Video games are not only a source of entertainment, but also a medium for storytelling and exploring various themes and emotions. One of the most prevalent themes in video games is fatherhood, and how different characters cope with the challenges and joys of being a dad. In this article, we look at five of the most popular father figures (dads of gaming) in video games and what lessons we can learn from them.

Joel (The Last of Us)

Midjourney generated image of Joel and Ellie, from The Last of Us video game, facing the camera. Made for Dads of Gaming on

Joel is the protagonist of The Last of Us, a post-apocalyptic game following his journey across a ravaged America with Ellie, a young girl who may hold the key to curing a deadly fungal infection. Joel is not Ellie’s biological father, but he becomes her surrogate dad over the course of the game, protecting her from various threats and forming a very strong bond with her (compounded by having previously lost his own daughter). Joel is a complex character who has suffered a lot of loss and trauma in his life. He also struggles with his morality and his feelings for Ellie as a protector, friend and father. He is also willing to do anything for her, even if it means sacrificing the greater good.

Joel teaches how fatherhood is not defined by blood, but by love and care. He shows how being a dad is not easy, and sometimes it involves making hard choices and facing the consequences thereafter. Ultimately, he offers a strong reminder of how being a dad means being human, with all the flaws and strengths associated with the role.

Kratos (God of War)

Midjourney generated image of Kratos and Atreus, from the God of War video game, facing the camera. Made for Dads of Gaming on

Kratos is the main character of the God of War series, a hack-and-slash game revolving around his quest for revenge against the gods of Greek mythology. Kratos is a former Spartan warrior who was tricked by Ares into killing his wife and daughter. He then becomes the new god of war after killing the bastard, but is haunted by his past and his anger as a result. In the latest installments of the series, Kratos has moved to a new realm based on Norse mythology, where he lives with his son Atreus. Kratos tries to be a better father to Atreus than he was to his previous family, but he still has a lot to learn.

With the above in mind, Kratos’ experience in the newer games teaches how fatherhood is a journey of growth and redemption. His journey also offers insight into how being a dad means accepting all the responsibilities associated with ones actions and how legacy is no excuse for failing to break the cycles negatively affecting the people you care about. Therefore, Kratos showcases how being one of the dads of gaming means being strong, but also vulnerable and compassionate.

Lee Everett (The Walking Dead)

Midjourney generated image of Lee and Clementine, from The Walking Dead video game, facing the camera. Made for Dads of Gaming on

Lee Everett is the protagonist of The Walking Dead, an episodic game following his survival in a zombie apocalypse with Clementine, a young girl he finds alone in her house. Much like with Joel in The Last of Us, Lee is not Clementine’s biological father, but he becomes her guardian and mentor throughout the game, teaching her how to survive and make moral decisions.

Lee is a former history professor who was convicted of murder before the deadly outbreak, but he tries to redeem himself by helping others and caring for Clementine. He is also determined to find Clementine’s parents or a safe place for her to live and enjoy what is left of her childhood.

Lee’s experience teaches how fatherhood is a matter of choice and commitment. His actions and choices also show how being a dad means being brave and selfless, all whilst remaining supportive and encouraging. No easy feat within the realm of dads of gaming.

Barret Wallace (Final Fantasy VII)

Midjourney generated image of Barret, from the Final Fantasy VII video game, facing the camera. Made for Dads of Gaming on

Barret Wallace is one of the main characters of Final Fantasy VII. Although often overshadowed by Cloud Strife, his background and involvement in the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE – fighting against the evil corporation Shinra – is integral to the plot of the hugely popular role-playing game.

Barret is actually the leader of AVALANCHE and a former coal miner who lost his right arm in an accident caused by Shinra. Like with most action heroes, he replaces his missing appendage with something a little more, like a gun-arm. He is also the adoptive father of Marlene, the daughter of his best friend Dyne who died in the same aforementioned accident. He loves Marlene dearly and tries to provide for her and protect her from Shinra (a common theme amongst the dads of gaming).

Barret teaches how fatherhood is not limited by appearance or background and shows how being a dad means being passionate and loyal. He reminds all of how being a dad means being hopeful and optimistic, despite the present circumstances.

Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher)

Midjourney generated image of Geralt of Rivia and Ciri, from The Witcher video game, facing the camera. Made for Dads of Gaming on

Geralt of Rivia is the protagonist of The Witcher series, an action role-playing game following his adventures as a monster hunter in a fantasy world. Geralt is, for all intent and purpose, a witcher – a mutated human who has enhanced abilities and skills to fight monsters for money. He is also the adoptive father of Ciri, a young girl who has a special power making her a target for various nefarious factions.

Geralt cares for Ciri as his own daughter and trains her to become a witcher. He also tries to protect her from danger and does everything in his power to rescue her when she inevitably goes missing. Seriously, the lengths these dads of gaming go to has no end!

Geralt teaches how fatherhood is not bound by fate or destiny. He shows how being a dad means being respectful and understanding whilst continuing to be adventurous and curious about life, love and the universe.

These are just some of the many father figures in video games whom can be admired and provide lessons to learn from. They all have different personalities, backgrounds, and stories, but they all share one thing in common: they love their children and do their very best to be good dads. As such, they may provide inspiration for fathers to simply be better, or to appreciate the fathers we have in our lives.

Owner, founder and editor-in-chief at Vamers, Hans has a vested interest in geek culture and the interactive entertainment industry. With a Masters degree in Communications and Ludology, he is well read and versed in matters relating to video games and communication media, among many other topics of interest.