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After the loss of his son in 2014, Ryan Green and his family were stricken with the kind of grief that haunts the nightmares of parents everywhere. The Greens lost five-year-old Joel after a battle with brain cancer. To cope with the loss and mourn his son’s memory, Ryan Green did something not many other families think of when losing a family member: he designed a video game.

January 2016 marks the month of the release of that video game which is technically based on the story of the journey the family has taken in mourning and celebrating their son’s life. You can view the emotional trailer for the game below.



Ryan Green’s video game is titled That Dragon, Cancer and tells the story of a family who receives some very bad news pertaining to the health of their young son, Joel. Just as in real life, the narrative chronicles the life of their son and his fight against brain cancer. One user has taken to Twitter to express their reaction to the game.


Just by studying the trailer, the game is a work of art with its simplistic character design and a heavy, emotion-riddled narrative. There is no way to fail in the game. You can interact with objects by clicking on them and interact with Joel. But the main goal of the game is to be strong for the Green family and to have hope throughout the entirety of the journey. If there’s one way you can therapeutize yourself, it’s pouring your heart and soul into something you are passionate about. For some people it’s making movies or writing a novel, but for Ryan Green it was putting all of his emotions into a video game.

At this year’s Independent Games Festival, That Dragon, Cancer has been nominated for Excellence in Audio and Excellence in Narrative. It’s slated for release on January 12.

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