Who’s Your Daddy (2013)… - subsaint Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Who’s Your Daddy (2013)…

It's been awhile since I've revisited any of my older blogs and re-posted them, but since today is Father's Day, I was considering posting something related to that, and remembered the one I posted from last year. So, I went and checked it out...and kind of liked it; thought it was worth sharing. Especially because of the last game I mention.

Anyway...to all the game dads out there, Happy Father's Day. Enjoy.

(Originally posted at Game Informer on this day back in 2012)

Today is a day notorious for ugly ties and breakfast in bed that consists of burnt toast and soggy cereal; it's a day where mom strong arms the kids into putting their video game controllers down long enough to storm the bedroom, wish dad a Happy Father's Day by jumping on him while he tries to sleep (and inevitably landing on his crotch) before quietly disappearing from the room and reemerging behind their video game with the stealth of an experienced ninja. This may or may not describe one of your personal experiences, either as the father, or the kid wishing dear old dad a Happy Father's day. Regardless, to all the dads out there, I hope you enjoy this day set aside to recognize your role in the child raising effort. Dads, we all had/have one, and whether you're close to yours or not (or even know yours or not), most of us have had some sort of fatherly influence in our life that's contributed to who we are.

You may recall (or not) that a few weeks ago for Mother's Day I published a piece titled, Recognizing The Unfair Role Mothers Have In Video Games, (read it here if you want) that discussed how mothers aren't very popular characters in video games, and when they are present, it usually doesn't end well for them. Fathers on the other hand, are a somewhat frequent and popular character type to use. Now, I suppose in theory I can just copy all the characters from that blog and instead of focusing on the mom's role, I could use the dad's...but where's the fun in that?

In that blog, I took a look at Max Payne, Red Dead Redemption, Gears of War, and Portal 2, so I won't be discussing those games. I did briefly mentioned Heavy Rain, which I will discuss further in this blog.

We've seen the story dozens of times where a father is pushed to his limits because of some injustice directed towards his child or children. In the 1989 novel A Time To Kill by the ever popular author John Grisham or the movie adaptation starring Samuel L. Jackson and Matthew McConaughey, we see a very angry father exact revenge on the two men who sexually assaulted his daughter

Just as popular is the plot line where the father's identity is originally unknown and throughout the course of the story the revelation is that defining jaw dropping moment of the story. If you know me well enough, then you know I'm referring to that epic moment in Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader reveals to Luke Skywalker that he is his father (although certainly not the only movie to have a surprise twist of that nature).

Darth Vader: Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.

Luke Skywalker: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!

Darth Vader: No. I am your father.

Luke Skywalker: No... that's not true! That's impossible!

Some of our video games have modeled similar stories and rely on the father figure as a premise for the overall story. Now, I'm not going to create a list of video game fathers as you can find plenty of those around the Internet. I'm simply going to share just a few games revolving around fathers that are memorable to me. I can't think of a game that focuses more on the father than Heavy Rain.

Ethan Mars is trying to save his son from being the next victim, while investigative journalist Madison Paige, FBI profiler Norman Jayden, and private detective Scott Shelby are each trying to track down clues to the Origami Killer's identity. The player interacts with the game by performing actions highlighted on screen related to motions on the controller, and in some cases, performing a series of quick time events during fast-paced action sequences.


Admittedly, I've only scratched the surface of the game but I will say the introduction to the game is perhaps one of the most powerful moments I've ever experienced from any game. For a father, it can be a truly moving experience. Without revealing too much, I'll only say imagine being in a mall and losing one of your kids and the frantic search that ensues, until you finally locate your missing child. Later in the game, you actually take on a more active fatherly role by directing your kid to brush their teeth, do their homework and go to bed. It's a harrowing experience. It might not sound like it, heh heh...but if / when you play the game, you'll see exactly what I mean.

