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Tough Love

April 25, 2018 by Tim

I am savoring the shit out of God of War. This is one of those games you remember for years and years after the fact. So many incredible moments. Sindri is my new obsession.

However, I don’t know if its just me, but as the father to two little boys, it is hard to watch Kratos give his kid the cold shoulder at the start of the game. The boy’s mother just died (you literally spend your first moments in the game constructing a funeral pyre for her), and Kratos (as I guess you’d imagine), expresses all the compassion of a giant, concrete sculpture of a middle finger.

On a couple of occassions, he even almost reaches out to comfort the boy, and rather than giving you, the player, the option, he retracts his unnoticed gesture.

Now, a caveat here, as spoiler-free as I can make it: as you continue to play the game and learn more and more about Kratos and Atreus’ distant relationship, the game does… things to show you something deeper. Kratos doesn’t become warm and fuzzy, but the game illustrates his love for the boy in very nuanced and powerful unspoken ways. I know that particular father-son dynamic doesn’t sound like anything that hasn’t been done before, but it’s executed really well in this game. It’s something that’s going to stick with me.

That’s all I’m going to say about that because, again, I don’t want to get into spoilery territory. But as difficult as it is to watch Kratos deny his son some basics like praise and compassion (and honestly, the tough love approach does make sense in the world they’re living in, and given Kratos’ background), you do at least get to see something below the surface.

On a different note, I think my four-year-old is starting to wonder why I’ve begun addressing him as “boy.”


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Entercoven
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Entercoven

I dont typically watch Jacksepticeye or Markiplier anymore (I prefer long running series, not short one-offs) However, Jack started playing God of War and it is amazing. I totally feel that “Oh come on, one hug wont kill you!” mentality.

mandoschMUh
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mandoschMUh

Although I think God of War one of the best games ever, especially the 3rd part was not entirly easy for me to watch (my colleague played, I was just watching, enjoyed it very much) because of similiar moments….I mean, GoW 1 and 2 were gory….but GoW 3 was just over the top in some regards….

So I really can imagine how it is to play Kratos with such a tough father-son dynamic. I think I have to watch a Let’s play at least….

Tumbleweed
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Tumbleweed

“New DLC content” … the “hug” button.

Bawkbagawk
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Bawkbagawk

but being a compassionate dad wouldnt be toxic, and any kind of masculinity that isnt toxic is fake news. how do you go to conventions and not know that?

FITCamaro
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FITCamaro

I’m hoping this is a joke.

Patrick Woodburn
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Patrick Woodburn

“Toxic masculinity” does not mean that all male behaviour is toxic, but rather that some traditional expectations visavis male behaviour are toxic. The world abounds with positive male role models, from Mr Rogers to Steve Rogers. Unfortunately, it also abounds with sexual predators, from celebrities, to senior politicians of any and all affiliation, to college students and professors. It also abounds with mass killers, from the oklahoma city bomber to the 9/11 terrorists to the Norway shooter, the Vegas shooter and the Toronto truck driver. These are toxic, and predominately male, behaviours, are they not?

ArthurRex12
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ArthurRex12

Those are not predominantly male behaviors. Anyone regardless of gender is capable of either great good or great evil. Neither sex is more predisposed than the other.

ChknWng21
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ChknWng21

I already call my son Boy, and referred to him as “The Kid” all the time. (ie To my wife: “Where’s the kid?” or to my coworkers: “I’m taking The Kid to karate.”)

Eldest Gruff
Member
Eldest Gruff

Show me “Sand the floor.”

Now, show me “Wax on, wax off.”

Brent
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Brent

I think the new rule of law is anyone under the age of sixteen can only be addressed as boy.

Flintlocke
Member
Flintlocke

“But i’m a girl!”
“Shut up, boy.”

Cue the lights
Guest
Cue the lights

“BOY.
YOU THERE. BOY
QUIT ALL THIS SCURRYING AROUND BOY.”

luminantAegis
Guest

HOW CAN YOU EXPECT TO OUTRUN THE GOD OF WAR
WHEN HE’S ALREADY HERE

Sr. Vanilla Milkshake
Guest
Sr. Vanilla Milkshake

My good sir, have you run out of shaving cream so soon?
I told you not to eat it

Sr. Vanilla Milkshake
Guest
Sr. Vanilla Milkshake

Side note what are the commands for italics, bold, etc

Matt
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Matt

I have 4… 3 boys and a girl. And a dog. When I holler down the hall for one, I usually call all the other names first, and the dog’s name… Then I fall back to “you. kid. Thing [#]”. It’s gotten to the point that if one of my sons is picking on another, someone will say to me “Thing 1 is being bad!”

Names are for the weak! …said as I am required to type my name for this comment (^.^)

SilverShadow4
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SilverShadow4

My grandparents frequently go through the family tree before finding the right name. My dad has started mixing mine and the dogs name, too lol

Steve
Guest
Steve

I absolutely love this dynamic. The desire for Kratos to be Mike Brady while knowing that the world they live in and Atreus’ lineage stops any of that kindness from being useful…It’s heartwrenching. I love it. Kudos to Sony for playing this genuinely horrible dynamic so well.

Stephen
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Stephen

I love your comics detailing how your perspective as a gamer has changed as you became a parent ( or have you always shown that perspective and I just failed to notice? ). Every time I see it I feel warm and fuzzy.

Were you a dad before starting the comic strip? If not, are there any old favorites you feel like revisiting and giving a new look from a dad’s point of view?

Phil
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Phil

Hey there Tim, seems like your new video advertising in the bottom right corner has issues with autoplaying, just blasted me with sound despite the little tick on it saying that it was muted.

Ray
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Ray

As someone who had a dad who served in WW2 I can tell you that seems very familiar. It sounds like Kratos is a 1950’s kind of dad who is trying to teach you to be a man no matter how much it hurts him to do so. I have two boys and it has been that kind of battle, though I give a lot more hugs, to teaching them to be men, and showing them the love I feel for them. To quote my favorite MTG card “Experience is a good teacher, not a kind one.” I try to… Read more »

Thomas
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Thomas

These comics about being a dad but ALSO being a gamer are just as insufferable as mothers who constantly share images and posts on Facebook reminding you that they’re mothers.

“Only moms will get this image!”
“Look at this picture of a kid, doesn’t it make your mom senses tingle!”
“Nobody knows just how being a mom is the single most important thing in the world!”

We get it dude, you’re a dad, you don’t have to keep reminding us every few weeks or so.

MacLeod
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MacLeod

You’re not alone, Though in my case, it would be “press x to uncle”

Derfman1963
Guest
Derfman1963

Applying 21st-century relationship dynamics to 1st-century characters. This seems to be a problem with many media formats nowadays. I get that we are trying to relate to these characters in a manner that we are more familiar with, but I just think that it is also cool to have them be how they would be in the time frame they are set in.

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

I dunno, Norse Mythology seemed pretty big on family, even if it wasn’t the “blood is thicker than water” kind

Goddamn Freya went and shook down almost everything in the world to get it to promise not to hurt Baldr to try to prevent his dead.

Windwalker
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Windwalker

God of War was one of my favorite all-time series to play with PlayStation. It helps and it’s all wrapped in Greek mythology. Which is one of my favorite mythos. Plus, the gameplay was unique, the scenes and movement and backgrounds beautifully rendered in, and even the story and plot line was intriguing. I really miss it.

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

So it’s like the complete and polar opposite of Asura?