Critical Hermeneutics 4 (1) (2020)

This paper explores the emotional relationship between game experience and real experience in That Dragon, Cancer, a video game about Joel, a 4-year child, and his fight against cancer. The approach of this paper combines game studies and philosophy. The first part introduces the procedural rhetoric of this video game, to understand how the game can influence reality through its game mechanics. Then, the paper presents some of these game elements: the effects of video game language, the universalization of the experience through visual and spatial design choices, and the question of time. The aim is to discuss the game’s effectiveness in the production of a possible change in real life, on a psychological, political and relational level.
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