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That Dragon, Cancer creator delivers poignant speech on the power of games

That Dragon, Cancer, a game created by Ryan and Amy Green that documents their young son Joel's struggle with terminal illness, won the Games For Impact award at The Game Awards tonight, in honor of "a thought-provoking game with a profound pro-social message or meaning." Accepting the award, Ryan Green gave a heart-wrenching speech about the effort that went into making the game, and the important role that games can play in our everyday lives. 

"Often in videogames we get to choose how we're seen. Our avatars and our tweets and the work that we do are all meant to portray the story that we want to tell the world about why our lives matter. But sometimes a story is written onto us, or is told because of us, or in spite of us. And it reveals our weaknesses, our failures, our hopes, and our fears," Green said. 

"You let us tell the story of my son Joel. And in the end, it was not the story we wanted to tell. But you chose to love us through our grief by being willing to stop, and to listen, and to not turn away. To let my son Joel's life change you, because you chose to see him, and to experience how we loved him. And I would hope that when we are all willing to see each other, not for just who we want to be, but who we are, and who we're meant to be, this act of love and this act of grace can change the world." 

Joel Green died on March 13, 2014, at the age of five. 

Andy Chalk
Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.