Nintendo's Notorious Negligent Dads: A Comedic Exploration | GAME3A

Nintendo's Notorious Negligent Dads: A Comedic Exploration

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 critica...

Chantal Da Silva Feb 10, 2024
Nintendo's Notorious Negligent Dads: A Comedic Exploration

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.

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.

Ness' Father: The Unseen Hero

In the world of Earthbound, 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. 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.

Pamela's Father: The Gibdo Researcher

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.

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.

The Mysterious Disappearing Father of Animal Crossing

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. 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.

Bowser: The Irresponsible King of Koopas

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.

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 "he wants to "toughen him up."

Bowser's negligence as a father is evident throughout various Mario games. He frequently puts his son in perilous situations, sending him to fight Mario and his friends. Bowser Jr. is often left to his own devices, with little parental guidance or protection. While Bowser's intentions may be to make his son stronger, it's clear that his actions are irresponsible and potentially harmful to Bowser Jr.'s well-being.


While Nintendo has given us countless unforgettable characters and heartwarming stories, not all of their parental figures are shining examples of responsible parenting. From absent fathers to negligent dads, these characters add a touch of humor and sometimes tragedy to their respective games. Ness' Father, Pamela's Father, the mysterious disappearing father of Animal Crossing, and Bowser all exhibit various degrees of negligence and lack of involvement in their children's lives.

Despite their shortcomings, these flawed parental figures have become part of the gaming lexicon, sparking discussions and adding depth to the stories they inhabit. While they may not win any awards for their parenting skills, they certainly contribute to the rich tapestry of Nintendo's gaming universe.