An immersive, narrative videogame that retells Joel Green’s 4-year fight against cancer through about two hours of poetic, imaginative gameplay that explores themes of faith, hope and love.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (21 reviews) - 80% of the 21 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (571 reviews) - 90% of the 571 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jan 11, 2016

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Buy That Dragon, Cancer + Thank You For Playing BUNDLE (?)

Includes 2 items: That Dragon, Cancer, Thank You For Playing

 

Recent updates View all (2)

March 14

That Dragon, Cancer on Sale & Numinous Games team is heading to GDC

Hi All,

I just wanted to send out a quick note as we sit here in the Seattle airport on layover to San Francisco to say thank you for your support over the last few months as we've released this game and all that comes with this sort of thing.

We're on our way to GDC because our project was nominated for the Independent Game Festival this year for Excellence in Narrative and Excellence in Audio. We're honored to be part of the festival, and we're looking forward to meeting more people at the IGF pavilion as we demo the game once more.

We couldn't have completed this project without the support of our backers, and we couldn't have atteneded GDC without the generosity of a few who raised the funds for us to go! And, we wouldn't be able to continue making games with out the support of all of you!

So, thank you!

This is also a big week for the filmmakers of Thank you for Playing, who were able to raise the funds to release their film about our family and the game in theaters. The film will be premiering in NYC, San Francisco and Los Angeles on Friday.

We hope to see some of you at GDC!

-Ryan, Amy, Josh, Jon, Ryan C, Brock, and Mike

11 comments Read more

Reviews

“I think it might have changed me in some way that I'm yet to fully understand. ... If you play this game, it may change you.”
Polygon

“I’ve played a lot of games...but nothing has felt as important or rewarding as making Joel giggle”
The Verge

About This Game

"This is where we go to remember our son Joel, up through here along this path. We want to show you who he was, and how his life changed us. Can we walk here together for a while?"

A videogame developer's love letter to his son; an immersive narrative driven experience to memorialize Joel Green and, through his story, honor the many he represents. That Dragon, Cancer is a poetic and playful interactive retelling of Joel’s 4-year fight against cancer.

Using a mix of first-person and third-person perspective, and point-and-click interaction, this two-hour narrative experience invites the player to slow down and immerse themselves in a deeply personal memoir featuring audio taken from home videos, spoken word poetry, and themes of faith, hope, despair, helplessness and love, along with in-game tributes to the loved ones of over 200 of our Kickstarter backers.

Can you find hope in the face of death?


Note: Thank You For Playing is an independent project, produced and directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit. The Green family along with the rest of the Numinous team did not produce the film, but they are very honored to be the subjects of the film.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7 or higher
    • Processor: 1.80GHz dual core processor
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Video card with 512MB of VRAM
    • Storage: 5 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Yes (Headphones highly recommended)
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X v10.7 Lion or higher (64bit)
    • Processor: 1.80GHz dual core processor
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Video card with 512MB of VRAM
    • Storage: 5 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Yes (Headphones highly recommended)
    Minimum:
    • OS: Tested on Ubuntu 14.04, 15.04, 15.10 / Latest Steam OS
    • Processor: 1.80GHz dual core processor
    • Graphics: Video card with 512MB of VRAM
    • Sound Card: Yes (Headphones highly recommended)
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Very Positive (21 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (571 reviews)
Recently Posted
BillyCore
2.2 hrs
Posted: August 22
The game is a very touching story, It brings some memories back of mine, Joel was fighting cancer and he lost but in the time he lived he was happy and he wasn't going through a hard time, this game brang heaps and heaps of tears down my face
Helpful? Yes No Funny
AntisocialChump
2.5 hrs
Posted: August 21
Gonna go cry forever.... I am mad that NO MONEY at ALL is going towards the family...
Helpful? Yes No Funny
kaikaips3
1.6 hrs
Posted: August 18
Words cannot express how beautiful this game is. This walks the very ill-defined line between poetry and games, and is ann excellent example that games are art. You should know this game is not about how fun it's gameplay is, but rather how it's gameplay expresses what a family went through. This game is about hope, faith and above all, the fact that sometimes we have to accept the inevitable, even if we hope it won't be true. This game is about experiencing a very short life through poetry, imagery, visual art, recordings, everything that can be poured into your soul and your heart will be if you play this game. It is not about being the Green family and changing their outcome, it is about experiencing their struggle, and that is an expressiveness that can only be brought about in games. It is about loving Joel throughout the whole experience, even if you know you can't keep him. Yes, I recommend this game. I recommend this game to poets, gamers, artists, and anyone who holds hope close to their heart.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
MaroonAugust
2.4 hrs
Posted: August 17
I bought this game a while ago.. but, for months, I couldn't dare to play.. because I knew what it would bring to me. I knew I would feel sad and might cry.. and it did when I finally clicked the play button today.

