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18 Great Games Like That Dragon, Cancer

A game about a family with a young son who has terminal brain cancer. It sounds off-putting and morbid but this living biography invites you to join the family and find hope, faith and love in the face of an insurmountable challenge. It’s a unique collage of poetry, phone calls, diagnosis rooms and home movies full of raw emotion.

Unfortunately, That Dragon, Cancer is not available on PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S. However, we recommend the following games that offer a similar experience or theme:

DetailsDetails

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 12/01/2016, updated in 2016

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Players: This is a single player game

Costs: Purchase cost



 

Apart Of Me

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 12/12/2016

Platforms: PC

Genres:

Players: This is a single player game

This is an exploration game were you visit a peaceful island, meet friendly characters, and complete quests. The theme of grief intertwines through these things. At their own pace, the player can collect various tools designed to help with coping....


A Mortician's Tale

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 18/10/2017

Platforms: PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Players: This is a single player game

A Mortician's Tale is a management game where you play as a mortician, Charlie, working in a funeral home. As you play, you handle bodies of the deceased, including cleaning and beautifying them, as well as dealing with embalming and cremation. The dead...


Tree

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 13/08/2018

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative

Players: This is a single player game

Tree is a short 15 minute game that tells the story of a boy who plants a small tree. You control the planting, watering and how the tree grows each season. As you do this the years pass and the boy...


Bird Alone

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 15/06/2020

Platforms: iOS

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Developer: @GeorgeBatch

Players: This is a single player game

Bird Alone is a narrative game where you befriend a bird. Your feathered companion encourages the conversation in the direction of real life worries while you make music, draw pictures and write poetry. It’s a slow game that unfolds in real time with...


Love - A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 21/10/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @Rocketship_Park

Players: This is a single player game

Love - A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories is a puzzle game about regret. You interact with and explore a single apartment building. As you do you learn about the lives of the people that live there. You can manipulate the building to move floors between...


My Brother Rabbit

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 21/11/2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

My Brother Rabbit is a hand-drawn hidden-object puzzle game about an ill sister. As her plight is told through water-colour animation, you play her brother's rabbit and unfold a parallel story in a fantasy world.


Two Point Hospital

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 25/02/2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Creative, Simulation and Strategy

Players: This is a single player game

Two Point Hospital is a light-hearted healthcare simulator. You take charge of a hospital, similar to Theme Hospital, where you must construct and maintain wards, machines and staff.


Eastshade

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 14/08/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Narrative, Open World and Role-Playing

Players: This is a single player game

Eastshade is a slow exploration game in a world you explore by walking around. Here, though, you play as a travelling artist capturing the grand flora and fauna on canvas as you go. It’s another game that places you with purpose and responsibility in...


Papo and Yo

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 14/08/2012

Platforms: Mac, PC and PlayStation 3

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

Papo & Yo pits you as a young boy, Quico, exploring a Brazilian city slum. As you solve puzzles and perform well-timed jumps to progress through the city, you must also deal with a monster – both real and metaphorically representing your alcoholic...


N.E.R.O.: Nothing Ever Remains Obscure

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 15/05/2015

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

N.E.R.O. is a story-driven first-person indie game with puzzles to solve and story threads to follow. The player character essentially walks a linear path and solves puzzles blocking their way, while a story is narrated.


The Last Day of June

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 31/08/2017

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

Last Day of June is a game about a couple called Carl and June, who suffer a tragedy when a car accident takes June's life and leaves Carl in a wheelchair. You control Carl, remembering life with June and discover that you can interact with her...


Wide Ocean Big Jacket

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 07/02/2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Open World

Developer: @_TurnFollow

Players: This is a single player game

This is a game about camping. Or rather, it's a game about the conversations you have while you are camping. You follow 13-year-old teenage friends Mord and Ben who recently started dating. The camping trip is with Mord’s Uncle Brad and Aunt Cloanne.


