That Dragon, Cancer is a game that represents the experiences of the Green family as they lived with and cared for Joel Green, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at 1 year old. Through a variety of metaphorical first-person scenarios, the game recreates what it was like to know and play with Joel, take care of him in the hospital, and receive prognoses from doctors. It is a heart-wrenching game that gives us the opportunity to live a situation we hope to never encounter in real life.
Although Joel passed away in March 2014 at 5 years of age, development of That Dragon, Cancer continues, including a currently-in-progress Kickstarter. In this interview, Joel’s father Ryan Green and the game’s co-creator, Josh Larson, share their memories of Joel and discuss who they made the game for, how they settled on the abstract art style, what the reaction has been to their crowdfunding campaign, why they’re launching on Ouya, and what’s next for the team.
Download the audio edition of this interview below or from Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Overcast, Pandora, Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, RadioPublic, or the Internet Archive. Click past the jump for links to resources mentioned in this episode.
- Randi Harper’s Good Game Auto Blocker
- Harper’s open letter to the EFF
- An outline of Brianna Wu’s day
- Alanah Pearce contacts trolls’ mothers
- RiffTrax Live: Santa Claus
- Doxxing defense: Remove your personal info from data brokers (via Computerworld)
- AbleGamers declines donation, gets DDoS’ed
- Women in Games Boston
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Game Development Club (WPI GDC)
- That Dragon, Cancer on Kickstarter
- Joel Evan Green passes away (March 13, 2014)
- Jenn Frank’s article on That Dragon, Cancer (reposted to Kotaku)
- He’s Not Dead Yet, a 28-page picture book
- Josh Larson’s answer to "Is That Dragon, Cancer even a game?"
- Why Games Need Grace, an article by Ryan Green for Gamechurch.com
- Captain Novolin (see also: Packy and Marlon & Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus)
- Depression Quest
- Josh Larson’s game design blog
- Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics
- Amy Green’s blog about Joel
- The Indie Fund
- Thank You For Playing documentary
- Malika Zouhali-Worrall‘s Call Me Kuchu
Full disclosure: the host of Polygamer is a backer of That Dragon, Cancer’s Kickstarter.