No family is perfect. Some hide terrible secrets, some have a warped sense of duty and honor, while others openly expose their problems to the world. Many people can trace their traumas and primal wounds to various periods of their childhood, whether small or crucial in shaping who they are today.
Video games have their fair share of dysfunctional families. Whether by blood or not, these games show how families can take their craziness and weirdness to the next level. From familicide to incest, these families shine a light on how disturbed human beings can be, while showing that fiction and the natural world aren’t that far apart either.
seven Santa’s family – GTA 5
One of the most dysfunctional modern families players can encounter in gaming, the De Santa family is something out of a trashy reality TV series and is the very definition of toxic. The family consists of 4 members: Michael, Amanda, and their 2 children Tracey and Jimmy, who are constantly at each other’s throats. Each family member verbally abuses and attempts to use each other for personal gain while engaging in self-destructive behavior.
With endless cases one after another and copious amounts of drugs and alcohol, it’s unbelievable that the family has managed to stay under one roof for so long. A prayer to everyone who has to personally care for families like this!
6 The Ryan Family – Bioshock
Despite creating one of the most resourceful and progressive cities of his time, Andrew Ryan ended up betraying everything he stood for. A broken man who unknowingly created a broken family, Ryan murdered his mistress (Jack’s mother) when he discovered she was dealing with Frank Fontaine, Ryan’s nemesis.
Instead of trying to make amends with his son, Ryan reveals to him what he is and always was with one of the most iconic speeches in gaming history: a slave and a tool. . In a morbid turn of events, Andrew Ryan then orders his son to kill him in an attempt to end his own life on his terms. How selfish and traumatic. Luckily, if players choose the “good” ending of Bioshock, Jack raises a small family of former Little Sisters and helps them live normal lives.
5 The Kenway Family – Assassin’s Creed
The Kenway family had a profound impact on the Assassin-Templar War in the 18th century with members on both sides and holding high-ranking positions. The Kenways were no strangers to tragedy, and death was a frequent visitor to their legacy.
Fighting on both sides of the war, the family was bound for conflict. This came to a head when Haytham, a prominent Templar and Grand Master, came into conflict with his son, Ratonhnhaké:ton, an aspiring assassin, resulting in a parricide. Although things calmed down after that, the bloodstains of the past remain, because who can forget the murder of his family.
4 Samara and her daughters – Mass Effect 2
Nearly 1000 years old, Samara is not to be overlooked. An Asari vigilante with years of experience with biotics and as a warrior, Samara is a staunch ally when she joins the Normandy and aids Shepard in his fate.
Players later learn that Samara has three daughters who suffer from the same genetic defect in being Ardat-Yakshi, a condition that effectively kills someone during the fusion process (essentially sex with an Asari). Although two of his daughters are cloistered, one of his daughters, Morinth, has gone rogue and is currently living a life of murder and violence. Samara devotes herself to stalking her daughter (which takes ages to do!). If players complete Samara’s loyalty mission, they can then choose who to keep alive. Talk about settling a family therapy bloodbath!
3 The Strenger Family – The Witcher 3
The Bloody Baron questline is perhaps one of the greatest plot arcs in video game history. The characters, family drama, pacing and twists that unfold are masterfully done. Despite the dramatization and stakes involved, it’s still relatable, which is why it has such a lasting impact on gamers.
At first, the players make a deal with Philip Strenger, the renegade Temerian soldier who calls Crow’s Perch home. Geralt is tasked with finding Philip’s missing wife and daughter in exchange for information on Ciri. What unfolds is a dysfunctional family drama that reveals all the skeletons in the closet and deep wounds that can’t be repaired. Captivating yet painful, the questline reveals the difficulties and pain of relationships within families, as well as the enduring love that lingers throughout.
2 The Mishima Clan – Tekken Series
The Mishima clan of tekken the series probably takes the cake when it comes to being dysfunctional. Known for their distinct style of karate, four generations of the Mishima family and their descendants attempt to kill each other (this or to publicize their abuse of each other).
The man who seems to be perpetrating all these problems is found with Heihachi, a power-obsessed man who beats his loved ones to a pulp. Heihachi seals his father and pushes his 10-year-old son off a cliff to “test” him. Meanwhile, Heihachi adopts another son to make his true-born son jealous while fathering an illegitimate child, only to abandon said child. To top it off, Heihachi attempts to murder his grandson. No wonder such problems persist in this family.
1 The Van Der Linde Gang – Red Dead Redemption 1 & 2
Although not a biological family, the gang was essentially a family that looked after its own and tried to live as freely as possible, away from the laws and jaws of civilization. Despite featuring some of the most iconic and beloved characters in video game history, the Van der Linde gang certainly had their issues. During the events of Red Dead Redemption 2, the gang was forced by its leader, Dutch, to perform increasingly dangerous and potentially deadly heists and missions in order to retreat to paradise. But there never seemed to be an end to these daring heists. Of course, the group never had its paradise, and the eventual breakup of the gang saw many key members dead or long gone.
Things got worse when John Marston was forced to hunt down his former family, only to send them off. To top it off, the crown jewel and hope of the crew, Jack Marston, grew up to be an outlaw himself, against his parents’ hopes.
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