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Top Ten Tuesday 17
My Top Ten Moms in
There are many top ten lists, but this one is mine. If you think a game is
missing here, I either didn't play it, didn't have any interest in it, or I
just hate you.
often an overlooked character in gaming. Typically they fill the role of the
villain or a seldom seen NPC. But every once in a while we get a well-written
and developed mother figure who's attitude and personality is shaped as much by
her own character as her love for her children. No one's foolish enough to mess
with the bear cubs when mama could be around.
In honor of
our annual celebration of all our underappreciated mothers, I present my Top
Ten Moms in video games.
major story SPOILERS below.
My Top Ten Moms
10) Lirum (Lost Odyssey)
character in a large RPG would normally not have much of an impact on my
experience, but Lirum's final moments and funeral at the end of Disc 1 is an
emotional powerhouse given a punch to the gut thanks to her two bright eyed
children. The kids Cooke and Mack become full-fledged party members and it's
through their attitude and resilience that we see Lirum's strength in raising
them all on her own. In her final moments she finally gets to meet her immortal
father again one last time (the protagonist Kaim) so we get a nice one-two
punch of father meeting estranged daughter again as she lay dying, and dying
mother saying final words to her two young children. EMOTIONS.
9) Samara (Mass Effect 2-3)
to include Samara on this list; while she is indeed a mother, and one of her
daughters factors in prominently in her character arc and quest line, I'm
conflicted on whether or not she's actually a good mom. That being said, it's
technically not a list of good moms, but my favorite moms and Samara's sad tale
of genetic defects and vampire-sex daughters is certainly memorable.
Samara is a
Matriarch, an Asari who's entered her final stage of life and is no longer
interested in having sex with all the alien races (those crazy Asari). That
makes her about 1000 years old, and pretty darn mature about the universe.
She's also a Justicar, a sort of Asari FBI agent that operates on a very strict
code of honor. On top of all that, she also carries an uncommon but terrifying
genetic defect which results in all her daughters being Ardat-Yakshi. The
condition causes anyone that mates with them to be killed and their essence
absorbed by the Ardat-Yakshi - essentially Sex-Vampires. Most choose a quiet
life of isolation and celibacy but one of Samara's daughters instead opts to
give in to her murderous powers of seduction and leaves a trail of death in her
wake, which Samara hunts for hundreds of years. During her quest line in Mass
Effect 2, Shepard can actually choose whether to side with the freedom seeking
Morinth, or the justice doling Samara. The fact that Samara can do what's right
against her own daughter is admirable, but maybe if she'd been a better mom,
she could've been 3 for 3 in none-murderous sex-vampire daughters.
8) Macha (Chrono Cross)
Macha is the
strong willed but loving mother of Korcha, whom is probably the more important
party member and character in Chrono Cross. She's a proud housewife and her
skills rather humorously reflect this with unique Tech skills called "Folding"
and "DirtyDishes," as well as using various kitchen utensils as weapons. She
only joins the player's party if the player makes a certain important story choice, and she's a surprisingly
powerful combatant. I find her a unique character in RPGs as she and the game
stresses how much of a normal housewife she is, but it's awesome that when her
family is threatened she can kick ass when she needs to.
7) Moxxi (Borderlands series)
"What can I do you for? Wait...
I'm not that kind of girl... Wait... Yes I am..."
last character you would consider a mom, Moxxi is equal parts dangerous and
seductive but incredibly clever and always well-spoken. Far from being a
high-class whore, Moxxi is simply always looking for love, and has been married
three times, had numerous affairs with the many crazy denizens of Pandora and
birthed a brood of children, only of which Scooter and Ellie are characterized.
Moxxi is also one of the kindest and most helpful NPCs in the Borderlands series,
provided you don't mess with her or her children.
6) Lara (Chrono Trigger)
admittedly minor character in an RPG, but nonetheless has a hugely impactful
scene. In a relatively quiet moment our time-traveling heroes are asleep at a
campsite in a forest, when a seemly random time portal opens up before
tech-nerd Lucca. Lucca goes through to find a horrifying scene from her
childhood - her mother geting caught in one of her father's machines and subsequently crippled by it while young child Lucca is unable to shut it off. Even
with the pixilated SNES era graphics the entire scene is one of the tensest
moments I have ever experienced in a game. Luckily, the time portal dropped
Lucca off a few moments before the event, and she has a chance to look up her
father's password to stop the machine (L-A-R-A, which the player must input
directly in the controller). Doing so results in the past being altered just
enough that she gets to effectively change the single worst moment of her life
for the better, and in the epilogue her mother is shown standing instead of in
a chair. Lara herself may not be a fully developed character, but I'm including
her on this list simply because of the emotional impact that scene has on me.
5) Your Mom (Pokémon Series)
leave home someday. It said so on TV."
official sixth generation of Pokémon games comes out this Fall, the formula
really hasn't changed all that much. That's not to say that lots of
improvements, additional content, expanded storytelling and tons and tons of
new Pokémon haven't perfected the series over each game, but many aspects -
like a young kid leaving home to become the best Pokémon trainer in the land -
are pretty much the same, and almost endearing now. One thing that's never
changed is that it's just you and your mom at home, and she famously utters
that quote in the original Pokémon game. Through subsequent entries her role as
expanded somewhat from calling you with updates on your progress, and she's
always there to fully heal your Pokémon should you ever find yourself in your
terrible three-house town away from everything ever again.
