Video game parents are godawful, and this seems to be the case 11 out of 10 times. Even the good ones are terrible. So let’s take a look at some terrible video game parents, then see if we can figure out why this is so common.
EXHIBIT A – Heihachi Mishima (Tekken)
Most of the Mishima men, except for Jinpachi, are extremely angry human beings. They are constantly trying and failing to kill each other, which is the closest they come to showing love. Male bonding?
Kazuya won’t be winning any medals for parenting either, but Heihachi takes the cake for being an awful son, father, AND grandfather. Who locks their own father underground to starve to death and throws their only child down a ravine? Heihachi does! And when the ravine isn’t deep enough, use a volcano! Brilliant. Heihachi is just full of great parenting tips.
EXHIBIT B – Flemeth (Dragon Age)
First, let’s take a minute to admire Flemeth, looking like a regal slice of albino Maleficent. Good? Good. Now let’s talk about the fact that she goes out and has herself a daughter any time she’s in need of a younger body. There’s nothing vicarious about it – Flemeth literally has children so that their bodies may act as extra vessels for her soul.
I suppose immortality is the only thing an immensely powerful witch of legend, who is already capable of turning into a dragon, could possibly want. To be honest, bodily possession seems like the best outcome of her parenting, considering what she’s capable of. I’d rather give up the goods than get eaten by a dragon.
EXHIBIT C – Zachary Hale Comstock (BioShock Infinite)
Rapunzel, Rapunzel! …Oh, is she not home, Mother Gothel?
*MAJOR SPOILERS INCOMING*
That’s fine! I’ll just kidnap other me’s daughter and lock her up in a high tower! What could possibly go wrong, besides everything? I honestly have no idea why this man thought it was a okay to kidnap his own child, lock her up like an interdimensional slave, and almost cause her to develop Stockholm syndrome for a giant metal bird. Then he put a hit out on his wife.
What an inspiration. Such holy. Very patriot. In Father Comstock we trust.
EXHIBIT D – Delia Ketchum (Pokémon)
Don’t let that seemingly loving stare fool you. She wants him gone.
This one may be rather unexpected, but I’m using Delia as an example for every parent in every Pokémon game ever. No, she doesn’t ever display abusive behavior toward her son. In fact, she’s remarkably supportive of all that he does. My question is why on Earth this child doesn’t have a curfew. He is ten years old. Pokémon master? Go master your multiplication tables!
I didn’t even have real friends at his age, let alone a rival who needed to get got and a recurring affiliation with a criminal organization. Not to mention the amount of times he has taken matters into his own hands and BLOWN UP Team Rocket, making him a vigilante and possibly a sociopath. Heaven forbid Delia give her child a bedtime and save him from becoming the Batman.
EXHIBIT E…VERYBODY ELSE!
The list is endless. Cervantes de León’s first interaction with his biological daughter is him trying to consume her soul. Kratos Aurion assists his son’s best friend in becoming a hollow shell, because that’s a great way to socialize your children. Tharja hexes both her daughter and husband for kicks, because who better to physically, mentally, and emotionally torture than the ones you love?
Okay, so they’re awful. But why?
Well, if we look beyond the morbidly comical notion of throwing your child into a volcano, every good coming-of-age story requires internal struggle. Innocence and ignorance are innate traits of the youthful adventurer, and good parents offer the wisdom their children don’t yet have. Parents set the expectations. So, when they have piss poor expectations, the young soul is left to fend for itself on the path of self-discovery. Everyone can relate to searching for one’s self, so these stories resonate with us all on some level.
Of course parents refusing to “properly” parent their children is a controversial topic, but history has proven that controversy leads to captivation. All of the series I’ve mentioned above have thriving fanbases. Besides, tragic and epic go hand in hand. There wouldn’t be heroes if there was nothing to defend, and nothing worth defending is invincible.