Last week, I suggested to Syn that we watch the FFXIV Dad of Light series, which just came to Netflix recently. It’s a short series with only 8 episodes, a Japanese drama with subtitles. And surprisingly very enjoyable.
I’ve heard about this since before it released in Japan, and was happy to see it get an English language translation. This is based off a true story (blog here).
This is the story of a son and a father who have drifted apart over time. The son decides he wants to reconnect with his father, and introduces him to FFXIV (back in the 2.0 days). He knew that his dad enjoyed the oldskool Final Fantasy games, which was one of the few childhood memories he had.
The catch? The son wants to hide his identity from his dad, so that he can befriend his dad in game. Why? He wants to see if maybe his dad will speak more freely with a fellow FFXIV adventurer/friend than he does his son. (A lot of us know that feeling – how it’s easier to say things in a game to game friends than talk about them in real life.)
This show is NOT a prolonged commercial for FFXIV. The game is a catalyst and a means of connection for the characters, but never did I feel like the show was shoving FFXIV in the viewers’ faces saying “look how great this game is!” Dad of Light is primarily about the son, his struggles with is family, his struggles to fit in with his peers, his struggles to secure his position at his job… and how he finds relaxation and connection with other people through a MMO.
In fact, it’s really interesting to see a Japanese slice of life type show. Though, it seems like it’s probably on par with something like Full House for American families. You know, the type of show where the character has a problem, learns a lesson, and solves it in the space of the episode. But that’s fine.
Gaming itself was portrayed in a way that felt realistic and familiar. As a long-time FFXIV player, I didn’t feel out of place watching this group of FC friends as they helped a total noob player (the dad) learn his way in the world of Eorzea.
There was lots of humor, of course, since the dad was a 60 year old guy who had never played an MMO a day in his life, much less video games in general. Like… the first time son (the kitty) and father meet in game… and Dad doesn’t have a keyboard or know how to chat or emote yet. XD
But there was also an endearing aspect as you saw someone completely new to the genre become excited by the idea of going on adventures with real people in a virtual world… he made mistakes, he learned (more or less) how to Bard, and in the end…. well, watch it for yourself. 😉