Yesterday independent studio Numinous Games released an interactive experience packaged as a game, called That Dragon, Cancer. The game deals with the real-life story of a family from Iowa, who lost their son to cancer and serves as a memorial of sorts to the little child.
Joel got diagnosed with a rare form of tumor in his head at the age of 12 months. Even though doctors thought he had just a few months to live, the child fought cancer for four years. That Dragon, Cancer is a series of interactive vignettes that present different episodes of that four-year struggle and what little I saw from the trailer was, to say the least, heartbreaking.
One might argue that games should be fun and this is not really a game in the strict sense of this word and they would probably be right. That Dragon, Cancer looks like a difficult pill to swallow, especially if you have kids of your own, which magnifies the emphatic relationship to the story tenfold. After reading the family's story and watching the trailer I was quite literally weeping.
Still, the game is not an endless journey through the dark. There is a strong religious vibe that resonates even through the trailer and there is an undercurrent of hope and light and faith.
Sadly but perhaps also predictably, the Steam discussion hub of the game is already full of the worst wretches humanity can produce who are deliberately making the worst kinds of jokes about cancer and death and chemo therapy.
Perhaps Phil Fish was right after all – perhaps gamers are the worst.
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