Gaming With Grief

Ever since I became blind in 2002, I have a profound interest in grief, as it pertains to life transitions and loss. However, more recently, after the loss of my longterm partner, I have found myself focusing on my grief pertaining to his death. Whatever the loss is, grief can come in waves, and hits hard when you least expect it. It is not something you truly get over, but as I have become all to familiar with, you learn to cope. Coping can be done in various ways, as I have mentioned in previous posts. For the sake of this post, we are going to focus on coping with a video game.
As a way of expressing their most inner thoughts/feelings and opening the door for others to bear witness to the impact of their loss, a family has created a video game. The game is called, “That Dragon, Cancer.” You see, two parents found themselves grappling with the terminal diagnosis of their youngest son, Joel, who had an aggressive brain tumor. With the idea of literally putting yourself in this family’s shoes, the goal is to have the player asking themselves, what is the motive behind the game; what was trying to be expressed and why. Within the game, the narrative allows for the player to make decisions, making them feel that they can change the outcome, but they find out that no matter how hard they try, the outcome can’t be changed. The desperate decisions that are made, the anticipation, the fear, leads down the same path for Joel. On the flip side, the story is not only one of tragedy, but one of hope, everlasting love, and joyful moments. It was very fitting that this game ended up being nominated and won the “Impact Award” from the Gaming Awards because it truly has left an imprint on many hearts. To find and play this game, check out www.thatdragoncancer.com

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