In funny new French series Beautiful Loser, our main 31 year-old man-child Julien wants little more from life than to continue enjoying his idyllic teenage lifestyle. Unfortunately for him, as the series begins, he moves back in with his mum and discovers he fathered a son 15 years or so ago. Now he has to work out how to be a dad.
Thankfully there are video games to teach a man how to become a father.
Heavy Rain is an object lesson in loss
Feeling like you missed out on those prime bonding years? A play through this gripping noir masterpiece, where you play multiple characters trying to track down a serial killer, will give you daddying methadone. Even if you’re short on time, running through the first parts will show you in visceral detail what it feels like to lose your little boy in a crowded shopping mall.
Horizon Zero Dawn shows you how to train your ward
In the harsh world of the future where robots have overrun the world and the only rule is survival, you’ll have to teach your outcast girl the ways of archery and stealth. In modern-day France, you’ll probably have to teach them how to get a job and not to leave wet clothes in the washing machine – but either way, mentor Rost and juvenile hunter Aloy’s relationship is the perfect model.
Life is Strange shows you what not to be
Forget the weird adventures of time-rewinding high-schooler Max... okay, okay, you can’t just refer to someone as a “time-rewinding high-schooler” and expect people to move on. Max can turn back the clock, which means you can re-do scenes, conversations and actions for a better outcome. And Life is Strange has a totally rad indie soundtrack, too.
Anyway, we’re talking about Max’s estranged friend Chloe’s aggressive stepdad. He’s a textbook jerk and really mean. Don’t be this guy.
Fallout 3 is a tale of paternal abandonment
In the post-apocalyptic future, your father is Liam Neeson (well, his voice actor is). He’s always there for you as a kid, as you decide which skills your future character will have... until he’s suddenly not. So you venture into the irradiated wastelands to track him down and along the way you discover he had very good reasons for abandoning you. This is the perfect game to make your son play, especially if you can do Liam’s voice.
Fallout 4 switches up the relationship
Bonus round: in this one, your infant son is kidnapped while you’re in cryo-stasis. It’s not as horrific as Heavy Rain, but you’ll find something here to cling on to, emotionally speaking. Especially if you manage to make contact with your son in the not-too-distant future, before you’re eaten by mirelurks.
Donkey Kong Jr models good behaviour
Start with this classic. Junior may have been given the boot in favour of Kong’s nephew Diddy in recent decades, but back in 1982 he was a hero in his own right, rescuing his papa from a strangely villainous Mario. Donkey Kong Jr teaches the importance of showing our offspring how to be better than ourselves.
BioShock proves fatherhood is about more than genetics
Those 'Big Daddies' have no blood connection to the 'Little Sisters' under their charge, but they’ll fight to the death to protect them. Internalise this narrative, and ditch the Randian allegory of this art deco-inspired first-person shooter.
Beautiful Loser is streaming now at SBS On Demand: