Here it is, adventurers, the steamy hot gossip you’ve been waiting all weekend for! If you read my review of Dream Daddy, you’ll know my thoughts about the technical aspects of the game, sure. But you won’t have gotten to the real heart of the matter: which of these studly dudes swept me off of my feet? Well today I will answer that question, along with going into detail about my opinions of each dad and the dates you experience with them.
Oh, and in case it isn’t clear by this point: SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS! There you go, one for each dad in the game. If you want my spoiler-free thoughts on the game then click the link above to check out my review.
Before I ever played Dream Daddy, I’d seen some memes about the game and I was picking up on a sort of universal theme: people did not like Joseph. So when I started the game for myself, I wanted to go ahead and try dating him first so I could see what all of the fuss was about. Now I know, and yeesh…this guy is not a great Dream Daddy.
First of all, you might notice his name: Joseph Christiansen. His wife? Mary Christiansen. Yeah, Joseph and Mary Christiansen. Great names to go along with his career as a youth minister. Joseph is the “Christian” character in Dream Daddy, which immediately made me wary because I in real life am a Christian. I know how my religion is portrayed in the media – particularly the ones I would label as extremists – and it made me nervous for how they were gonna deal with Joseph. A Christian youth minister who is married to a woman but is a dating option in a game about gay men? It’s hard to handle that tastefully, and I am sad to say that I don’t think the game succeeded at all.
I have written the Joseph section twice now, because the first draft got WAY too heavy and could have been its own blog post, so this time I’m just going to leave it at that. Joseph’s identity as both gay and a leader in his local Christian community could have been explored in a really interesting way, but instead he was boiled down to a very stereotypical portrayal of what it means to be both of those things. Also, a man who would name his child Christian Christiansen possesses unlimited cruelty (says the man who named his character Clifford Hangerson).
Robert is the character that, when I first saw him, I immediately said “nope, not my type.” The whole brooding barfly thing doesn’t do it for me, and his “party all the time” attitude is self-destructive in a way that I don’t want to mess with. However, the game acknowledges that and actually goes in a really interesting direction with Robert.
Robert’s dates have some pretty quality comedy. I loved being able to scream “I HAVE A CHILD I NEED TO CARE FOR” when Robert asked me to keep drinking late into the night. The Queensbury Rules scene was really great and I enjoyed seeing that punk kid Ernest getting some comeuppance. And embarrassing that lovable mess Quinn in front of a bunch of tourists was a great time. However, moreso than the comedy, I enjoyed helping Robert to see how his destructive habits were affecting his life.
This is one of many examples of this game reversing my expectations when it comes to how the characters turn out. He doesn’t turn out to be a diamond in the rough whose constant drinking is something to be glossed over – Robert has a genuine problem and you help him to see it. Additionally, you don’t “save” him by dating him. Robert makes the responsible decision to work on himself and you do not end up with him during his ending. Although it doesn’t necessarily fit the typical vibe of a dating sim, it’s a mature choice and choices like that are part of why I think this game is a cut above others of its kind.
I have a lot of respect for Brian, as he is the one man who is rocking a legit dad bod in this game. His build is justified in a way that the other characters (save Craig) are not – he’s got a belly on him but he’s still pretty cut from the hard labor he does constructing decks. More than the other characters in the game, his design feels like a real person.
As far as his personality…eh. The whole competitive, one-upping thing is a pain in the neck. I get that on the third date that whole thing is justified and the player character is very much to blame for it, but it makes a lot of the interactions with him kind of unpleasant. I also disliked his dates because they heavily featured mini-games, and if you read my review then you know that I did not enjoy the mini-games of Dream Daddy. I experienced a lot of technical issues with the golfing game specifically, so that put me in a bad mood from the start when dating Brian.
Side note: his daughter Daisy is pretty great. I love the friendship that develops between her and Amanda despite their age difference. It’s cool that Amanda takes Daisy under her wing and helps her to socialize more – just one more example of why the real best character in this game is Amanda!
Damien is another character that I honestly expected to hate. As soon as he showed up at Dead, Goth, and Beyond I thought I had him pegged – a vampire-obsessed teenage wannabee straight out of a Twilight-esque supernatural love story. Instead, he turned out to be a genuinely nice guy who just has a quirky love for Victorian style.
Damien loves Victorian era clothing and architecture but isn’t so obsessed that he rejects modernity entirely. He still owns a cell phone and computer, still uses Dadbook, goes to the movies, all that good stuff. Once I got to know him a little bit better I got the vibe that his hobby was more artful than I originally gave him credit for. It was also neat seeing Damien with his son Lucien, who seemed to me like he would be a second Ernest but turned out to be a bit better of a character than that. Damien is pretty smooth with his kid and that was a neat side of him to see.
Damien continued defying expectations throughout my dates with him. His dislike of horror movies, his “true form” and volunteer job, his insecurity that you wouldn’t care about him if you knew his real self, all of this worked together to make Damien stand out among the dads. My gut instincts about which dads I probably would and would not like were pretty solid, but Damien caught me off guard and challenged my expectations of what dating a Goth dad would be like.
