Brian Ramage has made traditional hardcore games for all his professional life, and still does. He recently encountered a very different kind of experience, one that altered his view of what games can achieve.
Attending the Game Developers Conference last month, Ramage was invited to a game developers’ social gathering. Anticipating the pleasure of enjoying a few drinks and some amiable conversation with fellow professionals while playing a few demos, he agreed to attend. At the bar, he joined in the hubbub of chatter about games. At some point, he began chatting with a couple of guys working on an unusual project. Ryan Green is the father of a young son who is suffering from terminal cancer. He is making a game about this experience. His friend Josh Larson is helping out.
Sympathetic to Green’s plight, Ramage was intrigued. A game about a child’s terminal cancer? A game about being the father of a dying child?
Green and Larson showed him their game, That Dragon, Cancer. Ramage sat down facing the bustling room, put on the headphones and played for a few minutes.
That’s all it took. He began weeping.