This autobiographical game explores the death of a boy and shows the possibilities of the medium of video games
It was once trendy for major game developers to talk about how they would one day make players cry. You don’t hear it so much now – partly because this sentiment resulted in a lot of pompously overwrought stuff like Heavy Rain, but partly there was a realisation that away from the mainstream industry, games have been doing it for years. Indie developers have always used games to explore real-life topics from a personal perspective, whether that’s a life-changing event, or just settling in a new town. That Dragon, Cancer is in this lineage but the experience, losing a child to terminal illness, is so painful even in the abstract, you may at first wonder who would choose to share it.
While I was playing TDC, Barack Obama devoted a portion of his last State of the Union address to declaring war on cancer, a clarion call only slightly dampened by it being 45 years since the Nixon administration’s National Cancer Act promised the same. I say this not to jeer at a noble cause, but to show what an universal and intractable obsession the disease has become for our longer-lived societies. I still remember a careers teacher telling a class of bewildered teenagers that one-third of us would get cancer – he’d dropped the bomb about our parents “not being around forever” a few weeks previously.