With all the hardened soldiers, fantasy world saviors, and ace starship pilots across gaming, you might not expect "moms" to be a big character category, but you'd be wrong on that front.
There's hundreds of memorable mother characters across every genre of gaming, from loving and nurturing caregivers... to homicidal maniacs intending to eradicate their own offspring.
In honor of the impending Mother's Day celebrations, we're going to count down the best and worst moms of gaming, and even look at a few that blend those two extremes.
Totally The Best Mother: Mrs. Chu
This totally badass mom from Sleeping Dogs works hard to help her son in everything he does – including becoming a better criminal! When her son is killed, she tortures people with her meat cleaver to find out who was responsible.
When the real perpetrator is brought to her, she makes the murderer eat human meat and then viciously dismembers him. Now that's dedication to your kid's memory! How many kids can really say their mom would go that far to avenge their deaths?
Somehow The Best AND Worst: Alma
Whether Alma is an amazing mom or a terrible one is definitely up for debate. She's not happy that her children have been taken from her, and goes on a murderous revenge rampage against those who took them – although she goes more than a little overboard on that front.
She just wants her boys to get along, even if that means they have to become proficient killers together, and she's so enamored with being a mother that she rapes Becket at the end of F.E.AR. 2 to become pregnant again.
Totally Up In The Air: Chrono's Mom
There are a couple of contenders on the mom front to be found in the hallowed RPG classic Chrono Trigger, from Lucca's disabled mother to the diabolical mother brain boss fought in the far future.
Chrono's unnamed mother is easily the most iconic, however, with her “Good morning Chrono!” line forever etched into the memories of kids who grew up in the '90s.
Despite giving her kid the only bed in the house and watching his cat while he goes on extended adventures, she's actually pretty inattentive, not seeming to realize or care when he's gone for months at a time. She does manage to finally ask about his whereabouts once... after he's been killed by Lavos.
In one ending, she foolishly chases a cat into a time portal that will never re-open, at which point Chrono strikes his victory pose, apparently happy with the turn of events.
Pretty Awful But Sorta Redeems Herself: Queen Brahne
Definitely giving a run for her money on the “most horrifyingly obese mother” front, Queen Brahne from Final Fantasy IX was once kind and benevolent but was turned wicked and greedy after the death of her husband. She's pretty much every wicked stepmother ever, but taken to an even higher degree.
Nearly everyone hates her by the time she finally gets her comeuppance, having conquered a huge swathe of the world, turning on anyone who aided her, and even trying to kill her own adopted daughter, Garnet.
In her dying moments, she does admit all her wrongdoing and seeks forgiveness. Too little, too late?
A Thousand Lifetimes And Never Learned Parenting Skills: Sarah Sisulart
Both of the immortal moms in Lost Odyssey aren't going to be contenders for any “mother of the year” awards. Seth turns her son onto the criminal path, raising him as a pirate, and then abandons him for years (decades? It's not clear). The fact that he calls her “Maaaaaaamaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” as a middle-aged man is also of concern...
Sarah sort of takes the cake though. Thinking (erroneously) that her daughter has died, she becomes an evil witch haunting a mansion and kills anyone who comes inside – even attacking her own husband! Since she's immortal, the death of her child during her lifetime was a foregone conclusion and would have happened down the line anyway, so this was always going to happen.
After being talked down from psycho witch mode, she goes on incredibly dangerous adventures... with her two underage grandchildren. That's just bad parenting all around. I shutter to think of how nuts she'll go when they eventually die.
Not Around Enough To Be Awful: Jimmy's Mom
Not only does this parental figure from Bully commit crimes against fashion, but she's not a great mother either. On the up side, she's as distant and uncaring as they come. Normally that would be a bad thing, but when you consider some of the other mothers on this list, essentially staying out of Jimmy's life isn't nearly the worst thing that could have happened.
Living Through Your Children: Flemeth
If you want to be a powerful apostate witch who can shapeshift and sling spells, then Flemeth is a great mom... until you reach a certain age. Turns out Flemeth is so exceedingly long-lived because she keeps overtaking the bodies of her daughters to start life anew. Still, up till the whole “killing you” part, it seems like she'd be a useful mom to have.
Deadbeat mom: YOU
It absolutely doesn't matter how hard you try, you're going to end up a deadbeat parent in any Fable game. All that adventuring and real estate buying will always have you leaving your spouse and kid at home, wishing you'd come around more often.
Divorce seems inevitable, unless you really put in a lot of time at the dinner table. Fable 3 in particular lets you be pretty terrible on the parenthood front... by allowing devastating child labor to continue to run rampant in your home city.
Since the Fable series lets you keep marrying and having more children as often as you'd like (in fact, some achievements require you to be polygamous or kill previous spouses!), you can end up with a ridiculous number of children, as seen below.
Dahlia Gillespie Silent Hill
A fanatical cultist, Dahlia is more concerned with what her daughter Alessa can offer their religion than with her daughter's actual well-being.
She tries to use Alessa as an incubator to birth an evil god, and when Alessa is terribly burned, Dahlia keeps her alive despite the extreme pain - not out of love, but out of a desire to keep her mad plot going.
Fortunately, the tables are turned at the end of the first Silent Hill. Of course, in the movie adaptation, Dahlia is a much more sympathetic character rather than an outright villain.
The Absolute Worst Mom Of Gaming: The Mom From Binding Of Isaac
Somehow even more visually terrifying than Alma and Queen Brahne put together, Isaac's mom is the epitome of bad motherhood. Much like Abraham, this parent hears god's voice telling her to kill her child... and she listens to it.
Whether by stabbing, stomping, or crushing, she's hell-bent on ending her own offspring in a very unpleasant way. Even if he lives, Isaac will forever have those fleshy leg-folds branded into his memory!
These were only 10 of the absolutely astounding number of gaming mothers, and there's plenty more we could have looked at that deserved to be nominated for "best," "worst," or even "most insane."
What did you think of our picks, and who would you choose for the best and worst moms in gaming?