Some were pretty horrible. Zeus spent quite a bit of time making Kratos' life a living hell in the God of War series. And then there's Dracula from Castlevania, whose own son sought to destroy him. And what about Resident Evil's Wesker? That dude was a real monster (literally). Chances are once again pretty good that the chapters devoted to his son in Resident Evil 6 will be devoted to hunting him down and wiping him from the face of the Earth. Unless Wesker is actually dead this time, which I have a hard time believing.
Dads can make decent villains. Then again, the guys can be pretty dang awesome heroes, too. Continue on, dear reader, as we take a look at some of my favorite dads in the world of video games.
John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)
Few characters in gaming history are more likable than the troubled, flawed hero of Red Dead Redemption, John Marston. Straddling the line of the law, everything Marston does throughout RDR (the good and the unspeakable) is so he can be reunited with his family. Once that happens, players are allowed the opportunity to take on the role of a father themselves, tackling several missions that have John teaching his son, Jack, how to hunt, wrangle and take care of the farm. John passes on some of his more unsavory skills, too, which will unfortunately serve Jack well in his adult life. My boy was just like me, indeed.
Harry Mason (Silent Hill)
For the record: If I ever wake up to find my child missing and my car crashed on the side of the road just outside the city limits of Silent Hill, I will be sadly bidding the ankle biter fare-freaking-well. But Harry Mason is a better man than I. Not even witnessing reality being torn apart around him as unspeakable nightmares crawl up from the darkness could dissuade him from searching for his lost child. He literally went to hell and back and battled the demons of his subconscious in order to rescue his daughter. If anyone deserves a Father's Day card, it's this guy.
Ethan Mars (Heavy Rain)
Throughout Heavy Rain, the player is constantly reminded just how far Ethan Mars is willing to go in order to rescue his son. He's simple, but kind. Haunted by the past, but also trying create a future worth living for his splintered family. One of four playable characters in Heavy Rain, Ethan is the easiest to relate to because he's the one who truly has something to lose. As the player, you desperately want him to succeed. The bitter-sweet brilliance of the game, though, is that that success is not guaranteed.
Mike Haggar (Final Fight)
Video games don't lack for mayors in need of a hero to rescue their daughter. Few of those mayors, though, are willing to tear off their shirt and hit the mean streets of Final Fight alongside those heroes, pile-driving any punk foolish enough to stand in their way. Mike Haggar is the kind of mayor who is willing to get his hands dirty in order to protect the ones he loves and if that means taking down the biggest crime syndicate in his humble city, well, so be it.
Big Daddy (BioShock)
Though technically not fathers (though I guess they could have been at one point) the Big Daddies of Bioshock do an excellent job of living up to their name. They escort Little Sisters around the crippled underwater city of Rapture, sometimes holding their hands, sometimes carrying them on their shoulders, as the young girls search for their beloved Adam. Big Daddy puts up with the Little Sister's antics and dutifully looks out for their wellbeing. They seem calm and docile at first but, get too close to a Little Sister or show too much aggression, and Big Daddy will introduce you to a form of unbridled rage both wonderful and terrible to behold.
Infinite Ammo is a weekly column by Ryan Winslett about video games, the industry that make them and the people who play them. He can be stalked via his blog at staticechoes.com and followed on Twitter @RyanWinslett.