I was always thinking games can be better than movies in engaging the emotions. Players have to think and move to get through the games. In some games, your moves are everything. You constantly move and do something. This is not that kind of game. You don't need to move much. You can get through it pretty quickly if you want to. But you don't play this game to see the ending. We all know the ending; the ending that nobody wanted. You play this to "feel"; and the developers, the parents of Joel's, take you through their emotional turmoil. It's a rather tightly set story. There's one storyline and it seems like there's mostly one way to make progress. You cannot skip a part or scene. You have to go through it like the parents had to go through it. It is painful. However indirect, watching a little baby son dying in your arms is painful; and that makes this game great. After playhing this game, you remember at least three names: Ryan, Amy and Joel Green.

The part where I felt the power of this medium called "Game" is when I was walking down the hallway in the hospital full of cards. I literally opened all the cards. Every single one of them. And I cried. They were the messages to their moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, uncles and friends who had fought or are fitghting the dragon. While opening them one by one, I was so glad that I was playing this game and that I could open all of them. If it were a movie, they might open one or two of them to tell you what they are and the long shot of the hallway full of the cards would be it. I won't have a choice of acknowledging the messages someone sent to their loved ones.

All in all, it is not an easy game - playing itself is easy, there's nothing much you need to do. But digesting it is what I mean. But I didn't even get distracted once playing this game for 2 hours. Mesmerizing.

Helpful? Yes No Funny
hughstleger317
2.3 hrs
Posted: August 14
Oh God where to start well I'd have to say do not play if you are suicidal or have lost a child to illnes. However this is one of the most influental and impacting experiences I have went on that I even called joel my son at multiple points. I believe this to be something that should be kept in a hard copy for future generations.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
makersley
2.8 hrs
Posted: August 13
I like walking simulators. I like philosophical games. I like things with a bit of depth to them. I like things that don't feel they have to be traditionally representational.

I'm sure this was very cathartic for the people who made it and that it is deeply personal to them. There's no reason for this to be interactive. Watch someone else's Let's Play; then you'll find out whether it's worth having the experience without having to pay for the privilege. I certainly wish I had. Shallow and boring. Next!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
EyesOfAPanther
1.6 hrs
Posted: August 13
It is a sad story, but as a game it is awful.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cool Cat
2.4 hrs
Posted: August 12
SPOILERS: The baby dies.
Plus there's a Totalbiscuit and Steins;Gate reference.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ida Hoff
2.8 hrs
Posted: August 12
This is one of the most importan and most beautiful game i ever played! Thanks for making this <3
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Metal Ender
2.2 hrs
Posted: August 11
It really does barely qualify as a game but it does offer something of an experience. It won't be in my top ten of the year but it I can still recommend it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
I took the two hour journey into this game, knowing full well that I was going to be going on an emotional rollar coaster. Needless to say, I was correct. Not only did I feel the sorrow and sadness that the Green family felt, but I also shared in the joy of Joel's laughter and beautiful ending.
As the player, you switch from third person to first person as different people. For me, this gave me the opportunity to understand how the different characters were handeling Joel's situation. The graphics are stunning but different from other games as they show no facial details on the characters, making you imagine what the characters are going through. I did not know going into the game, but the voice actors were the actual family, and the adorable laughing is Joel's himself; looking at this, I would not want the voice acting any other way as it adds more sentiment to the story.
Many people are cautious about playing games with sadder topics like about cancer or death, but I think that everyone should give this game a try as it will affect anyone who plays it. Overall, finding the correct words to describe this game as a whole is difficult as it makes you question uncertain topics on death or if there is an afterlife as well as questioning what would you do if you were in this situation. These philosophical questions only make the game better, and it is by far one of the best games I played. I would highly recommend playing this game with a box of tissues at your side because you will need them.
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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
There was a moment in this game when I was forced out of myself, watching a fragile child with a balloon floating peacefully, as I frantically tried to steer him away from the black tumors. Each sickening pop reminded me that I couldn't keep him safe forever, he was running out of baloons, and more and more kept appearing. Pop Pop Pop. He falls. My heart is breaking in two, and I can feel tears streaming down my face. I can't catch him. I can't save him. I can only watch him fall and think to myself "He is just a child."

