That Dragon, Cancer Designer Wins Game Award, Gives Heartbreaking Speech About Son Who Died

During the Game Awards, That Dragon, Cancer won the Games For Impact award. The game is about developer Ryan Green’s young son’s struggle with cancer. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. Green accepted the award in tears.


“Often in video games,” he said, his voice shaking, “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 its told because of us, or in spite of us. And it reveals our weaknesses, our failures, our hopes, and our fears.

“You let us tell the story of my son Joel,” he said. “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 experience how we loved him. And I have hope that we are all willing to see each other, not just for who we want to be, but who we are and who we’re meant to be. This act of love and grace can change the world. Thank you.”

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.



Can we talk about how horrible the setup and follow-up was for this award? Having YouTube personalities shout “That Dragon, Cancer!” like it’s freaking Doom or something, and then the guy comes up in tears. Then following it up with an actual ad for Doom? Really poor timing and tone all around.