Thank You for Playing
When 1-year-old Joel is diagnosed with terminal cancer, his father, game designer Ryan Green, begins working on an unusual and poetic video game to honor Joel's life. The development of the game -- called “That Dragon, Cancer” -- has a profound cathartic effect and coping role for Green and his wife (who serves as co-author). Following Ryan's family through the game’s creation and the day-to-day realities of Joel's treatment, the film combines imagery from the evolving “That Dragon, Cancer” with vérité footage of the family and frankly confessional interviews with Green. For Green, The New Yorker writes, “the game is no longer just a way to invite others into the dreadful realm of terminal illness; it’s also a way to preserve, and to celebrate, the memory of his son’s life. ‘I want the game to capture the way Joel danced,’ he said. ‘The way he laughed. The way his brothers treated one another. The affection they have.... In the end, I guess my greatest hope is pretty simple: that players might care about my son the way that I do.’” "Thank You For Playing" serves as a thought-provoking testimony to the empathetic power of art, exploring the implications of documenting profound human experiences in a new artistic medium: the video game.