I honestly can't recommend this game enough.

My one warning would be for those who experience motion sickness as I do, there are a few moments that will make you feel dizzy. Try to take this game nice and slow and that should prevent you from feeling sick.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 29
(Experienced in VR) No spoilers.

A unique and emotional experience that was extremely immersive in VR even though it was like a semi-cinema mode. I loved this game as a whole and the vast majority of the different parts within it. For me, and I would dare say any parent, it was intensly cathartic. There was one part that was so perfectly designed to provide the perspective of a parent going through this experience I could barely make it through the game. When I was done with that part, I don't want to spoil it, my mind was blown! I barely made it through, it was so emotionally traumatic, so painful, so uncomfortable. I think if I wasn't so thoroughly enveloped in the experience at the time, and had actually remembered I was using a VR headset, I would have pulled off the vive during the specific part metioned previously! I was shaking, crying, practically balled up on the floor in agony. Right after that sequence pulled the tear soaked Vive off my face and I thought: "WHOA, what was that! How...wha....WOW!!!"

My poor little three year old son was excessively snuggled, hugged, and kissed a lot more than he was used to after I experienced this game!

Obviously, I highly recommend this game! I am not sure if I have even reviewed any game before in my life! Seriously though, it is unique, powerful, and I cherish it's influence. I think any person, and especially any parent would feel similarly. I plan to share with some of my friends and family.

To the parents this story involves: Thank you, I am sure this was difficult to make. It is beautiful, I honestly would describe it as a masterpiece! Ironically through experiencing something where your hope was lost and tragically, dare I say violently and cruelly murdered even, this story inspires hope in people who may have to endure a similar experience. You showed others that you can survive it. You may not come through it the same, or without painful or crippling injury, you showed everyone it is at least possible to get through it.

I know it may not be possible but making a full VR/native VR experience of this with a few adjustments to take advantage of the increased immersion VR provides would be AMAZING!!! Even a much shorter version that uses the core of this game would be great to see! I loved the concept and how well this was implimented. I just can't get over how much the VR factor seemed to matter and influence the experience for me! It was revolutionary!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 12
This is one of the most importan and most beautiful game i ever played! Thanks for making this <3
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 11
I think everyone should play this game. It's not really a game in the typical sense, more of a narrative driven experience.
The game is best experienced with headphones.

The story tells the true-story of a young boy called Joel, and his 4-year-long battle with cancer after his parents discovered he had an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor at the age of 1.

I give this game 9/10

To read about this game in more detail, or to make a donation, then please visit this website for the game :)

http://www.thatdragoncancer.com/our-family/
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
629 of 684 people (92%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 15
I don't usually go in for reviewing games here, but having seen the Kotaku article about some of the things being written here about this game, I'll bite. I became a father eleven months ago. My partner, the mother of our daughter, saw me reading about 'That Dragon, Cancer' last month and asked what it was about. When I told her, she looked stunned and asked: 'Why would anyone want to play that?' I had no answer for her, but just knew that I did want to play it. Now that I have, I think I know why, and why I recommend it.

The death of a loved one is painful and traumatic. We cope with it as best we can; which is to say we utterly fail to cope with it, but try to go on living. I hope never to experience what the Greens went through, watching their son Joel dying, but admire their strength and courage in facing that experience and trying to make something positive of it. For me, the revulsion people feel about the notion of 'playing' this 'game' (I'll admit the words really don't fit) is a shamefully cowardly response - at the end of the day, we can hit Quit, and nothing has changed in our livess. The Greens lived this and did their best to process and communicate it. That's what art is all about, and shying away from it just because it makes us uncomfortable is symptomatic only of our own weakness, our insistence on an artificial safe-zone.

