Spoiler Warning: Of some old games, so really, it’s probably okay.
Soon, it will be Mother’s Day. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this holiday, but I pay someone to listen to me talk about that, so you can just listen to me talk about something way more fun. Mothers in video games.
Mothers, everyone has one. Sort of. Unless you’ve sprung into the world from your father’s body. Or spontaneously generated. Or are a cyborg. Anyway! A lot of people have mothers. Some good ones, some bad ones, some absent ones. There are lots of scientists who study your relationship with your mother to explain why you can’t have functional relationships or jaywalk without hyperventilating.
A lot of video game characters have moms too! Some video game characters are even mothers in their own right.
Great Mom: Samus Aran, Metroid
Samus, Entrusted One, has good reason to really hate Metroids. Her parents are murdered by space pirates when she’s young, leaving her to be raised by a race of bird people, the Chozo, in space. (Who seem to be awesome parents, actually. Birds are cool.) These space pirates then team up with the Metroids, who are really dangerous space jellyfish basically. So Samus, using her fancy Chozo-infused self in her fancy Chozo-built armor, goes about her business to save the world.
But then the Baby shows up.
The Galactic Federation, an organization attempting to keep the universe together while the Space Pirates are messing things up, order Samus to kill all Metroid life. However, when she comes across a Metroid egg, it hatches and imprints on her. Suddenly, she’s mother to a tiny, potentially evil, being. She decides to spare its life and take care of it, as she herself had been adopted when she was all alone.
Their bond is so wonderful, so meaningful in some ways. LC Brown and the rapper SΔMMUS discuss it a bit on The Heroine’s Journey. Here is this super competent, awesome warrior saving the world, straight up murdering space jellyfish, and yet she saves this innocent baby Metroid. It’s heart-warming. In the end, that baby saves her right back.
Mind-controlled Mom: Matriarch Benezia, Mass Effect
“You do not know the privilege of being a mother. There is power in creation. To shape a life, turn it toward happiness or despair.”
The Asari are a race of aliens in the Mass Effect games that are mono-gender, but presented as feminine, at least in the eyes of humans. They can mate with basically anyone of any species or race or gender through the joining. The children are always Asari.
Arguably the best-known Asari is Commander Shepard’s teammate Liara T’Soni. She’s smart, considerate, sexy, strong. (Can you guess who my Commander romanced with?)
Liara’s mother is very little like her. Matriarch Benezia was a biotic and spiritual Asari leader. Then her brain gets washed by the Reaper (a big, sentient airship) and she begins to bring to life ancient, horrible giant bugs. She tries to kill Shepard and her own daughter, but ultimately helps them in the end. Benezia uses incredible mental strength to break free of the mind-control long enough to tell her daughter that she’s proud of her. (Aw.)
Science Mom: Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum, BioShock and BioShock 2
Bioshock is one of those super fun science fiction-y games that I think about replaying often.
One of the best components of the games is the existence of the Little Sisters. These small, forever girl-children are so super creepy. They go around collecting ADAM, a substance that allows users to manipulate DNA, and are protected by the Big Daddies, genetically modified beings in giant suits.
The woman that started it all was Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum. She was an absolute genius, discovering ADAM after watching slugs. She created the Little Sisters, and, after realizing her terrible mistake, worked tirelessly to turn the Little Sisters back into human little girls. When the children cannot be returned to their parents, she adopts them as her own. Science with a heart.
I’m partial to Liara’s other mom, too. Possibly because of my CLaudia Black obsession.
Oooooh ya! Little Wing has some good parentage.