It’s happened to all of us: you’re at home, playing the hottest videogames of 2016, and then you think to yourself, “What if that guy was my dad?” Well, you don’t have to fantasize all by yourself anymore! To celebrate Father’s Day, we imagined what it would be like if some of the daddiest videogame characters of 2016 were YOUR daddy. To determine who the #1 videogame dad of 2016 is, we broke down their paternal strengths and weaknesses into pros and cons and ranked their parenting potential using the revolutionary Final Dad Rating, or FDR. This is the definitive videogame dad ranking of 2016.
Unfortunately, witchers are sterile, so you can’t inherit that flowing white mane or those piercing yellow eyes. You’ll also be forced to complete daunting training which will probably kill you. If you can get past all that, Geralt’s a pretty good dad! He has experience, since he raised Ciri, and he’s good at dispensing moral wisdom in that raspy chain-smoker voice of his. He even makes the right jokes! On the other hand, you have to contend with a pretty fierce sibling rivalry—your sister is the empress-to-be AND the chosen one, after all. You also get stuck lugging all your dad’s crap around while he looks for just one more cherry cordial so he can finally make this sweet potion he’s wanted forever. Geralt also loses out here a little bit because of the frosty relationship you have with Yennefer. Could it be she’s jealous? No, that’s probably just how she is.
Pros: Free job training, great networking opportunities, see the world, always have someone to play Gwent with.
Cons: Hellish training, constant danger, you’d almost certainly wind up walking in on a sex act at some point, maybe one involving unlikely props.
FDR: 8/10, most unconditionally supportive dad
As befits a thief, Nate gets to cheat a little here, because if he’s your dad, it means Elena is (probably?) your mom. Elena is obviously the coolest mom ever, which nets him some free points. You also get to hang around ol’ Uncle Sully, who has plenty of excellent stories to embarrass your dad with. The case for Nate himself is a bit more complicated, however. We know he’s a fun parent; every day feels like an adventure, and you have the best vacations. You can’t help but feel like there’s something your dad isn’t telling you, though. What’s all that stuff up in the attic? Why is he so vague about what he used to do for work? Why couldn’t he chaperone your school trip to Nepal? Why is he so afraid of clowns? Nate’s potential as dad is tied directly to how capable he’ll be of setting aside his adventuring lifestyle and settling down to enjoy something approximating a normal life. Whether he’ll be able to do this, of course, remains to be seen…
Pros: Life of adventure, everything always turns out alright, endless supply of jeans, get really good at quipping.
Cons: Mysterious past, reckless parenting, cringe-worthy jokes, the constant fear that what you’re standing on is about to collapse.
FDR: 6-9/10, most surprisingly neurotic parent (Elena is the cool one)
Your dad Soldier: 76 was recently and quite unexpectedly laid off at the job he cared about more than anything. A classic workaholic, he has decided you are the new job he’s devoting himself to. Soldier: 76 is a well-rounded dad, perfectly set-up to handle any parental challenge. Whatever your objective, he’ll be there constantly to back you up and provide his adorably gruff encouragement. While this is great for building treehouses or coaching your T-ball team, it’ll become a problem in your teen years. Soldier: 76 is a bit of a dad-traditionalist, and he isn’t so sure about some of these friends you’ve made. Expect lots of angry conversations and groundings, and good luck sneaking your significant other up to your room for a little private time: this is one dad who will always have you in his sights.
Pros: Dependable, consistent, always on your side, discounts at Perkins Family Restaurants.
Cons: Too controlling, terrible fashion sense, a little tough to talk to, you really don’t need another attack character in this team right now.
