As the gaming industry has evolved, video games have started to tell more relatable stories, often focusing on fatherhood. While the trend of “dad games” may overshadow stories about moms, there are still exceptional examples of games that explore the nuances of being a father. These video game dads offer insight, humor, and meaningful reflections on what it means to be a good dad. Here are ten of the best video game dads who deserve recognition for their parenting skills.

Barret Wallace (Final Fantasy 7):
Barret may seem gruff on the outside, but his relationship with his adopted daughter, Marlene, reveals a deep and sensitive side. His quest to save the planet for the next generation resonates with modern parents’ concerns about the environment.

Bayek (Assassin’s Creed Origins):
Bayek’s tragic story after the death of his son showcases the lengths a father will go to seek justice and create a legacy. His journey through grief and vengeance sheds light on the complexities of fatherhood.

Bowser (Super Mario Series):
Despite his villainous tendencies, Bowser’s portrayal as a single dad trying his best to co-parent with Princess Peach adds depth to his character. His love for his son, Bowser Jr., humanizes the iconic antagonist.

Dr. Light (Mega Man Series):
While not a biological father, Dr. Light’s role as a surrogate father to robots Rock and Roll highlights the theme of family and legacy in the Mega Man series. His desire for a peaceful world reflects the aspirations of many parents.

Joel Miller (The Last of Us series):
Joel’s complex decisions to protect his surrogate daughter, Ellie, in a post-apocalyptic world challenge traditional notions of fatherhood. His flawed yet loving character underscores the sacrifices parents make for their children.

John Marston (Red Dead Redemption):
John’s journey to leave a life of crime behind and protect his family showcases the resilience and sacrifices of a father. His tragic fate serves as a cautionary tale about the cycle of violence and redemption.

Kazuma Kiryu (Yakuza / Like a Dragon series):
Kiryu’s role as a father figure and caretaker of orphans in the Yakuza series highlights his commitment to protecting children. His dedication to creating a safe environment for kids adds depth to his character.

Kratos (God of War series):
Kratos’ transformation from a vengeful god to a caring father in the God of War series challenges his violent past. His efforts to raise his son, Atreus, in a peaceful manner showcase his growth and redemption.

Lee Everett (Telltale’s The Walking Dead):
Lee’s mentorship of orphaned girl Clementine in The Walking Dead series explores themes of survival and family bonds. His poignant advice to Clementine underscores the importance of passing down wisdom in challenging times.

Norman Osborn (Marvel’s Spider-Man series):
Osborn’s portrayal as a grieving father in the Marvel’s Spider-Man series adds nuance to his character beyond his villainous persona. His fear of losing his son, Harry, humanizes the classic antagonist.

Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell series):
Sam’s dedication to protecting his daughter, Sarah, showcases his fierce loyalty and love as a father. His willingness to go to great lengths to ensure his daughter’s safety highlights the sacrifices parents make for their children.

Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher series):
Geralt’s bond with Ciri, despite not being her biological father, illustrates the depth of his love and commitment. His role as a mentor and protector to Ciri showcases the enduring father-daughter bond they share.

These video game dads offer a diverse portrayal of fatherhood, challenging stereotypes and showcasing the complexities of parenting in unique and compelling ways. As we celebrate Father’s Day, let’s recognize and appreciate the impact these characters have had on storytelling in video games.