Sea of Solitude

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 05/07/2019

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Platform

Players: This is a single player game

Sea of Solitude is an adventure where you play a young woman, Kay, with such strong loneliness that her feelings turn her into a monster. As you explore a flooded city you discover dark creatures that you must deal with -- by uncovering their underlying...


Milkmaid of the Milky Way

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 22/08/2019

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Players: This is a single player game

Milkmaid of the Milky Way is a puzzle game where you play a milkmaid Ruth in a remote farm, who is kidnapped by a spaceship. It sounds strange, but what unfolds is a story about boredom, parental expectation and the desire for change.


Far From Noise

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 14/11/2017

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and iOS

Genres: Narrative

Developer: @GeorgeBatch

Players: This is a single player game

Far From Noise is a narrative game where you play a car balancing on the edge of a cliff. You meet multiple animals that act as spiritual guides and discuss what it means to balance between life and death. When talking, you get the choice of two phrases...


Firewatch

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 20/09/2016

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Players: This is a single player game

Firewatch is an explorative adventure where you play a fire lookout in America’s Shoshone National Forest. It has a relational and conspiracy undertone similar to the podcast/radio drama and Netflix show [link to...


Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Rating: PEGI 18+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 08/08/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Narrative

Players: This is a single player game

This is a dark fantasy adventure, drawing on Norse and Celtic mythology, where you play a young female Pict warrior, Senua. You explore and fight your way to Helheim to rescue the soul of her dead lover. As you play, though, you hear multiple voices in...


Lair Of The Clockwork God

Rating: PEGI 18+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 21/02/2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Platform

Developer: @danthat

Players: This is a single player game

Lair Of The Clockwork God is an adventure played with two characters from different game genres. Ben is a die-hard, old-school LucasArts Adventure fan, one foot stuck in the 90s. Dan is younger, running and jumping platform character, he's hip, he's...


That Dragon, Cancer is in These Lists

In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to That Dragon, Cancer in the following lists:

Your First Video Game

These games are perfect if you’ve never played one before, opening the door to the gaming world for non-gaming parents and carers. They are short, straightforward and easy to understand, so you don’t need to commit hours to learn to play them, and they are played on technology you probably already have in your pocket or in your home. They address mature themes such as love, hope, power, homelessness and even traffic planning by inviting you to interact and play a part in these worlds and stories.

We've found that it's not just parents who have enjoyed the way these games let them in on the world of gaming, but grandparents, uncles and aunts. In fact it's a great list for anyone who's never played a game and wants to know what all the fuss is about.
 

Be A Good Neighbour

In this list, provided by the LTN (Love Thy Nerd) editors, we bring together video games that have the potential to offer more than entertainment. It starts with 12 with a challenge us to be a good neighbour, and follows with others added over time. LTN exists to be the love of Jesus to nerds and nerd culture, you can read more about them on their website.

"What if video games have more to offer than just an exciting diversion into a digital battlefield, fantasy war, or alien invasion? While these types of games are certainly the loudest and most financially successful, there are a growing number of games asking important questions about life, the human condition, and even God."

"Our list is not 'Christian' games, but rather a list of games that pose important spiritual questions to those who play them. These are games that provide us with the opportunity to consider what a truly 'spiritual' life looks like by encouraging us to have empathy for the suffering, love for our neighbours and our enemies, and an imagination vivid enough to contemplate a better world."

Journey's understated yet deep mythology, lack of guidance and mysterious ways it brings players together will have players thinking about the course of their own lives. Dropsy is, on the surface, a silly point-and-click adventure game about a creepy but misunderstood clown, dig deeper and you’ll see this a game that challenges players to love everyone, even their enemies. Kentucky Route Zero is at its core, about rediscovery, of adventure-game mechanics and modernist aesthetics, of a more spiritual outlook on the physical world.