FDR: 7.6/10, most easily embarrassed dad
The problem with being Henry’s kid is you always feel like you’re just another part of a story all about him. After your mom got sick, you felt him drifting away from you right when you needed him the most (obviously you’re entering adolescence). One day, he suddenly moved you from your very cool home in Boulder, Colorado, probably right before the big dance you were sure your crush was going to ask you to. When you asked him why he was doing this to you, he just said vague things like “it’s only one summer,” “I just thought it’d be nice to get away.” He acts like he’s bringing you out to Shoshone to bond with you, but you suspect he was just being selfish again. As the summer wore on, your relationship with him worsens until finally at the height of a wildfire the two of you have a particularly bad fight and you run away. Your dad would lose track of you and have to brave the dangerous fire to look for you, and then…
Pros: Good conversationalist, great taste in music, lets you be independent, always reachable by walkie-talkie.
Cons: Distracted, prone to selfishness, emotionally immature, conspiratorial, voice gets kind of annoying.
FDR: 7/10, most likely to star in a dramatic coming-of-age story dad
When you first meet your dad, after years of estrangement, Ryu is pretty intimidating. He’s very intense and brooding, and says vague and slightly ominous things like “the answer lies in the heart of battle.” However, after the initial awkwardness of meeting, it becomes apparent that your dad is useless at just about everything but fighting. After trying his food, you’ve decided you’ll be in charge of cooking. After seeing how he tries to take care of himself after a scrape, you’ve taken over nursing duties, as well. It’s a lot of work and you often feel like you are the parent in your relationship, but Ryu never loses his temper with you and always offers sage advice whenever you need it. You’ll also get to see the world and meet lots of interesting people. Just stay away from Ken. Guy’s a bad influence.
Pros: Patient and understanding, provides free martial arts training, world warrior, you’d learn a lot of skills.
Cons: Bad at everything except fighting, obsessed with fighting, can be moody, constant struggle with the Satsui No Hado that plagues your family, not a lot of money.
FDR: 6/10, most introspective dad
You don’t see your dad, Mr. Kruger (which is what you call him) very often. He’s always at work or out of town on some business that you are sometimes told about but don’t pay attention to. You mostly hang around your lavish suite in the heart of Glass City, with unlimited resources and no responsibilities. Tabloids chronicle your posse’s exploits and the ostentatious parties you constantly throw. After years of decadence, however, you’ve started to feel hollow. All your father’s money and power can’t buy you happiness anymore. In your boredom you’ve started poking around in some of “Mr. Kruger’s” private files, and you’ve stumbled upon a whole hidden world you knew nothing about. Since then, mysterious people have started asking you questions, and you always feel like you are being watched. Yesterday, an assassin wearing a $5000 dollar suit attacked you in broad daylight, and a young woman with a bad attitude narrowly saved your life. Now you have a choice to make…
Pros: Not demanding, unlimited resources, ambitious, rich beyond your wildest dreams, good hair.
Cons: Dystopian Mega-Corp dictator, Machiavellian and ruthless, withholding of affection, no beard, aren’t these cyberpunk clichés a little worn out by now?
FDR: 2/10, most Ubisoft dad
Your dad is great. He works hard, never gets tired, and overcomes any challenge, no matter the odds. But the one thing your dad fears, more than all the monsters of the underworld, is opening up about his feelings. Getting your dad to just stop running around for five seconds and talk to you is next to impossible. You don’t even know his real name! Sure, he’ll always be around to prevent the apocalypse, but maybe you and Jessie just broke up and you’re really having a hard time lately. And when you back him into a corner to confront him about his avoidant behavior, he’ll go off with the temper of a demon! Sometimes it’s hard to see him as anything but a Big Father Gun. He means well, but you really think your relationship would improve if he would just turn down the pumping music, put down the super shotgun, and tell you about his day. You love him, but he sure can make your life hell.
Pros: Confident, tireless, tenacious, never gives up, one of the world’s most preeminent scholars of the history and theory of early 19th century German Idealism.
Cons: Emotionally closed off, anger issues, difficult to be with in public, tends to leave a bloody path of carnage and destruction in his wake.
