is because of the emotional connection he has to her and the relationship he and Ellie share is one of the best I have ever experienced in gaming. Pretty good dad!

Dads out of 10: 7/10 dads


13. Lee Everett – The Walking Dead Telltale Series

The Walking Dead season 1
Source: highdefdigest.com

The Walking Dead franchise has received a mixed reception, but it’s hard to deny that Telltale’s iteration is one of the best narratives the franchise has to offer. You follow the story of Lee Everett, a man who is just about to go to prison when the zombie outbreak happens. By chance, he is able to escape his situation and comes across a young girl called Clementine.

Over the course of five episodes, Lee acts as Clementine’s caretaker as they try to survive the apocalypse, with the hidden agenda of finding Clementine’s parents, who were somewhere in Savannah when all hell broke loose. During this story, Lee protects and teaches Clementine, all the way to showing her how to handle a gun to even styling her hair to be more practical. However, like many apocalypse stories, it ends in tragedy. Lee gets bitten, Clem finds her parents long infected, and the two are stuck in a room surrounded by zombies. Yet, even as he lays dying on the floor, Lee still persists for Clementine, showing her a safe escape route and telling her she’s ready to face the world alone in a touching scene. Overall, great dad!

Dads out of 10: 8/10 dads


14. Harry Mason – Silent Hill series

Harry Mason

Silent Hill is one of the biggest genre defining pieces of gaming for the survival horror genre, but at its most basic form, it’s just a simple tale of a father trying to save his daughter. After crashing his car into the town of Silent Hill and finding his daughter missing, Harry goes deeper into the town to look for her, only to find the town populated by all manner of monsters.

A man of weaker character would take this as an opportunity to tuck their tail between their legs and run. But not Harry. Though there are multiple endings to the game, I’m going to go with the canon, where Harry defeats the god that uses his daughter as a vessel and leaves Silent Hill with her safe. If fighting demons and monsters to get your only daughter back doesn’t make you a good dad, then I don’t know what will.

Dads out of 10: 8/10 dads


15. Chuck Greene – Dead Rising Series

Dead Rising 2

Good people deserve a dad like Chuck Greene. Prior to his appearance in Dead rising 2, Chuck Greene is an ex-motorcross champion and his only daughter Katey gets infected by her mother-turned-zombie. While weaker men would crumble in despair, this motivates Chuck to keep his daughter human at all costs, going to great lengths to find Zombrex, an anti-zombification drug, even going on a reality show killing zombies to get cash just to pay for the drug.

And when the arena Chuck is competing at gets caught in an outbreak, does that stop him? No. The canon ending shows Chuck and his daughter walking out from the game alive, and though something happens between them between Dead Rising 2 and 3, they reconcile their relationship. Great dad!

Dads out of 10: 8/10 dads


16. Kazuma Kiryu – Yakuza Series

Want to humanize a criminal? Make him a guardian. After she loses her mother in the first game, Haruka is taken under Kiryu’s wing as his adoptive daughter. Despite being a hardened badass who regularly beats his enemies to a pulp, he is loving and caring when it comes to raising Haruka. He loses some points in this scoring as the events of the games regularly put her in danger, but as a father? He is pretty good one.

Dads out of 10: 7/10 dads


17. Dad – Fallout 3

A lot of fathers on this list come from zombie apocalypse games, but this entry is of the nuclear variety. The Fallout games follow events around a devastated America and a society trying to rebuild itself. The third iteration is based in the area that was once DC. You start off in Vault 101, an underground bunker built with the purpose of safeguarding some of humanity from annihilation. Your character is raised by a single father, who teaches you and raises you. And then one day, he just disappears, causing you to follow him into the wasteland.

This father has your best intentions at heart. Later in the game, you find out that you actually were born in the wastes and that your father brought you here to keep you safe. However, his resulting departure initially puts you in danger, and for that he loses some marks. Taking that into account, this character is a loving father who eventually makes the ultimate sacrifice for you. Good dad.

Dads out of 10: 7/10 dads


18. John Marston – Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption 2

Sometimes being a good father means making sure the next generation don’t make the mistakes you did. Nowhere is that more obvious than with John Marston. Red Dead Redemption follows John’s quest for redemption after the US government hire him to hunt down members of the Van der Linde gang, a gang he used to run with, in exchange for his freedom. After securing his end of the bargain, he goes on to live a somewhat happy life with his family as a farmer, raising his son to be a better man than what he was. I say somewhat because it really doesn’t last that long.

The feds come to John’s ranch for a brutal gunfight, and he is able to hold them off, but not for long. Soon, John tells his son and wife to ride off, promising he’d catch up. Instead, he makes the ultimate sacrifice, letting himself be killed so his family can no longer be terrorized by the government. Though his son Jack ends up hunting down the man who killed his father, John Marston is deserving of a high position on this list.

Dads out of 10: 8/10 dads


19. Corvo Attano – Dishonored

Source: Polygon

Here is an interesting one. In the game Dishonored, you take the role of Corvo Attano, the Royal Lord Protector of the empress Jessamine Kaldwin – basically the highest level of royal guard in this game’s universe. However, everything quickly goes wrong as the empress gets murdered, her daughter Emily kidnapped, and Corvo all framed for this. The events of the game follow Corvo as he tries to redeem himself and find Emily.

Before the events of the game truly begin, however, you can see that Corvo and Emily share an amicable relationship, playing together and Corvo teaching her. Additionally, if you look a little bit into the game’s lore, Emily is actually Corvo and Jessamine’s child. The first game has three endings which vary depending on your play style, but the most likely to be canon is the low chaos ending, where Corvo rescues Emily and brings in a new golden age of prosperity to Dunwall. Good dad…depending on your play style.

Dads out of 10: 8(may vary)/10 dads


20. Asura – Asura’s Wrath

Though this character is best known for his unique look and his limitless rage, he also cherishes his wife Durga and daughter Mithra. The game’s events are set in motion when Asura is framed for an emperor’s murderer, and finds his wife killed and his daughter kidnapped for her powers. Giving the game its name, it sends our protagonist into a rage fuelled quest for revenge and a mission to save his daughter. However, the reason for Asura’s high score on this list is in the game’s final act.

After Chakravartin The Lord of Creation uses Asura’s daughter as a vessel to reveal his true form, Asura beats him into a pulp through sheer will ower. However, Mithra is freed and begs her father to stop fighting, saying that all mantra powered beings will cease to exist, Asura included. Despite this, Asura sacrifices himself to defeat Chakravartin so that his daughter no longer has to suffer. Taking on, defeating a god and sacrificing yourself so that your child is safe? Top dad!

Dads out of 10: 10/10 dads

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