This Sunday is Mother's Day; a day when gamers and non-gamers alike take a break to remember those women who brought them into the world. And yet, a closer look at the video game genre would lead one to believe that game developers and writers have some serious mommy issues.
It isn't just that mothers are often less than ideal, or at times a source of conflict within gameplay; it's that when video game mothers go bad, they go very bad.
Think your mother doesn't deserve flowers (or a new car)? Take a look at our list of The 7 Worst Video Game Mothers.
Jimmy's Mom - 'Bully'
Jimmy Hopkins' mom from Rockstar Games' underrated Bully may only make a brief appearance in the game's opening scenes, but it doesn't take long to make a bad impression. The eye shadow and leopard print/purple outfit is a sign that she'll be as hard on the ears as she is on the eyes, but it's her lack of interest in Jimmy that irks us.
Unique taste in clothes and make-up is fine, but her total lack of interest in her son, dumping him in Bulworth Academy while she goes on a year-long honeymoon seems pretty cold. Especially since Jimmy is revealed to be a good-hearted kid compared to some bullies around him, even defending his mother's honor on one occasion.
She may have a reason for her behavior, but until we hear them in that long-discussed Bully sequel, she remains a firm entry on our list.
Flemeth - 'Dragon Age'
A wise man once said that it isn't our abilities that show who we truly are, but our decisions (it was Dumbledore). So while Dragon Age's most infamous witch, Flemeth may possess powers we would kill for, what she chooses to do with them makes her a serious threat - not to mention a terrible mother.
Gifted with the ability to shape-shift from human being to any number of creatures, the fact that Flemeth is most well known for her High Dragon form speaks volumes. Deceitful, double-crossing and deadly are one thing, but her approach to motherhood is another.
The 'Witch of the Wilds' may be rumored to possess the key to immortality, the truth is much darker than any spell or potion; when Flemeth feels her last days approaching, she raises a daughter to one day possess, and star the cycle anew. There's living vicariously through your children, and then there's Flemeth.
Alma Wade - 'F.E.A.R.'
We're willing to admit that Alma Wade's lacking parental skills don't stem from ill will or a dislike for children in general, but as a result of a very rough upbringing. Essentially taken prisoner as a child and experimented upon thanks to her psychic abilities. But she didn't go quietly.
As a solution, Alma was made to produce children, who would hopefully possess her same abilities. F.E.A.R. fans know that the plan (partly) worked, but there's just no way of getting around it: Alma isn't the mother her boys needed. It's bad enough that she wanted to turn the earth into a fiery wasteland, and killed both innocent and guilty in her quest, but invading her own son's brain to work for her? That's low.
F.E.A.R. 3 in particular saw Alma forcing her sons to make decisions that none should ever have to; even if the brothers had a better relationship than some we could name, Alma makes any list of mothers that give us goosebumps.
Matriarch Benezia - 'Mass Effect'
The oldest excuse in the book: "I was brainwashed." But even if Matriarch Benezia began working for Saren in an effort to sway him back to the side of good, she ultimately failed. Sure, the Reaper indoctrination explored in the Mass Effect series is a potent force, but at over a thousand years old, we can't help but think Benezia should have known better.
The mother to Liara T'Soni, Commander Shepard's Asari crew member, Matriarch Benezia is remembered by her daughter a a warm, comforting figure - before corrupted by Reaper influence. While that may be true, our memories of her center mostly on her use of biotic attacks and commando units to wipe us off the face of Noveria.
She may have kept a piece of herself good until the end, but as Saren's second-in-command, and the source of one of the series' more challenging fights, she's a no-brainer for this list.
Mom - 'The Binding of Isaac'
Plenty of games use the age-old rivalry between child and parent to add dramatic tension to a lengthy plot, but The Binding of Isaac puts a far more literal spin on the idea; posing Isaac's mother as the final boss of the game's first chapter.
Granted, only parts of Isaac's mom are ever actually seen on screen (leg, hand, eye), but it's more than enough to make an impression. Plus, she also happens to be the main cause of the many horrors unleashed upon Isaac throughout the course of the game.
She may not have the artistic detail, dialogue, or truly grotesque characterization as other mothers on our list, but Isaac's mom is one for whom flowers of greeting cards are a rare occurrence.
Brigid Tenenbaum - 'BioShock'
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions; while Brigid Tenenbaum certainly ended up doing truly horrific work, we're not ready to claim that she did so in the pursuit of good. As the German scientist behind the creation of ADAM, the mysterious stem cell mixture that eventually turned the residents of Rapture into corrupted addicts (among other things) Tenenbaum was always in pursuit of science, not maternal satisfaction.
As a result, the Little Sisters of Rapture became both test subject and children to the good doctor. One look at these clone children proves that whoever looked after them clearly had plenty of other priorities, meaning as much as Tenenbaum may have claimed to feel responsible for the Little Sisters, or would later come to realize the error of her ways, she belongs on our list.
Dahlia Gillespie - 'Silent Hill'
We've seen it in horror movies a million times: a young boy or girl starts attracting supernatural entities, becomes possessed, or makes a new friend who turns out to be a poltergeist. Usually, a responsible parent grows concerned, and contacts outside help. But if you're Silent Hill's Dahlia Gillespie, you decide to use your daughter to carry the child of the dark god worshiped by your cult.
It's true that the Silent Hill series has become somewhat known for its gallery of less-than-stellar mother figures, but there's no competing with Dahlia. Later installments in the series have changed Dahlia from an ill-meaning religious extremist to an unwilling participant, but no one's fooled.
Dahlia actually makes mothers who simply ignore their child's telekinetic abilities and harnessing of dark magic seem downright loving.
The mothers on our list range from negligent to downright evil, so unless your own mother is engaging in acts that could see her imprisoned for the rest of her life or charged with affronts against science, you're better off than plenty of video game protagonists.
What do you make of our list? Have we rounded up the 7 worst maternal instincts in gaming, or are there a few women you wish to add to the list? Sound off in the comments.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.