Legendary Video Game Moms
Mother’s Day is the definitive day that most of the world celebrates our maternal figures. Being a mother is not limited to raising a child, birthing a child from your body, or perhaps attending a school meeting for moms, and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes one a mother. But do know that if anyone feels that they’re your mother and you agree, then no one should contest it otherwise.
The “symbolism of motherhood” focuses on the emotional aspects of the role. This means that these values may be ascribed to different people, too! A sister that raised you can be a mother. A single father can be both maternal and paternal.
In this article, we’ll spotlight the moms in video games that made an impression on us. Let’s take a mom-ent to get to know these significant figures, shall we?
The List of Best Moms
Cooking Mama (Cooking Mama)
The fastest way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. (Cooking Mama Limited, 2006)
We’re starting our list with the Mother of Cooking! Cooking Mama has made a distinct impression from gamers worldwide with her bright disposition and encouraging demeanor! JaidenAnimation has recently released a YouTube video detailing her childhood experience under the tutelage of this amateur chef in I Attempted a Speedrun (and got a world record).
To this date, the Cooking Mama game series remains strong after releasing its recent sixth installment, Cooking Mama: Cookstar, in 2020. Despite its mediocre reception scores, she remains one of the more prominent mother figures in the video game industry.
Mother Penguin (Super Mario 64)
Bringing Tuxie (right; carried by Mario) to Mother Penguin (left) safe and sound. (Nintendo, 1996)
Mothers need a little support now and then, too. Coming in next to Cooking Mama is our resident anthropomorphic penguin aptly named Mother Penguin, who players can find in the Cold, Cold Mountain stage of Super Mario 64 (1996). This grief-stricken mother lost her child, Tuxie, when she looked for food for her baby. This will surely fill you with pity for the poor mother, pushing you to go and help look for the lost penguin. Completing the "Lil' Penguin Lost" mission will reward the player with a Power Star. Don’t try to grab Tuxie after you brought her back, though. Mother Penguin won’t stop following you until you let go of her precious chick.
For Mother Penguin, the welfare of Tuxie is always her focus. Cherokeelady’s poem "A Mother's Job" mentioned this: “A mother’s job is never done, from the rising, to the setting of the sun.”
Wrinkly Kong (Donkey Kong series)
Wrinkly Kong (right-most) spending time with her family. (Nintendo, 1995)
Next on the list is an established figure of the Donkey Kong franchise. Alive or dead, Wrinkly Kong is a beloved figure within the lore of the series. Notably intelligent among her family, she is the beacon of tips and hints, as well as a figure for saving your progress. Did we mention she’s recognized to have “ghostly powers”?
We constantly look up to our elderly for wisdom and knowledge, not just to our mothers and fathers. To some extent, Wrinkly Kong is a beacon of those figures in our lives that guide our way through difficult times. Not only do we look for comfort in our maternal figures, but we also seek guidance and perspective from them.
Mom (Animal Crossing series)
A message from mom on your birthday. (Nintendo, 2020)
A mother will always be one no matter how old her child becomes. This concept is central to your character’s Mom in the Animal Crossing game, who remains unseen throughout the game except for a couple of letters that she sends the player from time to time. Even without her actual appearance, she still tries to make her warm presence known to the player through her gifts and items, in addition to the occasional funny anecdotes about her experiences (or Dad’s!).
Our mother’s presence will unceasingly remain throughout our lives and constantly provide us unmatched emotional comfort. Whether it’s via a phone call or a short letter, it’s always lovely to hear from them and find solace in the fact that there is someone who's always looking out for us. So, pick up the phone or send her a virtual hug this Mother’s Day; it might just be the warmth that she’s been waiting for!
We also hope to send messages back to Mom (and Dad) in Animal Crossing, too! Make it happen, Nintendo!
Mad Moxxi (Borderlands series)
Moxxi casually sitting at her bar in Borderlands 3. (Gearbox Software, 2019)
She may be the femme fatale you’ve always dreamt of becoming, but she has a subtle depth to her alluring curves. Mad Moxxi is one of Borderlands’ more prominent characters, appearing in several titles and some spinoff titles like Poker Night 2, where she plays as a bartender! She’s got everything - skills, beauty, and brains! You might be pleased to know that she’s got the guts and gumption, too!
Despite the looming sense of danger around her, this firecracker is also a mother! She has two children - Scooter and Ellie, and had at least three known husbands throughout the series, which means that she knows what she wants, and she’s no stranger to romance. Her aggressive demeanor allowed her to save Ellie from the Hodunk clan and severed her ties with them for good. No worries, though, because she seems to be doing just fine as a bar owner in Sanctuary.
Some mothers are unconventional, and that’s perfectly okay! She might not be the warm-hearted mother who will guide you through thick and thin that pop culture loves to depict, but her concern for her children remains a strong drive for her. She might seem to be more of a mysterious and beautiful female figure, but she’s more than what her aesthetics show.