FDR: 5.5/10, most old-school dad
Jonathan Blow is an auteur, and what is an auteur if not the main character in the ongoing art of their own creation, man? Ipso facto, Jonathan Blow is the main (and only) character in The Witness. Ipso-ipso facto, Jonathan Blow is your dad. Unfortunately, he is probably a fairly frustrating one. Talking to him can feel like solving a puzzle where you don’t know the rules, and even if you get something cogent out of him, it’ll usually be something that, at first glance, seems kind of trite and condescending. You’ll be looking at your phone on the couch and he’ll walk out of the “study” (his term) where he’s spent the last 36 hours, look at you for a long time, and say “The greatest cause of unhappiness is being where you are, and wishing you were elsewhere.” Then, he’ll go to the fridge, grab a six-pack of Mountain Dew, dump something out of a jug he carries with him at all times into the kitchen sink, and return to his study. Years later, when you’re in college and perhaps under the influence of something illicit, you’ll realize that the real lesson you learned from trying to talk to your dad was learned in the struggle itself.
Pros: Highly dedicated, obviously a great genius, the moral leader of our times, really pushing the boundaries of the medium.
Cons: The walls of your home are covered in scribblings of what you can only assume is a code of some kind, you’ve been unable to find the bathroom and you looked for a long time, Dad makes passive-aggressive comments about how you haven’t read the copy of Gravity’s Rainbow he got you for your 13th birthday yet.
FDR: 5/10 (but obviously only because I don’t “get it”), most underappreciated genius dad
Poor Corvo does his best. In his own way, he’s been a loving father towards you and your sister, Emily. Corvo has a lot working against him, however. First of all: Dunwall is the worst place to live. Emily was the empress in Dunwall until she was deposed by “an otherworldly usurper.” That’s a thing that happens in Dunwall. Good luck making friends, too, because everyone is going to betray you. Everyone. Except good ol’ Sam Beechworth, who gives you rides in his sweet little boat and tells you all about the people you gotta go choke and/or kill. Oh yeah, you’re a supernatural ninja-assassin. Everybody in your family is. The Outsider really has a thing for the Attanos. So that’s something else you gotta deal with. Dad understands how tedious and frustrating all this can be, especially when the Outsider drones at you about how excited he is to watch you “decide the fate of this wretched world,” etc. etc. Corvo is always there to teach you cool steampunk swashbuckler murder machine best practices, and never raises his voice. He does carry around a weird heart thing that seems to be speaking to him, though, which, you know, can’t be healthy.
Pros: Phenomenal cosmic power, free swordfighting lessons, related to royalty, you’ll probably be voiced by someone surprisingly high-profile.
Cons: Constant betrayal, threat of disease or at least really icky living conditions, gotta put up with the Outsider, provocative and mysterious storytelling, have you ever been a rat? It sucks.
FDR: 6.5/10, most stylish dad
Your dad won’t let you get augments, and it’s SO unfair! You’re proven time and time again that you can take care of yourself and you don’t care about people’s prejudices (you have so many augmented friends!), but he still gives you his “I didn’t ask for this” speech every time you bring it up. Instead, while he’s off fighting the Illuminati and uncovering vast international conspiracies, you’re sitting in a smoke-filled apartment in downtown Detroit playing Final Fantasy XXVII and hacking into government websites for fun. Seems like the only time he pays attention to you is when he’s mad at you for doing stuff like hacking his arm so he can’t stop hitting himself. Still, maybe it’s the CASIE talking, but you kind of like your dad. He wears more black than a goth and he broods all day, but it seems like he’s trying to make the best of a bad situation. It’s kind of adorable how he always packs you half a dozen energy bars when you go out, “for your protection,” whatever that means. He’s a big, gruff bulldog, always thinking about safety, always pissed off. Maybe if you find a way to hack into the Illuminati database, you can help him out?
Pros: Unlimited trench coats, augmented parenting, inherit wild genetic mutations, makes a mean sashimi.
Cons: Unlimited trench coats, constantly involved in a dangerous game of international intrigue, feels kind of derivative at times, why is everything yellow?
FDR: 7/10, most easily manipulated dad
Harry Mackin has written for Game Informer, Playboy and other outlets. He’s on Twitter at @Shiitakeharry.