I´m perfectly fine with having people telling their opinions and thoughts about whatever they like. As I have zero problems (whatsoever) with freedom of speech. However, I think it´s safe to say that things have gone out of hands in the case with Numinous Games adventure/art game “That Dragon, Cancer” and Steam. I mean, sure. I had a feeling that something like this would happen on release. You see, “That Dragon, Cancer” collected over $104,000 in total via Kickstarter on the 14th of December, back in 2014.

And “some” people didn´t like the fact that Numinous Games got a lot of success on Kickstarter. So when I heard about all the troll and hate comments, which “That Dragon, Cancer” had received since its launch day on Steam (the game launched three days ago). I couldn´t help to wonder whatever happened to the “if you don´t like it, then don´t buy it” principal? I understand that the game might not be everyone´s cup of tea. Nevertheless, there is still no need to turn hateful or aggressive towards the developers.

that dragon cancer joel and ryan

Apparently, the Green family hasn´t suffered enough already. Because now they have to deal with haters and trolls as well.

As I see it, most people are upset about the following things at the moment:
1. The price of “That Dragon, Cancer” (which is 14,99 Euros at the moment)
2. That the game has quite a few bugs
3. “That Dragon, Cancer” isn´t really a game
4.  Numinous Games used a cancer sick kid (Joe Green, the son of Ryan and Amy Green) to cash in big time
5. The game did not turn out the way people had hoped for
6. The religious theme of the game

I´m going to set the record straight right away though. I have no relationship whatsoever with Numinous Games, and secondly. I´m not trying to be a whiteknight. I just think that it´s pretty messed up that some people threw out so much hate and anger at Numinous Games . For example. I gave John Romero’s Daikatana a really bad score on release. Even so, I still didn´t attack the developers on a personal level. I simply focused on the game itself, and that´s the way it should be. However, that´s me, and I can just speak for myself. So I was not surprised to hear that trolls and haters have started to spam “That Dragon, Cancer” on Steam:

“Accusing the game of not being a real game? Check
Accusing the father of monetizing his son’s death? Check
Accusing the father of not donating the profits to cancer research? Check
Complaining that the game is overpriced? Check
Making jokes relating to cancer and other video games? Check
“I’m just asking questions”? Check
“I’m not a troll I just have different opinions”? Check” – astrixzero, via GamerGhazi

that dragon cancer trolls

I feel sorry for the guy (or girl). However, I don´t agree that games such as “That dragon, cancer” shouldn´t exist because of his or her parents unfortunate death.

rami ismail that dragon cancer tweet

I agree with Rami Ismail (co-founder of the Dutch indie studio Vlambeer) on the troll part, but I don´t think people should buy a game, unless they really like it.

So in a way, the “That Dragon, Cancer” Steam page has become something of a battleground. As people are defending the game and Numinous Games, while others just want to nail both the developers and the game to the cross. Even so, Ryan Green (Numinous Games) pointed out that he (or anyone else from his team) won´t be locking any threads, or removing any comments. In other words, Numinous Games welcomes feedback and critique (negative as positive). And that´s a practice which all developers should follow, as it helps you to evolve as a game creator.

numinous games vs trolls and haters

Think what you want about Numinous Games, but they sure have a lot of balls.

However, I don´t think it´s feedback or critique when you start to attack the game developer (s) on a personal level. As it´s both inappropriate and very disrespectful. In fact, some people even thought that games that has a cancer theme shouldn´t even exist at all. And one person that agreed on that, was a Steam user who pointed out that he (or she) had lost both of his or her parents in cancer. I´m sorry for that person’s loss, but I still don´t think that it should justify the termination of games such as “That Dragon, Cancer”. In fact, 2ndForm (another Steam user) made a really good point on this matter:

“Oh I agree. Lets also gather together any movies or books that discuss the topic and burn them. In fact, lets take any sort of media that depicts, or discusses tragedy in any way, that may offend someone, and throw that on the pile too. We better shoot all the authors of said pieces, actors who played parts, and anyone who stocked it as well. Comics and satirists will all need to be rallied up as well, and at bare minimum sent to re-education camps. In fact, why don’t you jot down a list of anything you don’t like, and we can add that to the pile shall we?

I’m sorry if you did lose your parents in such a way, but demanding the world censor itself for you, is ridiculous. Everyone has had some sort of tragedy in their life, and you know what? Discussing it, and pieces of media like this, alleviate a lot of the suffering.” – 2ndForm, a Steam user

I´m more than aware of the fact that not everyone may agree with me on this, but I think that it´s much better to tackle the horrors of cancer (what it means to have cancer, the pain and so on). Then it is to hide it from the public eye (no matter the medium). And I should know, since I lost my grandfather to cancer when I was just a little kid (I was 5-6 years old at the time). My family has also lost close friends to the terrible disease as well. Besides, if you´re not quite sure if “That Dragon, cancer” is your kind of game. Then you could always check out some trailers, gameplay videos and reviews before you buy the game (to my knowledge, there is no playable demo for the game at this time).

With that said, let us know your thoughts and opinions on this matter in the comment section down below!

The Steam trolls
Rami Ismail

This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.

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Robin “V-Act” Ek
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @TheGamingGround

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4 Comments ON " A personal response to the “That Dragon, Can... "
  • Erthwjim

    I agree it’s wrong to trash the developer. Sure point out the bugs, no problem with that. Complain about the price, I don’t see an issue with that either (especially if the game is buggy). If you don’t think it’s a game, that’s fine, although I don’t think it needs to be discussed in-depth on forums for the game specifically, as long as the developers realize when they market something as a game, it will be judged to the same standards as other games. I don’t have an issue with someone making a game about cancer, even if they want monetize it, although people can critique it if they want, but to bombard the developers over and over about all this is wrong (although I’m glad the devs still keep the comments open).

    I don’t agree with what what Ramil Ismail said though, you don’t buy a game just because the people that made it are dealing with trolls and are super brave, you buy it because you like the idea and because you hope it will turn out well, or because you’ve heard it’s good game from others. It’s like saying buy Revolution 60 because the devs deal with online harassment, no thanks, doesn’t matter who it is, I’m not going to buy just because of harassment.

    • Good points, and I think Numinous Games did everything they could to tackle all of this on Steam. That was my bad, I wasn´t clear enough with what I meant. So I updated the text, because I think, it´s more than enough with one Brianna Wu in the industry (harassment money)…

  • Elfa

    As a GG supporter my view is, make the game you want and if it’s good, people will come. Who am I to decide what a game is or isn’t.

    We can’t stand on principle if we don’t stand up for our principles.

    • Exactly, and that´s the way it should be.

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