Aside from how Mad Moxxi is depicted, there are many kinds of mothers. They come in all shapes and sizes, too! And with different temperaments to boot!
Mom (Pokémon series)
Mum (left) sends the character (right) off in Pokémon Sword and Shield. (Nintendo, 2019)
Another maternal figure on the list comes from an unconventional family structure. There have been plenty of posts from social media platforms discussing how the moms of the Pokémon world are seemingly okay with letting their 10-year-old children venture around the region battling strangers and taking down crime rings accompanied by just their “pocket monsters.” Limited by the hardware of previous generations’ writing and then subsequently hampered by following the narrative flow of what came before it, the moms have become one of the first NPCs that the players interact with at the start of their journeys. Unrealistically, they have always greeted this departure from home with great enthusiasm just because it’s been “said so on TV.”
Players are comforted that they can return to their home for a visit, though, often with remarks on how to take care of their Pokémon correctly. Or, in the case of the Johto mom, perhaps discuss more financial aspects. They don’t worry very much, though, because whatever happens, the moms are always proud of their children.
It’s pretty common for mothers to try and hold on to their children for as long as they can. However, there will always come a time when it’s time to leave your home and set out on your own path. Always remember, mothers will try their best to be proud of every small thing that you do.
That includes beating the Elite Four and the Champion!
Ness’ Mom (EarthBound)
Ness’s Mother is idling at the dinner table at their home. (Ape, HAL Laboratory & Brownie Brown, 1994)
Even when the world is on the verge of alien domination, you can be sure that your mom will always be one of the safest spaces you can run to. Coming up on our list of tough moms is Ness’ Mom in the EarthBound series. She is a great example of maternal warmth and tough love. It’s no wonder that this mother often comes up on plenty of lists of badass moms in video games. Despite its initially rough performance, it has now grown into a cult classic and has cemented its place as one of the most memorable titles in the video game landscape.
Kangaskhan (Pokémon series)
Kangaskhan and their younglings as seen in Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon - Ultra Legends. (Nintendo, 2019)
Another entry from the Pokémon franchise is one of the more prominent motherly figures, Kangaskhan. Even though this Pokémon is classified as a Parent Pokémon and was inspired by kangaroos, the other significant influence on its name was the founder and Emperor of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan, who is known for his notoriously violent behavior. Much like him, Kangaskhan would become violent in order to protect their child.
Like Mad Moxxi from the Borderlands series, a mother would not let anything get between her and her child. A mother’s love is often portrayed to be fierce and strong across various media through the years.
Queen Mikoto (Fire Emblem Fates)
Queen Mikoto, as seen in Fire Emblem Fates. (Intelligent Systems, 2015)
After a bunch of tough-looking video game moms, let's talk about the kindly queen from Hoshido, Mikoto. A mother figure to several key characters in Fire Emblem Fates and the people of her land despite having her own biological children, she’s also considered to be the stepmother of other characters such as Ryoma, Hinoka, Takumi, and Sakura, solidifying her position in this list. She is known to have a tragic background, having lost her husband, Sumeragi, at the hands of their enemy. While their marriage is considered short-lived, this made her the new Queen of Hoshido. Her kindness and grace knows no limits and are accepted by everyone, despite her unusual and mysterious origins.
Mikoto exemplifies how maternal instinct doesn’t just apply to one’s biological offspring. Even as a stepmother (and not an evil stepmother), they can become the mother figure in one’s life. This phenomenon deviates from the norm, and it’s high time that we celebrate the people who choose to take on the challenge and own it.
Ana Amari (Overwatch)
Ana Amari is preparing to attack in Overwatch. (Blizzard Entertainment, 2016)
The next one in the list is from the highly-celebrated Overwatch, and she’s a mother that hits the bullseye in raising a child with values to be proud of. Ana Amari is the 60-year-old mother with a good eye for sniping down enemies. She is protective of her home and those she cares for, and that’s when her sniping skills come in handy.
Ana hails from a long line of decorated soldiers and has a good handle on inspiring confidence and loyalty among her peers. She taught her child, Fareeha Amari, to be dutiful and honorable. To make it more on the nose, she bears the tattoo of the Eye of Horus, which is a symbol of protection. Fitting for someone whose core beliefs are to serve and protect.
As we have established at the beginning of this article, mothers come in all shapes and sizes. Ana is an excellent example of this. Highly skilled snipers can be mothers too. Remember that mothers are people, and they have different facets and roles in life. Ana is one of the best moms in video games due to her innate sense of responsibility and honor, which are admirable traits that should be celebrated.
