One of the new DVDs we’ve gotten in Media Services looks just heartbreaking:
Thank You For Playing (HU DVD 15330 and streaming) is a story about using an unusual medium to document a human experience. From our summary:
When Ryan Green, a video game programmer, learns that his young son Joel has cancer, he and his wife Amy begin documenting their emotional journey in the form of an autobiographical video game. This film follows Ryan and his family over two years through the creation of “That Dragon, Cancer” as it evolves from a cathartic exercise into a critically acclaimed work of art that memorializes and personalizes their time and interactions with Joel and sets the gaming industry abuzz.
The cancer aspects are, of course, heartbreaking. And yes, Joel dies. You can read a bit more about the game on Wired. You can watch the trailer for the game here as well:
One thing I find so interesting is that this project would have been nowhere near as compelling or challenging had it been a book. It is specific to its medium. Finding the ways in which a video game can be emotional, often using quite rule-breaking gameplay elements from what it sounds like, is a real artistic accomplishment.
Recommended viewing for any of our friends in AU’s Game Design program.