As a card-carrying atheist, I'm on a polar extreme away from the faith the Greens have, but I still found every moment of this episodic narrative driven audio-visual experience utterly relatable and overwhelmingly human. That's no mean feat, and speaks volumes of the honesty, the sheer soul-bearing earnestness that's gone into this harrowing project. I'll grant that the visuals may not be to everyone's tastes, the thematic examination of faith may be too cerebral for some, and the fundamentally morbid subject matter (but no - this is a celebration of a life, along with all the agony of its too-soon death) will put many off; but accusations of profiteering from their son's death can only sit somewhere on a spectrum between flat-out trolling and plain ignorance. If you sit somewhere toward the latter end, I urge you to play the game and experience it. It won't be much fun, but it will be worthwhile. As for the trolls, I hope they find some happiness on their own.
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167 of 182 people (92%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 27
As a police officer not too many things can make me cry these days. I heard the movie UP was supposed to be a tear jerker but it really didn't phase me. That Dragon, Cancer... well, this game is a different story. Simply put, this is the most emotional game I've ever played. I knew the game was only around 2 hours long, and I originally had plans to play another game I recently got immediately after finishing this one, but by the time I finished this game the only thing I wanted to do was pick up my baby boy and hold him tight.

I imagine this game will be more powerful for those who have kids, and I imagine it may even be TOO powerful for those who have had kids with terminal illness or have otherwise lost their children at a young age.

In this game you essentially get a glimpse of what a real family went through with their son, from finding a tumor to hearing the news that chemotherapy had failed and that their son would die within months. You feel for the parents as they experience a wide range of emotions from sadness, anger, despair, doubt, hope, peace and faith.

Yes, the game has strong religious messages within, but I don't feel this should detract from the game even if you aren't a believer, because this is the real life story of a real family and what they went through, and that includes their faith, their doubts, etc. Regardless of whether you believe in God or not, you can still relate to these parents' grief and come away with something.

As a cessationistic Christian, I appreciated the fact that this wasn't some implausible story of a boy being miraculously healed or even raised from the dead. It showed that the parents desperately wished for those things to occur and prayed for them to occur and hoped that they would occur, but ultimately rested in God's wisdom and that He does all things for His glory with the joyful reminder that one day they will see their child again in Heaven.
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624 of 776 people (80%) found this review helpful
52 people found this review funny
Recommended
5.5 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: January 12
That Dragon, Cancer is an experience I cannot recommend highly enough; not as a gamer, but as a human being.

I'll leave the story for you to explore for yourself. The trailer should give you the right amount of information to know what's going on. With that said, the vulnerability and honesty presented in this game is more abundant than any work, game or otherwise, that I've ever encountered. There are no pulled punches, and yet the end result (for me, at least) is a feeling of hope, not despair.

The sound carries most of the narrative weight, allowing those involved in the story to tell it from their hearts, with the abstract graphics removing any risk of distracting by the false facial expressions and out-of-place animations so common in games, and instead focusing on broad strokes of color and texture.

This game carries such a powerful story and presents it so well that I consider it a must-play. I believe that you will, too.

(EDIT: Since I've had to delete more than a few comments from readers that misread the opening line: I do not mean for you to infer that gamers are not human beings. Rather, the scope of this game encompasses broader themes than can be tackled solely from a gamer's perspective. I wished to specify that this game, unlike most others, does not thrive on its mechanics or graphics, but on the human connection it creates through the gameplay.)
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148 of 164 people (90%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 25
What an amazing story.

I streamed this and one of the team members stopped in and gave me some motivation to continue my streams.

ANYWAYS-

The reason I bought this game was to

1. Support the family,

and

2. My mom is going through treatments herself. She was recently diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer (Stage IV meaning it's spread to an organ, that organ being her liver.) It's breast cancer returning back from 2012! It sucks, guys, that's for sure.

I definitely recommend this game, hands down. Incredible story line, funny, adorable, saddening, makes you rethink life and the things you SHOULD be grateful for, but you are not as grateful as you should be.
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164 of 193 people (85%) found this review helpful
132 people found this review funny
Recommended
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 18
crying simulator 2016
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