Kratos (God of War series)
Kratos (left) and Atreus (right) in a promotional image for God of War. (Santa Monica Studio, 2018)
Kratos is technically a dad, but one could make an argument that he’s both. He’s a single father to Atreus in 2018’s God of War. This much-celebrated sequel to the franchise added another side to the god-killer protagonist, and it’s a journey that’s highly regarded by both gamers and critics across the video game industry. Kratos’ parenting style may seem cold and brusque at times (such as calling his kid “boy” majority of the game), but he would soften later on as his main job is to keep his son safe and raise him to both be a proper person and a great warrior. While it can be said that this does not mean he’s a “mom,” we’ve established earlier that motherhood can be several things. Being a mother can simply be about teaching a set of values. If we simply take that into account, Kratos fits this category, surely.
If you’re not convinced by that argument, keep in mind that some people do consider that single dads are moms, too.
Harry Mason (Silent Hill)
Harry Mason wakes up in Cafe 5to2 in Silent Hill. (Konami, 1999)
When we previously mentioned that nothing could come in between a mother and her child, one can say the same thing for Harry Mason of Silent Hill except for the pronoun use. This man will stop at nothing to get his daughter, Cheryl, back from the clutches of a nightmarish abandoned town covered in perpetual mist. That also includes fighting back against nightmare-fuel monsters and blood-ritual occultists. Not to mention the fact that he’s just the adoptive father of Cheryl. If that’s not parental love, we don’t know what else it is.
Mothers will go through hell to protect their children, but that also goes for fathers. The shared unconditional love between these two concepts binds the fate of Harry Mason to this list. In later installments of the series, he would pay the ultimate price for his transgressions he made in Silent Hill. But not before making his mark of raising Cheryl, now named Heather (for security purposes), the strong, independent woman she’s destined to be.
Joel (The Last of Us series)
Joel (right) and Ellie (left) as seen in the truck ambush clip in The Last of Us. (Sony, 2012)
Like mothers, father figures come in all shapes and sizes, too. Sometimes, they take the form of human couriers for a “terrorist” organization. That’s where Joel (from The Last of Us series) comes in. Considered to be one of the most complex video game characters ever, he takes care of Ellie, who may be the only hope of humankind in the plague-ridden world of the game. He aims to initially deliver her to the hands of people that have other plans for her. Throughout the first game of the series, their bond would be solidified by the experiences that they shared, eventually growing fond of each other. This relationship would push Joel into a decision that would be a culmination of the emotional journey they both had. He’s a wonderfully created character that’s full of complexity and nuance to his design.
Unfortunately, the treatment of his character in the second installment of the game divided the fandom. This event caused massive backlash aimed at the developers. However, this just proves that players across all regions cared about Joel’s character, considering him a significant character for Ellie’s growth.
Dr. Light (Mega Man series)
Mega Man (left) and Dr. Light (right) are resting. (Anonymous, Date Unknown
Adding to this list is another mom-dad figure. This man single-handedly created Mega Man, and without him, there wouldn’t have been a Mega Man franchise to even speak of. This warm and fuzzy scientist is another father figure in the series. While some may see that the only point of Mega Man is to thwart the nefarious schemes of evil scientists, there are fan theories that Dr. Light may have created the boy as a surrogate son, and that’s something that warms our hearts. Rock, the lab assistant who would, later on, transform as Mega Man, has been under the tutelage of this innovative and kind man. But we see these two as having a bit of a father and son relationship, and that’s something to celebrate!
Toriel prevents your way out of the Ruins. (Toby Fox, 2015)
Capping off the list is one of the most celebrated figures in the modern video gaming landscape - Toriel of the Undertale series. Across the world, she is known as the kindly and graceful guide that found the protagonist, Frisk, as they fell into the Underground. Despite her monster-like appearance, she emanates a protective motherly figure that players would respond to in mere moments. To add to this, she dreams of becoming a teacher, and this is absolutely touching. She teaches us the essence of pacifism, and that one can solve conflicts through non-violent means. A gentle soul through and through, she was written to have that warm feeling every child (or even adults such as us!) yearns for. She’s not even our biological mother!
Motherhood doesn’t have to be defined in strict terms. Many may see this concept as strictly innate to women; others may take a more abstract route. If one can glimpse anything from this list that we have compiled, it’s that motherhood may be something that’s not definitively defined in a single word or example. Its definition changes for each person who may call someone “mother” or “mom.” May it be a monster from an underground ruin or a benevolent queen, there is no shortage of defining traits of what makes a mom, well, a mom. In this day and age, it’s essential to understand that motherhood as a definition is fluid. Not all women have maternal qualities, and not all men have paternal ones. These concepts overlap or deviate from each other, depending on how you look at them.
In short, we urge you, at this incoming Mother’s Day, to make your definition.
What is a mom for you?
If you have answered the question, reach out to the person you call mom. Ring them up or send them a flower or twelve. So, put down your game controller, exit your game, or stop your stream for a moment. We request that you spend your time with your “mom” and appreciate their presence. They might’ve been waiting to hang out with you all along.