After twelve-month-old Joel Green was diagnosed with terminal cancer, his parents started making a game to tell his story, and their story, and to immortalise him digitally. Joel died they were still making That Dragon, Cancer [official site], at age five, but you can now hear his story as the game’s out today.
That Dragon, Cancer follows Joel’s life through two hours of vignettes from his father’s perspective, including audio taken from home videos, narration from both parents, and poetry. It’s a celebration of Joel’s life as well as a documentary of his treatment, including scenes like visits to the park along with harrowing treatment scenes. Also, a metaphorical kart race through hospital corridors.
I played a short preview build in 2014, and didn’t really get on with it. The tale and narration brought tears to the eyes of even this monster, but I found the game laid over the top clashed with that – enough to seriously detract from the whole experience. I haven’t played the final version, though, and couldn’t tell you how much it’s changed. And I am, as stated, a monster with silty water for blood. Anyway, I think someone will be properly telling us Wot They Think of it at some point.
That Dragon, Cancer is out now for Windows and Mac, at £10.99 on Steam or £10.49 through a Humble widget on its site (which’ll give you a Steam key anyway, and give the devs a bigger share). Here’s the launch trailer: