Best gaming dads
1. Kratos (God of War (2018))
It's not easy to be a somewhat positive example of masculinity while playing a character who literally rips his foes apart with his bare hands, yet God of War does just that with Kratos. This old, grizzled veteran is clearly out of his depth raising a child, initially barking orders the way he would to a soldier (he's more the Dad of Boy, not Atreus). Slowly, he learns. He softens and learns to restrains himself, showing hints of compassion. He embraces Atreus and holds up his son to embrace his nature as a god while not losing touch with his humanity. The two work and fight side by side, their movements and interactions becoming more natural together as they grow together. In doing so, one of gaming's most violent, hateful, revenge-driven protagonists is redefined and becomes one of the best dads we've seen. -Samuel Tolbert
2. Lee (Telltale's The Walking Dead)
He may not have been Clementine's biological father, but Lee, the star of the first season of Telltale's The Walking Dead, is the closest to a real dad the series ever gets. He supports her and protects her from the horrible world, but doesn't keep her sheltered. He attempts to keep the whole group together despite inner conflict, thereby being a dad to everybody involved. Even when Kenny, another member of the group, loses his son, he attempts to be there as a confidant. Most importantly, Lee is the best parent because he does the unthinkable and makes the ultimate sacrifice. By succumbing to the zombie infection, he teaches Clementine and the player a valuable lesson about connections, something that The Walking Dead often struggles with. It's a loss we still feel to this day. -Carli Velocci
3. Joel (The Last of Us)
Parents in video games aren't usually front and center, but one of the few games that gave us a great gaming dead (albeit a traumatized, adoptive one) is The Last of Us. Joel doesn't want to take Ellie on her journey to the Fireflies initially, but over time as they bond, he becomes super protective of her, going so far as to essentially sacrifice the hope of humanity's return to normalcy for her life.
While it's clear Joel has serious issues stemming from the loss of his daughter during the early days of the outbreak, you watch as he comes to love Ellie for Ellie and not his lost Sara. It all comes to a head when the Fireflies try to kill her and think he'll let them get away with it, hope for the future or not. One of the most heart-wrenching moments is Joel's murmuring to her unconscious form, and the lie he tells her to protect her from what he's done. This is a man who is willing to sacrifice anything and everyone to protect his girl, and if that's not great dad material, I'm not sure what is. -Jen Karner
4. Corvo Attano (Dishonored 2)
Corvo's idea of "take your daughter to work day" is essentially teaching her how to be a spy. The assassin skills are just a bonus. His entire arc in the first game revolves around saving his daughter from the clutches of those who would harm her, and he goes to hell and back to do so. His love is unquestionable, and beneath his gruff exterior is a sweet and caring father who only wants the best for his daughter, who also just so happens to be the Empress of the nation. -Jennifer Locke
5. Big Daddy (BioShock series)
What constitutes a Big Daddy for the purposes of this list? Is it the faceless monsters that stomp around in the first Bioshock, protecting Little Sisters from you potentially harvesting them? Is it the Big Daddy at the center of Bioshock 2, who not only gets put into the suit but then fulfills a larger purpose for one special Little Sister? Whichever Big Daddy works for you is the one that goes here. Whether you're terrified of them or grow to be sympathetic to their plight, one thing is certain: they'll do anything to protect their children. -Carli Velocci
6. Geralt (The Witcher series)
Geralt isn't physically Ciri's father but he might as well have been. Drawing on the background from the books, their relationship is finally realized in-game as Geralt undertakes his biggest contract ever, to find the young princess and bring her back. As adoptive father and daughter, the best ending for Ciri isn't achieved by telling her what to do but to let her simply be herself. Don't restrain her power, embrace it. Geralt is a far better father to her than her flesh-and-blood dad ever was and even gets to pass on the legacy of being a Witcher if certain choices are made. -Samuel Tolbert
7. Octodad (Octodad)
He's an octopus. He's a dad. He's Octodad! He also happens to be hiding the fact that he isn't a real person, and is merely a wolf in sheep's clothing -er, octopus in human clothing. All he wants to do is live a quiet, mundane, happy life with his family, going so far as to expose his true nature to save them, despite knowing it could cost him their love and trust. He's a dad through and through. Here's to you, Octodad, the best octopus there is. -Jennifer Locke
8. Bayek (Assassin's Creed Origins)
Bayek's fatherhood is unbearably tragic, but the lengths he will go to for revenge in Assassin's Creed Origins show how deeply he loved his son. The entirety of the game — and the events that formed the Assassin Order — can be linked back to one moment between Bayek and his son that forever changed the course of history in the game's world. Despite the tragedies that life has thrown at his, Bayek has a heart of gold and only wants to help others. -Jennifer Locke
9. John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)
Okay, yes. John Marston is an outlaw and member of an infamous gang, but that doesn't make him a bad father. Immortal, perhaps, but he loves his family. He renounces his old way of life and wants to make amends for his actions. In doing so, he even tracks down and kills the members of his former gang, men he had called friends, all to protect his family. That love is never more apparent than at the end of Red Dead Redemption, where he makes a one-man stand against federal soldiers, knowing he wouldn't make it out alive so his family could escape. -Jennifer Locke
10. Greg Universe (Steven Universe games)
Imagine falling in love with a giant woman who is actually the light projection of a sentient rock from another planet, and then being told your physical intimacy with that sentient rock has caused it to turn into a magical child with a sentient rock for a belly button and that your space wife is now dead.
Greg Universe has seen some shit, OK? But he never stopped being the most supportive father he knew how to be. He's so supportive and encouraging that it literally became his power in the Steven Universe games, using his bitchin' guitar to make everyone else on the team more powerful. The world needs more people like Greg Universe. Also, play the Steven Universe games and watch the show. They're both amazing. -Russell Holly
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