The Game Awards 2016 took a beautiful, poignant turn last night when developer Ryan Green took to the stage to accept his award.
His game – the indie hit That Dragon, Cancer – won the Games For Impact Award. As I’m sure most of you know, the game is actually about Green’s young son Joel, and his battle with cancer – it was a battle he would tragically lose at five years old.
It’s understandable then, that Green heading up to accept an award for such a game would be an emotional moment for him, as it proved heartbreaking to even watch – through tears, Green gave a wonderful speech, which you can watch below.
After thanking his friends, family, and coworkers, Green went on to acknowledge that these ‘less glamorous’ subjects are seldom seen in videogames.
Here’s the rest of his (really rather wonderful) acceptance speech:
Often in video games, we get to choose how we’re seen. Our avatars and our tweets and the work that we do are all meant to portray the story that we want to tell the world about why our lives matter. But sometimes a story is written onto us, or its told because of us, or in spite of us. And it reveals our weaknesses, our failures, our hopes, and our fears. You let us tell the story of my son Joel. In the end, it was not the story we wanted to tell. But you chose to love us through our grief by being will to stop, and to listen, and to not turn away. To let my son Joel’s life change you, because you chose to see him and experience how we loved him. And I have hope that we are all willing to see each other, not just for who we want to be, but who we are and who we’re meant to be. This act of love and grace can change the world. Thank you.
In a night dedicated to celebrating a medium that favours the bombastic and over the top, it was nice to see five minutes put aside for a family who were brave enough to share something as intimate as the loss of a child.