4 RPG Moms You Have to Love

Mother's Day is upon us, so let's be total pieces of shit and honor digital representations of mothers before the actual women who brought us into the world.

Possible spoilers for pretty much every game listed.


Cloud's Mom (Final Fantasy VII)

When main character Cloud Strife is telling us about his past in Final Fantasy VII, one of the few things he remembers accurately is the long talk with his mom. Reminiscing, Cloud notes that his mother looked fine and "a few days later, she died." Within that time, Sephiroth burned a good part of the fucking town.

Cloud is shown walking into his house to check for survivors, then walking out with shoulders slumped and head shaking. Know what kills people regardless of their health and looks? Fire. Did Cloud's mom die in a fire? Holy shit.

Then again, when he shows up in Nibelheim, no one remembers the fire but him, so was that part made up too? I dunno, that part of FFVII is kind of hard to keep straight.

Also worth note is that she encourages cougar hunting or finding an older girlfriend, and Aeris is older than Cloud. Aeris soon dies before your eyes.

Final Fantasy VII is a game about watching the women you love die decades before their time and in horrible ways.


Crono's Mom (Chrono Trigger)

After some prologue-y stuff to get the Hype Ball rolling, our real introduction to the game proper is Crono's mom waking him up. "Crono, Crono, wake up." She reminds us about the Millennial Fair, and that our friend Lucca will be there. Every time I restart Chrono Trigger, I grin and look forward to this intro.

After that, interaction is sparse, but Crono's mom is still upbeat. If you visit her while Crono is, you know, dead, she asks about him like any good mother would. I imagine that she can't detect the party's awkward lies because she's anticipating positive replies. Is that projection? Self-fulfilling prophecies? There's a proper term in here and I'm forgetting it because I'm writing this in a horrible emotional state of being way too far from my moms.

There's also a cute ending thread which has her chasing a cat into a time portal. The comical resolution is that — ha haaaah — more time travel hijinx ensue as Crono, Lucca, and the gang hop back into the portal to chase Crono's mom all over time and bring her (and the cat) home. Silly mom.


Lilly, Justin's Mom (Grandia)

Okay, first off, she used to be a pirate. How fricking cool is that?

She's got a loud mouth, takes no sass, and is as free a spirit as you'll ever meet. While other moms might make harmless jokes about their kids, Lilly is more direct, even saying at one point that "Justin's brain can't get any worse than it is." Oh, and she's using that line to defend the practice of striking him in the head with baking pans.

Grandia is from an era when English versions JRPG dialogue was cringeworthy more often than not, and voice acting was new and therefore terrible, but you can still see and enjoy Lilly's hilarious personality through all that muck. Since she was a pirate in her youth, she understands that she can't — and probably shouldn't — stop her son from going out into the world and finding his own way.

When Justin is basically like, "Well I'm gonna run out on a super dangerous adventure now," I half expect Lilly to respond, "Okay! Can you punch an asshole customer on your way out?"

She may seem abusive, what with all the many times she cracks Justin's skull with kitchenware, but remember that he's an RPG hero and takes a lot harder shots than that on a regular basis. It's cool.


Mother (Earthbound)

Though it's called "Earthbound" abroad, this RPG comes from the series titled "Mother" in Japan. Earthbound was the second in the series. And, yeah, family relationships play a subtle yet important role in them. (I say this not having any experience with the first Mother. Still, two out of three ain't bad, right?)

The mom in Earthbound/Mother takes care of protagonist Ness with game mechanics that mimic real nostalgia and family love. In game, there's a status effect called "Homesick," and the only ways to cure it are to talk to your mom on the phone or go back to your house. When at home, your mom will of course chat you up and make you your favorite food.

A lot of things in the game trace back to themes of family, particularly parents. It's therefore no wonder that I often see people getting very emotional when bringing up the parental relationships in Earthbound. I've read accounts of some players even crying because of how hard this game hit them.

So, capital Mother, thanks for being a good lower-case mother.

To all real moms, happy Mother's Day. Truly.