When a Colorado man’s one-year-old was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2010, he decided to create a video game that would both honor his son’s life and give others a peek into the family’s reality of living with a child who would die too young.
Ryan Green told TODAY that his game, called That Dragon, Cancer and set in the family’s house and with hospital scenes, would help his family remember Joel and prompt a larger discussion about death and mourning. The game’s website states it allows players to”relive memories, share heartache, and discover the overwhelming hope that can be found in the face of death.” Poems and spiritual messages appear throughout the game, Green said, and it even includes Joel’s laugh.
Joel died in March 2014 at age 5, but Green continues to spread his message. The documentary Thank You for Playing, which screened this month at the Tribeca Film Festival, chronicles the making of the game, which is due to be released later this year.
“Life moves on,” Green, who lives with his wife and four other children, said. “The game has given me a way to grieve and mourn. We have been open with the kids and when grief strikes, we can talk about it.”
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