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04-22-2018

Silent Hill Homecoming

The past week in games has been all about strong, imposing men getting in touch with their softer side and nurturing their young – well, and cardboard boxes. Both Kiryu Kazuma in Yakuza 6 and Kratos in God of War may not quite be rocking the dad bod, with milk stains and baby sick down their ratty old t-shirt and heavy bags under their eyes, but they do learn a thing or two about how tough life as a father is. Overall, the impression I've gleaned from promo material for both games – I own neither, since I'm drowning in my backlog as it is – is that the protagonists fall into the massive pile of flawed father figures who are interesting to study but can hardly be reviled. Even if Kratos was an absolute bastard in God of War III.

However, some in-game portrayals of the parent-child relationship (note: I am not limiting myself to biological kin here) are so black-and-white appalling that it's safe to label the dad as a complete failure. Games are not short on blokes who commit felonies against their offspring and violate all paternal moral codes on a regular basis. Frankly, the average video game dad at least tries to look after their youngsters, and that's a damn sight better than what this scum bucket collectively musters when it comes to their kids.

So, who are these terrible fathers? I can think of five who are on my blacklist, and none of them have a shred of decency about them. Except the last entry, who in retrospect is nowhere near as bad as the others. Come on, dudes, it's Sunday – I had to find some space for a little bit of light relief in an otherwise sickening list.

Warning: as well as containing heavy spoilers for a number of games, this list includes a game that addresses child abuse and suicide. If this is likely to cause you distress, please stop reading here.

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