Most people who’ve played That Dragon, Cancer agree that it’s a heart-wrenching experience. The game tells the true story of Joel Green, a small child struggling with terminal cancer. The game was created by his parents Ryan and Amy Green, as well as family friend Josh Larson.
Tonight at The Game Awards, Ryan Green accepted the award for Games for Impact — a socially conscious award focused on games with a message. He spoke to the audience about the power of games to show “not just who we want to be, but who we are.” Joel Green died in 2014, aged five. He had spent most of his life coping with cancer.
You can see his stunning acceptance speech above. It’s definitely worth watching, and was equal to the game’s ambitions and its achievements.
“Often in video games, we get to choose how we’re seen,” said a visibly emotional Green. “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 it’s 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. In the end, it was not the story that we wanted to tell. But you chose to love us 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 to experience how we loved him.
“And I hope that when we are all willing to see each other, not for just who we want to be, but who we are, and who we’re meant to be. This act of love and this act of grace can change the world.”