That Dragon, Cancer

An understandably personal work, That Dragon, Cancer's sentimental excesses place a minor dent in a powerful, brave game.

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That Dragon, Cancer "has not yet seen a single dollar from sales"

That Dragon, Cancer "has not yet seen a single dollar from sales"

Dev blames Let's Players uploading entire playthroughs.

Autobiographical drama, That Dragon, Cancer, received a lot of praise from us and others alike, but when it comes to actually selling copies of the experimental indie game, things have been bleak.

Developer Ryan Green noted in a blog post that since its launch over two months ago, That Dragon, Cancer has only sold an estimated 14k copies, according to SteamSpy. That's not that much for a team of eight across the past three years.

"Our studio has not yet seen a single dollar from sales," said Green. As for the existing revenue, he clarified "We decided to pay off all of our debt as soon as possible."

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That Dragon, Cancer review

You can't save him. If your idea of a video game is a world to be conquered or a puzzle to be solved, then That Dragon, Cancer, the autobiographical game from Ryan and Amy Green about their terminally ill child Joel, can come as a melancholy shock. It's not something that can be won or, in that particularly crass term, beaten; it is instead a tour through the lives of a family touched by the shadow of cancer that can be testing and trying in a way unlike many other video games before it.

Told in 14 short episodes, That Dragon, Cancer is a necessarily personal game: a diary of faith, hope and grief as Joel's illness progresses over four years that are flicked through across some two hours. Seeing a family tragedy unfold from such an intimate perspective could have been uneasily voyeuristic, but there's a warmth to That Dragon, Cancer that gently ushers you in. In its more grounded moments, That Dragon, Cancer speaks to the universal experience of seeing a loved one taken ill, and of trying to come to terms with the impending loss.

You'll see it in the exacting, almost painful detail of the hospital room where you occasionally sit, helpless, with Joel: a cramped chamber muted by time, its flat blues and greens touched by indifferent light, a cheap vinyl chair against one wall and a small sofa against another on which to catch an hour's stolen sleep. That Dragon, Cancer takes that space and folds it inwards, claustrophobia giving way to numb disassociation and then on to something else. If video games excel at telling stories through the exploration of space, then this is one of their triumphs - a place that's all the more touching for its authenticity.

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That Dragon, Cancer release date set for January

Autobiographical family drama, That Dragon, Cancer, is slated for a 12th January release, developer Numinous Games has announced.

The game will be available on PC and Mac through Steam or a Humble widget at, or you can snag it via the Razer Cortex Storefront for Ouya and Forge TV.

That Dragon, Cancer tells the story of the Green family, whose son Joel was diagnosed with an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor when he was one. He passed away last year, far too young at the tender age of five, but development on the project continued as Green and company sought to honour Joel's time on this earth.

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That Dragon, Cancer has taken to Kickstarter

Will now launch on Steam, in addition to Ouya.

Autobiographical family drama That Dragon, Cancer, the story of raising a small boy with a terminal illness, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $85K and wrap up development.

That Dragon, Cancer will launch exclusively on Ouya

That Dragon, Cancer will launch exclusively on Ouya

Ouya is funding the entire development costs.


Autobiographic raising a kid with cancer simulator, That Dragon, Cancer, will launch first on Ouya in the second half of 2014.

Ouya is supporting the two-person studio's development costs so the pair can make a game based on Ryan Green's real-life story of raising his son Joel - now five - who has cancer.

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