Video Game about Cancer and Grief

On my list for the next time I teach “Video Game Culture and Theory.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 11.39.44 AMThe “extra life” was a fixture of early video games, a reward for skilled players that was imbued with the language of reincarnation. Players would not say they earned additional time to play, or a bonus turn, upon reaching a certain score. They were bestowed an extra life, a new chance at existence.

Death is not so frivolous in “That Dragon, Cancer,” a video game about Joel Green, a terminally ill 5-year-old, and his parents, Ryan and Amy. It is a game about a single life — one that ends and then is gone forever.

The Greens, who live in Colorado, spent the past three years making the game with a small team of artists and designers. Ryan Green, who is a programmer, quit his job to work on the project. It is based on their own lives and that of Joel, who died while the game was in development. — NYT via The Bend Bulletin