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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The Tech Deck

Gaming, and loss: ‘That Dragon, Cancer’

"That Dragon, Cancer" is a video game you can't win. And that's the point. (Numinous Games)

If your interest in games extends beyond simply shooting things or collecting coins, there's a game releasing today that might be for you. 

Ryan and Amy Green have had to deal with something no parents should - the loss of a child to cancer. The couple, who are also computer programmers and writers, decided to turn their grief into something unconventional. "That Dragon, Cancer" is a game that attempts to put you in their shoes following the 2014 death of their son, Joel. 

I could tell you that story, but I've only heard it secondhand. So you should probably check out these two versions, told by the folks at Reply All and Radiolab:

The idea of an unwinnable, narrative-based game isn't new. Though I haven't played them, it sounds like "Everybody's Gone to the Rapture" and "Gone Home" are working with similar ideas. But the real-life story behind "That Dragon, Cancer" is so personal, and the desired emotional effect so raw, that it's hard not to cheer for the game, from the standpoint of a gamer who tires of the "video games are a waste of time" argument.

You can download "That Dragon, Cancer" from Steam for Mac and PC, or Ouya if you're one of the few who bought that thing, for $14.99 today.

Kip Hill
Kip Hill joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the City Desk, covering the marijuana industry, local politics and breaking news. He previously hosted the newspaper's podcast.

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