- Nintendo has its share of bad dads in their games, like Ness’s Father from Earthbound, who is never around due to work obligations.
- Pamela’s Father from Majora’s Mask involves his daughter in dangerous research, putting her in harm’s way and showing poor judgement as a father.
- Bowser from Mario repeatedly puts his son Bowser Jr. in danger, showing his irresponsibility as a parent despite caring for his child.
Many epic stories have been told about the bond between parent and child. Games like The Last of Us and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons have been critically acclaimed for their emotional management of familial relationships. Unfortunately, video games aren’t always home to the most exemplary parental relationships, and many characters have been less than good at raising children.
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While Nintendo is home to a huge catalog of memorable characters, not all of these individuals are brilliant at managing their relationships. Although gameplay and design are massively important, a good story is what makes a player care about their characters – and some kids need their parents to cut them some slack. There are some infamously bad dads circulating on Nintendo console exclusives, and even if their children don’t realize it, they won’t be winning a parenting award any time soon.
5 Ness’ Father – Earthbound
Tries To Be There For Ness, But Is Never Around
Ness’ Father is more of a tragic figure than a bad one, and unfortunately, he just doesn’t get the chance to be the dad he wants to be. In Earthbound, to save the game, players must locate a telephone where Ness can call his father, who will allow him to save. Ness’ father works away from home, and it’s implied that he works a lot and therefore can’t physically be there for Ness and Tracy.
Despite this, he likes to hear from Ness and will sometimes give him advice. His most heartfelt moment is at the end of the game: if players choose to call him one last time, instead of offering to record their progress, he will instead say he’s trying to come home for Ness’ birthday. It’s thought that Ness’ father is supposed to represent the overwhelming work culture of Japan, which is why he remains unseen – even his sprite in the credits appears as a telephone. It’s tough to call Ness’ Father a “bad” dad, but it’s a shame that he’s not able to be around for his kids.
4 Pamela’s Father – Majora’s Mask
Involves Pamela In Dangerous Research
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
- October 26, 2000
- Nintendo EAD
Zelda fans may remember this quest from Majora’s Mask, in which Link will come across a house in Ikana Canyon. Upon entering, Link will find a man who appears to be half human and half gibdo, who will try to attack him. His daughter Pamela will run between the two and beg her father to stop and ask Link to leave. Luckily, Link will be able to heal Pamela’s father, and thank goodness.
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Pamela’s father is passionate about his studies. He moves his young daughter from Clock Town to Ikana Canyon to research gibdos and other ghoulish things. Poor Pamela ends up living in a music box house that plays “Farewell to the Gibdos,” which keeps the monsters away. One day, her father becomes cursed and the river that powers their music box dries up – meaning Pamela must not only protect herself from her half-gibdo father but must also keep them both safe from the gibdos that begin surrounding their house. Being a passionate scientist isn’t a crime, but moving one’s young daughter to the middle of a canyon to study dangerous creatures doesn’t merit any applause.
3 Player’s Father – Animal Crossing
Decidedly Absent From The Player’s Life And Totally Reliant On Mom
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
- June 9, 2013
- Nintendo EAD
Imagine having a dad so bad that players might never even know they have one – well, Animal Crossing players are familiar with the feeling. It’s common knowledge for fans of this Nintendo franchise that the player’s mother will often write to check up on them and give gifts. In fact, Mom will give gifts anywhere from bells to clothes to various flowers and fruits. She also usually sends players a letter on their birthday with a nice note and a gift.
Meanwhile, many gamers who have never loaded up Animal Crossing on Father’s Day likely won’t realize that their player character even has a father. This guy relies on his wife to do all the work since New Leaf is the only game where he might write more than once, and even then nowhere near as often as Mom. It’s a shame since it doesn’t seem like the player has any beef with their father, but he’s clearly not too worried about keeping up with his child while they’re working to pay back the huge loan Tom Nook ensnared them with.
2 Bowser – Mario
Continually Putting Bowser Jr. In Danger
Super Mario Sunshine
- August 26, 2002
- Nintendo EAD
Until Bowser Jr.’s appearance in Super Mario Sunshine in 2002, nobody would have guessed that the notorious Bowser would ever be a father. Although there’s been speculation that the Koopalings are Bowser’s children, they’re currently only underlings to the central Mario antagonist. Although players can see that Bowser does care about his son, there’s no excuse for him repeatedly letting Bowser Jr. place himself smack in the middle of danger.
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At first, Bowser Jr. believes that Peach is his mother and that Mario has kidnapped her, which are all lies that Bowser told him. Not only is that a seriously weird thing to do, but it’s also cruel for poor Bowser Jr., who takes his father’s word as gospel. It’s heavily implied that Bowser actively supports Bowser Jr. going up against Mario, even saying “that’s my boy” at the end of Super Mario Sunshine when Jr. says he wants to fight Mario again. Even though it’s clear that Bowser loves his son, he’s nonetheless an irresponsible parent who won’t leave his son out of his evil schemes – sealing his fate as one of Nintendo’s bad dads.
1 Validar – Fire Emblem Awakening
Wants To Use Robin As A Vessel For Grima
Fire Emblem: Awakening
- February 4, 2013
- JRPG , Strategy
Validar might be the king of bad Nintendo dads, since he’s evil from day one and not even his child can escape his malicious plans. Validar comes from a long line of people who serve Grima, the Fell Dragon, and is desperately trying to resurrect him by using his body as a vessel. Unfortunately for Robin, when Validar fails to be a worthy vessel and decides to have a child, that child will be born with the Mark of Grima on their hand.
Even Robin’s mother knows Validar will be a threat to her child, and she runs from him, fearing Robin’s fate. When Validar comes across Robin several years later, he proceeds to manipulate them and move forward with the plan to make Robin a vessel for Grima. When all his plans fail, Validar is more than happy to kill his child – which is seriously dark. Even with his dying breath, he professes that he cannot comprehend why Robin did not want to fulfill their destiny of restoring Grima to the world. All in all, Validar is an incredibly bad father and is hardly even worthy of the title.
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