How Playstation Invented and Perfected the ‘Dad Simulator’

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Back in the PS3’s console generation Sony was lagging behind Microsoft. After a horror story of a start, the PS3 finally started to gather traction and really cement itself as an excellent console with a library of equally excellent exclusives. These exclusives were incredibly varied, from massive online multiplayer shooters like MAG to narrative driven experiences like Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain.

Heavy Rain is where today’s article begins. The game really drove the relationship between Father and Child, asking the player how far they would go to save the one they loved. I knew exactly how far I’d go, I broke the law multiple times as Ethan Mars in order to save my son Shaun from the Origami Killer. David Cage’s gritty world really made the characters feel real. The script and story made Ethan and Shaun’s relationship feel vital, it drove the player’s every action and decision.

Ultimately, despite the games flaws, it was successful in its main ambition; to pay tribute to the relationship between Father and Son. Even the game’s adversary; the Origami Killer, had a backstory which was entirely driven by a fracturous relationship between parent and child.

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Following this was Naughty Dog’s masterpiece: The Last of Us. The game is regarded as one of the best pieces of media ever created and the emotional story is a weighty factor in this. Not only does the game take only minutes to build a beautiful father and daughter bond, it takes only minutes to absolutely destroy it. This leaves both the father, Joel, and the player suitably devastated.

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The next 8-12 hours then involve you rebuilding that bond, only with a different girl. Despite there being no blood relation, Joel and Ellie’s bond becomes incredibly strong as they face the horrors of the game’s post apocalyptic environment. The pair grow closer and closer, learning from each other and as a player you really start to invest yourself in their bond. The game’s ending is testament to how perfect Naughty Dog’s scripting was. I was fully behind Joel’s decision to choose Ellie’s survival over the entire world. Screw everyone else, I was saving my daughter. That is what Ellie became. She was no longer just a mission, she was Joel’s child to protect and care for as much as Sarah was.

The game forces players to make an evil decision, a wrong decision. However, you feel genuinely right. You feel totally convicted that you are doing the right thing. Yet again another Playstation exclusive absolutely highlights the relationship between Parent and Child in a way that other media just can’t possibly imagine.

The Last of Us part II

Finally in 2018 we have God of War. Following the review embargo being lifted today, Playstation appear to have another critical darling on their hands. What does it have in common with the two previously mentioned games? The focus on the bond between Father and Child.

I haven’t spoiled anything for myself. I don’t know any story details. All I know is that I can’t wait to jump into controlling Kratos and growing a bond with Atreus. If it can even get close to the lofty heights of The Last of Us and Joel and Ellie’s beautiful bond then I cannot wait to experience another landmark title in Playstation’s gaming pantheon.

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Until next week when God of War launches there’s plenty of other content to keep us occupied. How about a nice new mobile game, or the latest on Destiny 2? Stay tuned to thelootgaming.com to find out all of this and much, much more.