That Dragon, Cancer is available on iOS today

That Dragon, Cancer was released back in January this year, shortly after my father’s cancer diagnosis. My first real brush with cancer, I clung to the game for guidance. That Dragon, Cancer didn’t necessarily tell me what to expect, but helped steer me through the things I needed to feel. I wished desperately that my parents would give it a try. But they wouldn’t—and not because they didn’t want to; they just really didn’t have a way to play a computer game (they’re tablet folks). Amy Green, Joel’s mother and writer on That Dragon, Cancer, wasn’t surprised by that. “We have suspected for a…

We All End Up Alone

We All End Up Alone is an upcoming game about battling cancer

It’s late. You’re sitting on the couch staring at the TV. The phone rings. You glance away from the dim screen over at the clock hanging on the wall. You reach over to grab the phone and hold it up to your ear. “Hey, Em.” The voice on the other end sounds tired. “He has cancer. It’s … terminal.” You close your eyes as the words, sinister and cruel, plague your thoughts. Terminal Cancer. “I need you to tell your brothers for me.” You hang up and sink further into the couch. The feet of the analog clock continue their…

Thank You For Playing

That Dragon, Cancer documentary turns to crowdfunding for wider release

While last month’s That Dragon, Cancer is, itself, an artifact worth discussing on a number of levels, especially in terms of its handle on faith and loss, there is more to the story than what the videogame contains. Some of that story can be found in the documentary Thank You For Playing, which is primarily the work of filmmakers David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall. The pair followed Ryan and Amy Green over an 18-month period as they slowly pieced together a videogame about their dying infant son Joel, who was diagnosed with brain cancer, and fought it for a number of…


Have a little more faith in That Dragon, Cancer

The most interesting part of the discussion surrounding this year’s That Dragon, Cancer is the reaction on the part of its audience to its religious element. The Telegraph’s review, for example, expressed puzzlement at the faith itself, but not at faith as a coping mechanism. Kill Screen’s own review discussed the way in which elements of that belief were incomprehensible to those who do not buy into the essential premise. A common theme in these reviews is that grief is eminently relatable; while faith, or at least the specific permutation found in the game, is considered potentially alienating. These same…


The game of grief

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. That Dragon, Cancer (PC, Mac) NUMINOUS GAMES Many people pretend to know how you should grieve. Endless self-help books and articles give instructions on what’s “normal” and “healthy” and “expected.” But in an actual experience of grief, you learn something much more terrifying: there are no rules for losing a loved one. No one knows how to get through it. That agonizing uncertainty is about the only commonality. Whether you scream or stay silent, feel numb or like you’re on fire—everyone grieves differently, each experience…


The impossibility of sadness in That Dragon, Cancer

Art has always been useful for drawing our attention to the controversially sad. Take something like Zoe Quinn’s text adventure Depression Quest; depression is, by its nature, a miserable affliction, but it is also a diagnostic category burdened by stigma, shame, and skepticism. Some people insist that reliance on psychotherapy or medication is a sign of moral weakness, while others deny that clinical depression exists at all. Playing Quinn’s game and allowing yourself to feel sad therefore becomes a form of social action; to play is also to take a stand, placing yourself on one side of a debate. The…

That Dragon, Cancer

That Dragon, Cancer is coming out extremely soon

A lot can change in three years. It was back then that the Green family and the small team with them started production on That Dragon, Cancer—a heartfelt videogame that passes through interactive vignettes like a dream, depicting the family’s journey with baby son Joel as he battled with cancer. He was still fighting it back then, Joel, that is—still alive and under the care of his parents. The story around the game changed when, in March 2014, he passed away. But he is not totally gone from this world, living on in the memories of those who loved him and inside the game…


A narrative experience where you are the cancer

In an interview for The Guardian, Ryan Green, one of the developers of That Dragon, Cancer, said, “We’ll have less games about saving the world and more about saving your child.” As developers and audiences grow older, more personal stories start to appear as subjects in games, led specially by the independent games movement. Apoptosis is a game that follows this path, telling the story of someone close to a cancer patient while offering us control of the spreading disease. it challenges us to continue the path of a disease The French team behind Apoptosis—François Rizzo, Lucien Cantonnet, Marjolaine Paz,…


A Star-Trek-style medical scanner could be here in the near future

A team of Stanford University electrical engineers have taken large steps towards creating a portable scanning device to detect hidden objects, with possible applications in the medical field as a detector of tumors in the brain. The team says the device could be ready for practical use within the next fifteen years, despite the technology sounding like something out of science fiction—specifically, the medical tricorder tool from the world of Star Trek. In the Star Trek universe, a tricorder is a handheld multifunctional tool used for data collection, sensor-scanning, and status analysis. Medical tricorders are used by doctors to scan…