Desperation in That Dragon, Cancer

So I’ve been thinking about my new project based on my experiences at a wake. That experience being a panic attack. One of the many things I’ve been thinking about is how I can convey my feelings in this moment. So, I have been looking at what other games have done before me because I don’t want to have to think of it all myself. One game that comes to mind when considering my panic attack is That Dragon, Cancer. But for those who don’t know what that is, I should probably give a brief description.

Image result for dragon cancer

What is it about?

Well, That Dragon, Cancer is about a mother and father and their journey with one of their four sons, Joel, being diagnosed with cancer at age 1. The game describes many moments of difficulty and joy for the family, such as, trying to explain what was happening with Joel to the two eldest boys, Caleb and Isaac, or experiencing the good memories with Joel.Moments like these are explained through the game, using a range of audio and standard video game elements. For example, the moment when Ryan and Amy Green explain that Joel has Cancer to Caleb and Isaac, the player experiences this by going through a 2d sidescrolling platformer that changes as a voice over of the family’s conversation plays. However, connecting more to my targeted feeling, I don’t really want to be looking at these group moments or moments of joy. I want to look at how the game conveys Ryan Green’s desperation.
There is one particular moment in That Dragon, Cancer that left an impact on me, and is a great example of Ryan Green’s desperation during his difficult journey. This scene being the moment in the hospital with Joel where he is feeling pain and the player cannot do anything about it. But Joel’s screams keep going, getting louder and louder to the point where there is no more moisture in his voice but just dry throat screaming and coughing. This moment made me feel so much pain and sadness, because there is nothing you can do to help. This kind of feeling of growing intensity and panic is what I want from my game.  However I need to consider how to deliver it without the contrast of audio, since I don’t want a narration in my game. But It is definitely something to build off of.


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