That Dragon, Cancer and how the digital age talks about death

“You have to let me feel this!”

Ryan Green is half-shouting, half-sobbing at his wife Amy. They’re fighting over the way that Ryan is dealing with the knowledge that their son’s diagnosis will lead to a future of palliative care and grief. We never see their faces, never get more than that solitary audio clip, but it’s a powerful, poignant moment that ends with us plunging Ryan deeper into an ocean of light.

That Dragon, Cancer is not an easy game to experience. It’s a eulogy, an autobiography, a cry into the dark. It’s one family’s endeavour to make sense of a looming tragedy, to press pause on a life that is—was— running out of time. Joel, the tow-headed child at the heart of the whole endeavour, died in March last year. He would have turned seven on the game’s January 12th launch.

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