4) Terra Branford (Final Fantasy VI)
"Listen children, your 'mama' has to
go away for awhile. I'll return when I feel your future's guaranteed!"
Final Fantasy VI has no official single protagonist, the central character is
undoutedbly the half-human half-Esper Terra. Much of the storyline revolves
around the evil Empire's successful attempts to eradicate and weaponize the
peaceful magical race of Espers, and Terra eventually joins up with a
resistance group to stop the ones that stole her memory and raised her solely
for her destructive capabilities.
major, world altering cataclysm scatters are heroes around the newly formed
world, Terra discovers another passion besides the fighting that she's done all
her life - that of raising an entire village worth of children whose parents
have been killed. Terra's joyful discovery of a new emotion (love) and the
passion she has for her kids (who range from toddler to young adults) even
cause her to refuse to join the heroes on their quest to stop Kefka who
essentially rules the new world like an unchallenged god. It is only after she
discovers the very mothering instinct of protecting her children and securing
their futures does she agree to join the heroes for the greater good of
climax, magic, and thus the Espers, are essentially eradicated from the world,
but because Terra's love for her adopted children and her new life is so strong her
human side is able to survive, and live happily in her new role.
3) Selan (Lufia 2: Rise of the
Lufia 2 is a
gem of an SNES era JRPG that I touched on in my Top Ten SNES Games list.
Despite what formula would usually dictate, Selan is not the childhood friend
and instant romance option for the protagonist, Maxim (that role is filled by
Tia). Maxim meets Selan as the commander of the Parcelyte army, and she's
already a national hero in her country. After their climactic battle with one
of the four Sinistrals, Maxim and Selan get married and settle down in
Parcelyte to start a family. They're brought back into the real world when
their infant son is kidnapped and have to take up arms once again. Eventually
both fabled heroes sacrifice their own lives to defeat the Sinistrals ensure
the safety of their son. Selan is an extraordinarily well developed character
and it's exceedingly rare for a major party member in an RPG to actually become
a mother and continue to be a major party member in the same adventure.
2) Queen Valanice (King's Quest VII:
The Princeless Bride)
Valanice is the object of King Graham's desires in King's Quest II: Romancing
the Crown, she really doesn't come into her own until the seventh game. In the
opening moments of KQ7, she and her daughter Rosella are arguing over the
importance of marriage, with young Rosella acting as the typical rebellious
princess. Suddenly Rosella is drawn into a portal that leads to the fantasy
world of Eldritch, and Valanice quickly leaps after her. The two are separated
and much of KQ7's innovation stems from playing through certain levels as the
two different protagonists. While Valanice's royal snootiness shines through on
multiple occasions, her love for her daughter never wavers as she braves giant
scorpions, endless deserts, a nightmarish Halloween-town, and the wacky
anthropomorphic residents of Falderal. Throughout the epic journey Valanice
learns to respect her daughter's wishes as her daughter in turn ends up falling
in love with a Prince that she ends up rescuing.
1) Lucia (Suikoden 2-3)
comes to my favorite mamas, no one comes close to the badass Karayan Clan
Leader. She's first introduced about halfway through Suikoden II when she
appears as an assassin in the hero's bedroom. The hero only narrowly defeats
her, and she continues to support the hero's former friend (and now enemy and
leader of the resident Evil Empire) Jowy Atreides.
events leading up to Suikoden 3 she eventually settles down as Clan Leader of
Karaya and raises a son, Hugo. Hugo acts as one of the three primary
protagonists of the game, though Lucia continues to play a role in his life and
the events of Suikoden 3, to the point of helping the heroes unite the clans
and fight in the Second Fire Bringer War.
unique for an RPG character in that she's a villain in one game and a hero in
another, and like Macha from Chrono Cross being a mom hasn't slowed down her
combat prowess one bit as she's one of the stronger magic users in the game.
Unlike many of the mom's listed here, Lucia's mothering is much more tough love
than warmth. The Karayans are a proud and tribal people, and Lucia raises her
son to be strong and resourceful. Her love for her people and her son is never
questionable, however, and despite her son's frequent immaturity, she continues
to love and support him throughout the adventure.
decent list of moms proved difficult, as I feared. Quality female characters
are underrepresented in the gaming industry in general, a trend that is
hopefully beginning to shift. In a broader cultural sense, most motherly
figures tend to be villains, like the evil stepmom, and older women in general
tend to be villainous witches or sorceresses. Even positive moms are usually
regulated to background roles or vague spiritual detachment, like Mother Earth.
certainly not all bad for moms and there are several good examples of quality
characters that are mothers in a literal or figurative sense. It should come as
no surprise that most of the moms on my list come from Japanese Role Playing
Games, as they typically include the breadth of story and characters to include
well written and memorable mother figures.
So give your
mommas an extra hug this week, and remember to thank them again for getting you
your first gaming system all those years ago. Thanks mom!