Dude, Craig is SUCH a bro. At least, it seems that way in the beginning. However, getting to know him a little better, I began to see Craig in a new light. Yeah, he’s fitness obsessed, but his reason for wanting to be healthy is pretty relatable (even for someone like me who maybe is not into the whole fitness thing). Craig is the kind of person who does everything he can to make his children happy at the expense of his own self, and helping him to understand that he needs to care for himself mentally is a pretty satisfying journey.
I’ve always been the kind of person who over-commits to things. In middle and high school I joined too many clubs. At work I jump in on too many workgroups and projects. Heck, even with my hobbies I tend to get in too deep – remember a couple months ago when I tried to watch every E3 presentation during a week I was also working full-time AND teaching at Vacation Bible School? It’s easy to see how Craig could be so involved and so exhausted, and being able to identify with him made him a lot more significant to me during our dates.
Craig also has some other things going for him. His twins are the most adorable children in this game. Upon seeing them, my wife immediately said “I’ll date him just for the kids!” and I was inclined to agree. Hunting for little Robyn’s toy on the second date was a neat little sequence that actually does penalize you for screwing around and doing everything in the wrong order. Dating Craig was way more fun than I expected it to be starting out, and I enjoyed his story arc.
Also, word of advice: ALWAYS looks at Craig’s butt.
Mat is the “cool” dad, the coffee shop dude who loves music and wears a flower crown to make his daughter happy. I figured I would like Mat a lot, although he struck me as sort of a “Mary Sue” type. Instead, my dates with Mat really didn’t turn out so great.
First of all, that concert mini-game is absolute garbage. I know that I have already expressed that I basically hated every mini-game in Dream Daddy, but I particularly hated that one. I tried it six or seven times without ever winning. No explanation of controls or your goal, no indication of your health, and you can fall off the edge of the map? How do you fall off the edge of a concert? I’ve been to multiple concerts and none of them included a giant gaping chasm you could just tumble in to, but whatever. Maybe that’s exclusive to the Canadian punk band scene.
Beyond that, Mat and I just had lousy chemistry. Every dad I dated, I scored an S rank on the first two dates and then maybe scored a bit lower on the third date (though I still got S on the third date for some). With Mat, I consistently scored on the lower end of the scale on every single date. We just didn’t gel together. Our tastes in music aren’t the same, I don’t smoke weed; I’m just not “cool” enough for him, I guess. That’s okay – he can figure out where his tongue goes by himself while I go check out the rest of the single dads in the neighborhood.
Hugo is the dad I saved for last because I figured he was probably closest to my type. Avid reader, teacher, very passionate about his hobbies, all good things. I was even able to move past the fact that I really don’t think Ray was a good fit for his voice (or maybe I wasn’t, since I’m still complaining about it). After seeing the all the other dates I really anticipated my relationship with Hugo to focus a lot on Ernest and how much of a mess he is. Instead, Ernest factored less into my relationship with Hugo than he did in some of the other date arcs.
Hugo’s secret hobby is wrestling, which is funny because my wife used to be really into wrestling and one of my closest friends is an avid wrestling fan as well. As a result, I am adjacent to wrestling and know people like Hugo, so I understood a lot of what he was saying about it as far as the storyline, the drama, etc. And since I am used to nerdy people who love wrestling, it wasn’t really that big of a deal or revelation to me, but I get how it does seem “low brow” for an educated man of his caliber.
Hugo was an okay guy and I enjoyed his dates, particularly because Quizzmaster Quinn finally gets to find happiness in Hugo’s story arc. Hugo also has one of my favorite Dadbook profiles simply because of the very last question. The fact that he sits and worries about the fact that people who hate E-Readers are just fascinated with the idea of books rather than actual reading…that’s awesome. I get that.
SO WHO WAS MY DREAM DADDY?!
The time has come, adventurers. Out of all these handsome dads, which one stole my heart and swept me off of my feet? I feel like it’s already pretty clear from the descriptions that I wrote up that Joseph, Mat, and Brian didn’t make the cut. Hugo didn’t fit me as well as I thought he would and while Robert’s story arc was pretty satisfying, I still didn’t really want to date him. Help him, sure. But end up with the guy? Nah. That brings it down to Craig Cahn and Damien Bloodmarch. Dad-bro and gothic geek. So who did I choose as my Dream Daddy?
Damien! Damien surprised me in a very positive way by breaking the mold of the stereotypical goth. His Victorian manners were charming but he’s also a down-to-earth guy with a good job. Being with him isn’t about fixing his life – in fact, instead you work together to help Hugo and Ernest by finding them a dog companion to love! I really enjoyed that aspect of Damien’s ending. Damien has some cool hobbies and I feel like we could get along well, as I would find his activities more interesting than Craig just talking about P90X or whatever all the time. Despite my lousy first impression of him, he ended up being my favorite dad to date and is the one I settled on in the end.
So what about you, adventurers? Have you played Dream Daddy? Who has been your favorite to date? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!
There were so many people cosplaying as the Dads, particularly Joseph, at Kitacon last weekend! I think I’m actually going to have to check out this game to see what all the fuss is about.
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