What do you like to do with your father? Maybe you like to hang out and go hunting or fishing? Maybe you like to survive the zombie apocalypse together? Or maybe your dad is teaching you the ways of the world so you can set off on a dangerous journey that will change your life? These are all things gaming dads have done and continue to do, and we love them for it.
With Father's Day in our rearview mirror, take a moment to appreciate your own father, and then settle in to read over our picks for five awesome dads in video games.
Rost, Horizon Zero Dawn
Rost, an outcast member from the Nora tribe in Horizon Zero Dawn, was entrusted with caring for Aloy as if she were his own, becoming her caring adoptive father. He's the only parent she's ever really known, and one that makes sure she never wants for anything, except acceptance by the rest of her tribe. He does everything he can to get her trained to be a hunter and part of the Proving ceremony so she can do just that. He raises Aloy to be a strong, caring, and wise young woman, and even bucks special Nora traditions so she can be happy, giving her years of dedication and training to make sure she can stand on her own, watching over her until he meets an unfortunate end. We'll always remember you, Rost!
Joel, The Last of Us
Technically, just like another father figure on this list, Joel isn't a father to The Last of Us's Ellie by blood, but he did have a daughter of his own before named Sarah, who he lost in the cordyceps brain infection outbreak. He's the closest thing to a dad Ellie has in the nightmarish new world, and the two end up forming a very close bond. Joel is protective of Ellie at every turn, even referring to her as "baby girl," the very same term of endearment he used with his daughter Sarah. If you've never played The Last of Us, get some tissues together and watch a real father-daughter relationship unfold, because this is as close as it gets. Just be prepared for a few nights of soul-searching, loneliness, and tears. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Lee, The Walking Dead
Lee Everett, main protagonist of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead series, plays a father figure to one of the most adorable little girls in gaming: Clementine. Taking little Clem under his wing on his trip through the stark zombie apocalypse, he's got a dark past of his own, but that doesn't dampen how much he cares for his little fighter. Lee teaches Clementine how to defend herself against the undead as well as anyone who might hurt her, living or otherwise, and makes it his business to always keep her safe and cared for, no matter what. When the time comes to make a difficult choice for Lee, Clementine makes it, but not before thinking back on all the things she learned from Lee and everything he did for her, reminding us of just how selfless Lee really became despite his past transgressions.
Harry Mason, Silent Hill
Would you dive headfirst into a bizarre, unknown world filled with horrors to find your daughter? That's exactly what Silent Hill protagonist Harry Mason does, risking his life to recover his missing daughter Cheryl in this twisted town. He's a doting father, concerned for her safety and courageous until the end. Infiltrating a nightmare world to bring his daughter to safety? That's nothing for Harry. He's not going to let anything happen to her, and we've gotta give him props for that. Have you seen Silent Hill? Pyramid Head's in there, man.
Kratos, God of War (2018)
Now, if it were any other year, we wouldn't have nominated Kratos for any "best father" list, period. But 2018 brought a whole new Ghost of Sparta into the fold, and we met a Kratos that we'd never seen before. Somehow, the old God of War got kinder and a little more softhearted over the years, and began to love and appreciate his son Atreus, going to great lengths to keep the boy from harm and to make sure he knows how to protect himself if need be. Like any father and son, the two have their differences, especially when it comes to an important aspect of Atreus's heritage, but watching them grow together is a real treat. Kratos may look scary and tough, and he's a little quiet and irritable sometimes, but we now know he's actually an amazing dad.