Hot Docs 2015: Thank You for Playing

Thank_You_For_Playing A video game designer bases his latest project on his son’s battle with cancer in Thank You for Playing.  Four years ago, indie video game developer Ryan Green learned that his then one year old son Joel had terminal cancer.  To help deal with his feelings surrounding this situation, Ryan begins developing a game called That Dragon, Cancer, which recreates the daily life Ryan and his family, as they deal with Joel’s diagnosis. There has long been an argument that video games should be viewed as an art form and not purely as passive entertainment.  Nobody argues about movies dealing with serious subjects, so why can’t video games?  That Dragon, Cancer features digital versions of Ryan Green and his family, as they provide a glimpse of what it’s like to deal with a loved one dying of cancer.  What results is a very touching and sad story. There is probably nothing worse than parents having to deal with a child who’s dying and Thank You for Playing is indeed a heartbreakingly sad documentary.  However, the film also goes a long way to show the potential of what video games can be.  Many folks view video games as merely entertainment and Ryan Green has indeed received internet criticism saying that this project is exploitative and self-indulgent.  However, it also can be argued that this video game is highly unique method of coping with death, which many American’s remain afraid of.  Overall, I thought that Thank You for Playing was a very emotional film and I highly recommend it. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ |  LOVED IT   Screenings:

  • Sat, May 2, 2:15 PM – TIFF Bell Lightbox
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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).