For me, Mother’s Day is about waking up in a panic and wondering how on earth I can show the most important woman in my life how much I care for her through either flowers or an Amazon gift card–both of which feel cheap when compared to her countless acts of selflessness over the years. Nevertheless, no matter how how small or grand the gesture, Mother’s Day is the chance to show appreciation for the maternal figures in your life.
Moms are largely absent in the world of video games. In fact, the common state for a mother in video games is to be dead. They do not exist physically within the space, but may be mentioned in passing to serve as a plot device to set up the rest of the narrative or used as motivation for the player-character. Even while invisible, however, these absent mothers leave lasting impacts on their children, but are not able to be directly involved. They cannot be an active participant in the events that surround the protagonist, because that role will likely have been filled by a father or another parental figure/mentor.
In games where a bond between two people serve as the overarching narrative, the driving force behind an adventure or goal is usually the mom. She is the inspiration but is never able to join her child because that role is handed to someone else. She may be remembered fondly as the father laments her loss while passing the torch to his daughter. “She loved you very much,” he will say before they set off for adventure. These invisible mothers do have relationships with their children but we rarely have the opportunity to experience it. These mothers cannot grow alongside their kids the way a father/child duo can.
That’s not to say that moms are doomed to stay as passive figures forever. There are games where mothers do exist, and their presence does not go by unnoticed. Here are some of our favorite maternal figures in video games:
Joyce Price, Life is Strange
Joyce is the quintessential mom. She’s a little over-protective (but it comes from a good place), hardworking, and loved by the rest of Arcadia Bay. She’s hardworking and tries gives her daughter Chloe space to be a teenager even though her behavior is worrisome. It’s refreshing to see a character as normal as Joyce living out a “plain” routine within Life is Strange, especially since having a mom still present (and caring) is hard to find.
Ana Amari, Overwatch
Ana is one of the best portrayals of motherhood out there. Although most of the relationship we see is through supplementary information, it’s clear to us that Ana was a crucial part of Fareeha/Phara’s life growing up until she “left” (and came back years later). This is relayed to us through comics, where Ana is seen still maintaining her role as an Overwatch operative while also taking care of Fareeha. There are sprays inside the game of a young Ana cradling her swaddled daughter, looking down at her with a tender smile. In-game we know that Pharah and Ana have a good relationship, and it’s rare to find a mother/daughter bond where both parties are present and positive.
Clementine, The Walking Dead Game
Because this list is for maternal figures, Clementine rightfully has a spot. During season 2 of The Walking Dead Game, she becomes one of the caretakers of baby AJ, whose biological mother dies. By the events of the third season, we find Clem taking care of her adoptive son on her own. During an awkward conversation that takes place in episode 4 she even admits to feeling like a mom and it shows. We see Clementine go to dangerous lengths to protect AJ and seek out medical attention for him. We watch as she screams and cries as he’s ripped from her arms. Her dedication and willingness to go through impossible odds is incredible.
Candy Borowski, Night in the Woods
Candy is the mother of Mae, an anthropomorphic cat who has dropped out of college and moves back home. As a mother, Candy is similar to Joyce in that they both want what’s best for their daughters, but don’t want to overstep their boundaries and seem unsupportive if they offer advice (that may or may not be heeded). In the game we can see that Candy and Mae have a loving relationship, but it’s implied that this wasn’t always the case. As I know very well, being a teenager and feeling pressure from your parents during those turbulent years doesn’t make for very good relationships. However with Candy, we see that she genuinely wishes for Mae to do all right, and worries about her. She’s a very normal mom, and I’d love to see more of those.
Morrigan, Dragon Age Inquisition
Having a child to absorb the soul of an old God to ensure the world doesn’t end is going to make for an awkward “where do babies come from” talk in the future. Morrigan became a mom under very bizarre circumstances (or not, depending on how you chose to play Dragon Age) and raised her son alone and isolated from society to protect him. Despite Kieran’s unconventional childhood, when we meet him for the first time, we have pleasant conversations and he’s shown to be well-mannered and kind. This is a direct result of Morrigan’s parenting, and reveals a shift in character. She’s grown into someone who empathizes and loves…while still maintaining a sharp mouth. Morrigan is the kind of mother who gained positive characteristics without losing personality.
Who are your favorite moms in video games? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Nerdist Games