That Dragon Cancer Ryan Green Game Awards
A screenshot from That Dragon, Cancer and creator Ryan GreenNuminous Games/The Game Awards

Impressive new trailers, unexpected announcements and big-budget award-winners typically dominate The Game Awards – and this year was no different. However, the most important moment of this year's show wasn't gameplay footage or a star-studded trailer, but a heartbreaking acceptance speech.

The Games For Impact award gives a platform to games that say something of the world we live in through the depiction of historical events and all aspects of modern-day life. The winner of this year's prize was That Dragon, Cancer, an autobiographical game created by Ryan and Amy Green.

The game is about Ryan, Amy and their family's tragically brief time with son Joel, who passed away at the age of five after a lengthy battle with cancer.

The game has been celebrated for its honest depiction, which celebrates the beauty of life as well as depicting Joel's devastating illness.

When Ryan took to the stage to accept the award, he thanked his family, the team that helped him and his wife develop the game, and the industry. He also discussed how the games rarely explore the kind of subject matter that many play games to escape from.

Here is Ryan's full speech, followed by a video.

"That Dragon, Cancer exists because my wife, Amy, my children: Caleb, Isaac, Elijah, and Zoe. My business partner Josh. Our team: John, Brock, Ryan, Mike, and Chris. Our friends who are at Ouya: Kelly, Julie, Bob and Jared. Our over-3,000 Kickstarter backers. Indie Fund and this entire industry [that] believed this should exist.

"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 that we want to tell the world about why our lives matter. But sometimes a story is written onto us, or it's 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. And in the end, it was not the story that we wanted to tell. But you chose to love us through our grief, by being willing 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 to experience how we loved him.

"And I have hope that when we are all willing to see each other, not for just who we want to be, but who we are, and who we're meant to be – this act of love, and this act of grace, can change the world.

"Thank you."

That Dragon, Cancer is available on Steam and the iOS App Store.

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