Loveland couple remembers son through video game

Posted at 8:26 PM, Jan 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-11 22:26:27-05

While several video games are loud and even violent, some are quiet and thoughtful. One Loveland couple calls their game "a piece of interactive poetry."

Denver7’s Kristen Skovira learned about "That Dragon, Cancer.” It is a game that tells the story of a little boy fighting a terminal illness. The release of this game couldn't have more perfect timing.

January 12 would be Joel Green's 7th birthday. Green lost his battle with cancer, but his parents Ryan and Amy designed an interactive video game to keep their son's memory alive and help others navigate their own thoughts and feelings while facing this deadly disease. 

“Joel was diagnosed when he was one and declared terminal when he was two, but he lived three more beautiful years,” said his father, Ryan.

Green is a video-game programmer.

“The game sort of formed into a temple of memories,” he said.

The game blends home videos, audio recordings and vignettes of the family's time together.

“Video games aren't really a space that you expect to see a lot of spiritual discussions and it's not an area that to welcome that element very easily,” said his mom, Amy.

The game takes the player inside a world of hospitals and chemotherapy. You take care of Joel when he's in pain and learn to let go when it's time.

“We spent a lot of time looking forward to the release date and imagining what that day would be and I never imagined how emotional it would be and that it would feel like a goodbye,” his mom said.

The game will be available for both Mac and PC tomorrow. Joel's parents are celebrating the release of the video game by inviting the world to have a pancake breakfast.

If you have pancakes, they ask that you take a picture and tweet them at #ThatDragonCancer.