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Many Video Games Are Life and Death. One Is Death and Then Life.

“It felt like a video game where all the mechanics are broken.”

These are the words of a heartbroken father, whose efforts to save his young son proved futile. Ryan Green is a game designer from Colorado, married to Amy. But when their 1-year-old son, Joel, was diagnosed with brain cancer, life seemed anything but a game.

Usually video games put the player in the driver’s seat. Your decisions determine the outcome. With skill, cunning, and perseverance, you can overcome every obstacle. You can defeat the dragon. But in real life, cancer proved to be a dragon that could not be slain. Tragically, in 2014, Joel died at age 5.

How can parents cope with such tragedy?

Ryan and Amy made a memorial to their son, “That Dragon, Cancer.” They made a game (read TGC’s review) that pits you against the dragon of cancer. Yet this game is unlike other games. This game is unwinnable. Instead the gamer is carried through experiences they did not choose, experiences they would not choose. Through the darkest valley, though, there is Easter hope. Ryan and Amy are Christians. They know a Dragon Slayer. But the Slayer isn’t Joel, and he isn’t us. Instead there is One who carries us through death to a place of feasting and joy. It’s not for the strong or the brave. It’s for the Joels of this world. For those who know they need to be carried.

Watch “Unwinnable: The Game That’s True to Life.”