Community Review: That Dragon, Cancer

Today is my first day back in the office. For the last two weeks I've been on paternity leave, helping my wife look after our newborn son.

During that period of time I only played one video game. That Dragon, Cancer. In hindsight, that was a pretty poor choice.

I'm planning to write something a little bit longer about this experience — the experience of playing this game alongside the anxieties that come with becoming a Father for the second time — so I don't want to say too much here. I'd rather hear about your experiences. This is the Community Review after all!

Here are a couple of scattering thoughts...

— It's fairly difficult to judge this game in any traditional way. Like, I don't think it does anyone any justice to be like, CONTROLS AREN'T THAT GREAT LOL. That's not really what this game is. It's a reflection of an experience. A brutal experience. — I spent a lot of time wondering about this game's existence. What it was for? Why it was made? That also feels like a dead end. It's sort of a silly question. It's there for people to experience. — To be reductive, I finished the game with a healthy dose of perspective. I also finished the game a heaving, sobbing mess but that's another story.

How did you find it? Have you played it yet? I know a startlingly large amount of people who have purchased the game but don't want to play it. That's also reasonable.


    I lost my Dad to cancer about 18 months ago. It's still too soon for me to be reminded of that ordeal, including his final moments, so I'll be skipping this.

    I'm currently dying from terminal cancer myself. Not too sure if this would be a good game to play in my circumstances.

      Bro... Sorry to hear this... For what it's worth, from one internet stranger to another, I hope everything goes as best it can for you and your family and friends.

    Not something I'm looking to play, but I think that it's great that this game can exist. Hopefully more games like this, Papo & Yo, The Beginner's Guide etc can be made that give the player a glimpse into another person's life and feelings. Gameplay definitely takes a back seat to the depth of feeling that these games can elicit.

    Also congratulations on the new addition to your family, Mark :-)

    Having had cancer myself, I'm just wondering if this is something I should play? I know nothing about the game aside from what is written in this article.

    I'm currently going through treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma so I'll be skipping this game simply because now that I've gone through chemotherapy etc. I have only one wish and that is that my daughter never has to go through anything like this. Seeing those brave little souls going in for treatment broke my heart every single time. I cannot even begin to imagine what that would be like for a parent. Saying that, I think games like this are extremely important especially if you've been lucky enough not to have any experience with cancer. It will open your eyes and maybe give you a fresh perspective on what people go through.

      Hodgkins Lymphoma represent!

      Sounds like you're in the know and don't need any kind of additional info or anything, but here's a blog I made whilst going through treatment the second time around (my final dose of 'maintenance chemo' is in 3 weeks) -

      I tried to make it somewhat broad as it was more for my family/friends and people who knew nothing about what I was going through.

      Like I said, sounds like you have a handle on what's going on, so you're not necessarily the target audience, but if you feel like giving it a read go ahead. Doesn't benefit me in any way if you do, just trying to make my experience helpful for as many people as possible.

      Last edited 18/01/16 4:23 pm

        Hey there! I had the exact same long term symptom with the numb finger tips! I finished chemotherapy about two months ago and they are finally coming back to normal. I also had the hand cramping but that one happened a couple of times during chemotherapy.

        I'm currently going through radiotherapy and I hope that this will be it after about 7 months of treatment. I'm just glad that I'm back at work and able to earn some coin! Good luck with everything mate, I hope you kick its are once and for all!

          Oh God the lack of money was definitely one of the worst things. I was fortunate in that a bunch of internet friends got some money together for me, and my work also had a bit of a fundraiser for me. I couldn't get anything from Centrelink and income protection didn't kick in for the first 3 months so it was absolutely terrible. Try paying rent and paying bills with no money for 3 months - not fun.

          Health-wise I'm basically back to normal now - I get the odd hand cramp still but it's quite rare. Not sure if that's related to the preventative chemo I've still been having though.

          Doctor seems to think I won't kick it for good (brutally honest of them) and that it'll come back in 5-10 years (more likely 5). I have a very rare type of Hodgkins apparently. Let's just hope they come up with a better form of treatment or a cure in 5 years!

          Good luck buddy!

    Congrats on the kiddo Mark! Here's hoping he learns how to sleep well!

    With trying for a child ourselves this is something that I will steer as far away from as possible as my only wish is that they are healthy and this game will just make me paranoid. I would be willing to buy the game but won't play it until the child is older.

    Congratulations on the baby Mark.

    Nothing to do with the game - but hey Mark congratulations to you and your family on the new baby!

    I don't think I'd be able to handle this game.

    I don't think i could play it, its hard enough seeing my 18 month old sick with just a cold, to see it through with cancer might be too much to handle.

    But i really appreciate that these games exist and are out there, even for awareness of what some people have to go through, and how lucky i am that i have a healthy boy at home.

    I will play this one day.

    But perhaps not today. Some day when I'm feeling particularly emotionally resilient.

    Game is a bit shit to be honest. Found it boring and trying way too hard to get some feels. oddly broken up by fun little mini games. 1 part got me i must admit but thats it, they rest was just dull. Way too expensive for the 1h30min story that you just click through. Could probably spend 10 hours playing it if you read all the 'letters' and 'cards' (will understand if you play).

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