That Dragon, Cancer
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That Dragon, Cancer: Game Review

When I first heard about the game, That Dragon, Cancer from my children, I couldn’t understand what the appeal would be. It is a “game” about a child having and dying from cancer. But, they kept asking for it, so when it went on sale, I bought it. I decided I would check it out before letting them “play” the game.

That Dragon, Cancer, is an immersive experience, more than a game. It is so real and raw. It’s like going through Eli’s cancer along with his parents. I cried through the whole thing.

Using Your gifts to Cope with That Dragon, Cancer

My husband has been battling stage IV lung cancer since 2012. I write about the journey our family has been on. You have to do something to sort out the emotions you are experiencing, and writing is my gift. Game development is the gift that Eli’s dad has. He has used his gift in an amazing way to share his family’s experience with the world.

So why would someone want to “relive” the cancer experience through a game, or through any other format for that matter? Because in seeing other people’s journies, you discover that you are not alone. One of the interesting things in That Dragon, Cancer, was the different ways that each parent coped. The struggles with faith, the reactions to events. It was beautiful to see that other people have the same questions when they face the Dragon. It is also inspiring to see them overcome.

Some Criticisms of the Game (not mine)

I have been thinking a lot lately about the phrase, “Walk a mile in my shoes.” There have been game reviewers who have criticized the game’s inclusion of the family’s faith in God.

It bothers me that our society has made God and faith taboo. God is how this family overcame the pain of their son’s cancer. faith in God is how our family, and many other families, overcome that dragon, cancer.

In Christ, we are overcomers, even of death.

Is it okay for kids?

You’ll have to be the judge of whether or not it’s okay for YOUR kids. Each child is different. Some are more sensitive than others. I decided it was perfect for my kids who were very aware of the pain that cancer causes families. It was a new and different way for them to process some of the emotions of living with their Dad’s illness.

Spoiler Alert!

Eli ultimately dies, but his parents’ faith in God makes the ending uplifting. We can see that Eli is no longer hurting. Instead, he is happy and healthy in heaven.

I would recommend this game highly. Have a box of Kleenex nearby, though. You will need it!

That Dragon, Cancer is available on the Steam Platform.


I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. My husband, Dan has battled stage IV lung cancer since 2012. I help cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, despite their illness.

My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.

My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available on

The Erickson Family, Photo by Everbranch Photography