The entertainment industry often demonizes stepfathers. Many stories portray these guys as horrific perversions of parental figures. They bombard their stepchildren with all sorts of abuse, from physical to emotional to sexual. Merely marrying into an established family apparently makes a man a maniacal tyrant.


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In video games, stepfathers provide convenient enemies. Their familial relations mean they can be an intensely personal antagonist. At the same time, they’re not related by blood, meaning that heroes can feel less guilty about vanquishing them. The stereotype may be tired and transparent, but it has led to some truly twisted figures throughout gaming history.

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6/6 Zack’s Stepdad – Angels Of Death

Truly disturbed individuals often have traumatic upbringings. That shows both figuratively and literally in Isaac Foster. This serial killer has bandages covering his entire body: a constant reminder of a horrific childhood.

Zack’s stepfather frequently burned him and his mother. This not only left him with the aforementioned wounds, but caused him to develop a crippling fear of fire. The fiend then subjected his stepson to further abuse from a twisted orphanage. While this is nothing to sneeze at, Foster’s misfortunes all started with his stepfather. Of all his hardships, this one feels the most personally sadistic.

5/6 Jimmy’s Stepdad – Bully

In true Rockstar fashion, the inhabitants of Bully are caricatures and stereotypes who satirize all walks of society in ridiculous ways. That description also applies to Jimmy’s stepfather. He only shows up at the beginning, but he makes sure players hate him in that short time.

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This guy epitomizes the child-hating stepdad who wants the mother for himself. He drops Jimmy at a boarding school infamous for delinquents before embarking on a year-long honeymoon. What’s more is that he verbally abuses the kid on the whole ride over. Granted, Jimmy gives as good as he gets, but he’s a teenager. People expect those in that age group to be petty and disrespectful. The stepfather here is a grown man, yet he’s just as childish.

4/6 Richard’s Stepfather – The Medium

It’s tough to be worse than the Nazis, but Richard’s stepdad gives it a good shot in The Medium. During World War II, he and his family hunker down in their house and wait for the chaos to dissipate. Sadly, he uses this time to abuse both his wife and little Richard. In the former’s case, he adds rape to his offenses. As deplorable as that is, it’s amplified by the circumstances.

Richard and his mom are already living in fear and confinement under the Nazi regime. A paternal figure piling on his own brand of terror is just despicable, especially since his victims can’t escape. Given these factors, one can almost understand Richard’s mother calling the Gestapo, as it offers a way out of the cycle of misery. However, her husband should never have put her in that position in the first place.

3/6 John – Lorelai

This man embodies the archetype of a sexually frustrated alcoholic. He routinely preys on both Lorelai and her mother. He even forbids them from locking the doors, meaning he can barge in on the heroine while she’s bathing. As shameful as this behavior is, it goes further when he flies off the rails.

John is capable of murder during his drunken tirades. He actually kills Lorelai numerous times throughout the game. At least she has some ability to fight back, though. The same can’t be said for his baby daughter, whom he also snuffs out. It takes a special depravity to destroy something as innocent as an infant.

2/6 Arvis – Fire Emblem: Genealogy Of The Holy War

This imperial antagonist’s affronts start long before he ever meets his stepson, Seliph. Fire Emblem‘s Arvis kills his sister’s husband before marrying said sister himself. Yeah, it’s gross, but incest was sadly common in royal families throughout history.

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Also common was the mindset of ends justifying the means, which Arvis takes to the extreme. He repeatedly betrays his allies and sacrifices his subjects, all to supposedly achieve a peaceful world. Like most tyrants, he’s so focused on the big picture that he loses perspective of the very people he’s trying to help. Seliph is probably ashamed to be related to him on multiple levels.

1/6 Tanaka/Ssech King – Iwaihime

This creepy visual novel strives to make Alice in Wonderland more twisted than it already is. Minobe’s stepfather exemplifies that philosophy with his actions. Mr. Tanaka–otherwise known as the “Ssech King”–drugs her and renders her unconscious. This frees him up to give her a caterpillar tattoo. Altering people’s bodies against their will is already a red flag, but the meaning behind it is more messed up.

This particular tattoo initiates Minobe into the Ssech King’s cult. It’s his way of building a demented version of a family. He uses such familial love to eliminate loneliness while simultaneously rejecting any romantic love. That mentality takes helicopter parenting to a disturbing new level.

More: Best Video Game Stepfathers



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