(I'm going to reveal some info on Half Life and Splinter Cell, so read at your own risk)

Speaking of emotionally charged scenes involving dads and video games, an equally moving scene was the death of Dr. Eli Vance in Half Life 2 Episode 2. If you know your Half Life history, you'll recognize him as Alyx Vance's father, and an instrumental figure in the resistance movement against the Combine. He helps Gordon Freeman along the way and was also the first human being to make peaceful contact with the Vortigaunt species. Suffering the scars of battle, he wears a prosthetic to replace his left leg beneath the knee, which was lost when he was attacked by a Bullsquid while helping Dr. Isaac Kleiner climb over a wall into a Combine city. Interesting enough, this prosthetic makes reference to the "advanced knee replacement" Chell received in Portal. Eli Vance works at the White Forest base before being killed by a Combine Advisor. Many have admitted this scene moved them to tears, and while I don't recall actually shedding a tear over the moment, I do recall being emotionally moved as the whole scene transpired.

Another game that had a memorable impact on me was the Splinter Cell series.

You learn early on in the Splinter Cell series that Sam Fisher is a father. Even though this fact doesn't play a critical role in the story until later in the series, it's still a key bit of information as it reveals the depth of the character and reveals a very human and sensitive side of this special agent capable of killing with his bare hands...almost prefers killing with his bare hands.

In the first game of the series, it concludes with...

With the threat of a major war averted, the United States begins to recover from the crisis, with the President declaring that a new era of peace has emerged. The corpse of Nikoladze is recovered and sparks international backlash for the assassination, however, not known to the public is how it happened; but nonetheless, the President thanks everyone who did their part in ending the crisis and that America "will not forget their resolve". Fisher laughs at the thanks, watching it at home with his daughter Sarah, who doesn't know why he's laughing. Fisher then receives a secure phone call from Lambert about another assignment, obviously disappointing Sarah.


In Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent, we learn that Sam Fisher's daughter was killed. It's an interesting part of the story because it sort of just happens and then it's not really mentioned again. At first I thought it was just a cover up or a diversion, but by the end of the game you really have no other choice but to believe it.

Shortly after the events of Chaos Theory, Sam Fisher must deal with the recent loss of his daughter to a drunk driving accident. But he has little time to mourn, as he soon has to go on an undercover assignment which requires him to pose as a criminal in order to infiltrate a terrorist group based in the United States.

It's not until the latest game in the series we learn all is not what it seems (it never is when spies are involved). At this point in the game, everything has changed...Third Echelon where Sam Fisher is employed has changed...but more importantly we learn...

Lambert had found out that there was a mole in Third Echelon who planned to use Sarah as leverage against Sam. In order to protect both of them, he staged Sarah's death as a car accident and secured a similar looking body from Kobin, in order to allow Sam to do his job. Despite this, Lambert concludes that he wasn't able to locate the mole, and that his efforts may have been in vain.

If you've played the game, then no doubt you know the outcome. And if you haven't, well I'll just say that it plays out a lot like the A Time To Kill reference I made earlier, about a father exacting revenge on those who would harm his child. Of course Sam Fisher gets to do it in the line of duty and call it "work", but playing a video game as a father seeking justice on the bad guys, can be a truly emotional and powerful experience.

In closing, there is one more game I want to mention. It hasn't been released yet...it's on the horizon, but it looks to be every bit as powerful and emotionally charged. And while the entire story isn't quite known at this point, it does seem to have a fatherly feel to it.

The Last of Us begins in a Boston quarantine zone twenty years after a fungal plague decimated modern civilization. Ellie, a 14-year-old orphan, lives in a strict boarding house, and Joel, who is a black market dealer within the quarantine zone, sells weapons and drugs. An event occurs where Joel makes a promise to a dying friend that he will protect Ellie and help her escape.

All I have to say is, I hope nothing happens to Ellie...but my bigger fear is that something will happen to Joel. Some fathers will stop at nothing to provide for and protect their children - we've seen it in books, film, video games...and even real life. These are the kinds of fathers we pause to recognize on this day.

(SAINT: If you read my blog from last night, you know I'm playing The Last of US with my son, and how sad the game is. What a coincidence, last night I would post a blog about that game and then just so happen to retrieve this blog and it also mention it. Weird.)

"I hope I am remembered by my children as a good father." -Orson Scott Card

Take care, be blessed and have a Happy Father's Day.

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