Now that E3’s announcements, spectacle and excitement are coming to a close, it’s time to return to the real world and that means remembering that with this weekend comes Father’s Day. While not the most exciting of days, it’s a time to appreciate what you have; at least your dad isn’t a video game character. This week, we’re looking at the music of games that centre around or involve dads so if you’re a dad remove your new golf clubs from the chair and take a seat and if you’re not, consider using this as a last-minute present if you forgot.
Fatherhood is a strong theme in gaming and often involves tragedy or angst surrounding their children. This feeling of despair comes through in a lot of themes – one of the most notable examples comes from Norman Corbeil’s brilliant score to Heavy Rain, specifically Ethan’s Theme. While blaming himself for the death of his first son, his second gets kidnapped by a serial killer and Ethan is tasked by the mad man to perform tasks to prove he loves him. His theme is sombre and mournful and you can feel his emotion throughout the story as the theme recurs in different variations.
Another down on his luck father comes in the shape of Joel from The Last of Us – after experiencing tragedy very early on in the game, 20 years pass and an untrusting Joel becomes companion and an almost-father to Ellie as he escorts her across the country. Gustav Santoalla’s theme brings goosebumps to the player, filled with poignancy from the story and danger from the surroundings. We also have another couple of Uemtasu themes from FFX and FFVII respectively, with the themes of two strong parents, one who probably wouldn’t win any father of the year contests and another who is torn between helping save the planet and being with his daughter.
On a lighter note, we also have the whim and fancy of Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Galaxy 2 soundtrack, as Bowser Jr once again aids his father in keeping hold of Peach. On the theme of royalty, perhaps the worst dad in video games is actually a king, and one that just so happens to rule (and often carelessly destroy) all the cosmos. The Katamari series has a huge variety when it comes to the soundtrack with almost every style accounted for – here I’ve gone for Katsuro Tajima’s Royal Academy of Katamari. This is used when collecting 1 million red roses, an arduous task which requires a strong piece of music that doesn’t destroy you on repeat, something which has been achieved with the sweeping rise and fall of the orchestra.
I’ve also included fathers in the looser sense; Baba Yetu, Christopher Tin’s magnificent theme to Civilization IV means Our Father and is actually the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili, while we also look at Bioshock 2 where you play as a Big Daddy, a protector to the harvestable Little Sisters. However, the most out there selection comes from a game where you play as a normal human dad who definitely doesn’t have any tentacles and most certainly would not make a good sushi dish. He’s just as normal as any father so I’m not even sure what the fuss is really about…