Gris is a platformer about the stages of grief that highlights the indelible impact of our most sacred relationships. That Dragon, Cancer is a game where Ryan and Amy Green share their grief and their hope by drawing us not only into their lives but into the common grace of the Christian faith. Myst, one of the best selling titles of all time, is a puzzle game about the beauty and mystery of creation. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a game about the spiritual impact our most precious relationships have on us. Wandersong is a game about transforming the world with music. Heroism isn’t measured in bulk or recognition but in the melodic tones of compassion and kindness. The Last Guardian confronts us with our own self-centeredness and challenges us to give rather than merely take.

Pyre is a game about mercy that deconstructs player’s perceptions of winning and losing, encouraging them to see and meet the needs of those who are oppressed. My Child Lebensborn is a game that challenges players to care for a child born into a fascist regime--this is a game about the power of empathy. Celeste strikes at the centre of what it means to be a person in all of our messy humanity a wonderful reminder that even when we fall, we are lifted up again through redemptive love, forgiveness, and grace—both for ourselves and for one another.
 

Interpret Deeper Meaning

Image 159The games in this list have been the subject of a series of articles I have written about video games and faith. Firstly, from 2013-2015 for ThirdWay magazine, and more recently for Youth and Children's Work (YCW) magazine.

These are two publications for Christian audiences, that have invited me to shed light on what a range of video games might mean for those communities. I aim to make connections with faith, the bible and the experience of these video games. This is one way to interpret them which of course invites further and possibly counter interpretations from other perspectives.

YCW articles:
Firewatch | Everything | Bury Me My Love | Abzu | Wilmot's Warehouse

Thirdway Articles:
Proteus | Joust | Uncharted 3 | Alan Wake | This War of Mine | Journey | Limbo | Spaceteam | A Dark Room | Altos Adventure | A Year Walk | Bioshock Infinite | The Last of Us | Disney Infinity | Everybody's Gone to the Rapture | That Dragon Cancer | Spec Ops The Line | Papo and Yo
 

Space For Grief

Games include interactions, narratives and characters dealing with all aspects of life (and death). This means that some care is necessary if players are sensitive to losing significant people. But also, games can provide a helpful space in which to process, consider and understand death and loss.

Image 162 I've come up with some games that explore this topic, along with help and suggestions from Gaming The Mind (Twitter), an organisation of UK-based mental health professionals who aim to promote positive mental health within the gaming community. By focusing on the intersection between gaming and mental health, they want to raise awareness of mental health challenges and reduce the stigma surrounding these issues.

"We express grief in different ways depending on our age," they said. "To help children cope with loss, it is important that they receive honest explanations about death, appropriate to their level of understanding. With these games, players may find valuable space in which to acknowledge grief as a completely normal reaction to bereavement."

"The games we have selected don't necessarily offer an ideal way to cope with death but tackle the topic of death openly and with a positive attitude. They can help show the player that they are not alone in what they are going through. Playing these games with young people, and answering questions they might have along the way, can be a useful starting point for important conversations about grief."
 

BAFTA Nominated Games

The British Academy Games Awards are presented annually to recognise, honour and reward outstanding creative achievement in Games. The awards categories reflect the wealth and diversity of the games sector.

The awards started in 2004 and are presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). For parents, they are a great way of discovering brilliant games to play in their family. The games included here are from the:
  • The Family Games award highlights games that will work really well for parents and children. These often include multiplayer features and feature a cast of family-friendly characters.
  • The Games Beyond Entertainment award is also of interest as this highlights more unusual games with an emphasis on storytelling that addresses topics that parents may find appealing themselves.

 


Image 242 Image 243 Thank you for using our resource, supported by AskAboutGames, ParentZone and PlayAbility Initiative. We are editorially independent, written by parents for parents, but welcome sponsorship, partnership and suggestions. Email our editor for details on these opportunities.

The information on this database is designed to support and complement the in-depth discussion and advice about video game "addiction", violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. If you have any concerns or questions in these areas, email our editor who is quick to respond or can arrange for a one-to-one conversation.

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