How can video games contribute to spiritual insights and well-being?

In this post, I will introduce my guest writer Dmitriy, who is a master of video games. I asked him how can video games contribute to spiritual insights and well-being. And he answered with this post!

That Dragon Cancer Screenshot 1

Hello everyone!

My name is Dmitriy and this is my first guest post at spiritualhealingbooks.com. Actually it’s my first guest post ever, although I’ve been trying to maintain my own blogs for quite a while.

I became acquainted with Margherita (who is the owner of this site) several days ago, through an online network the members of which we both happen to be. I usually introduce myself to a few members of that network every day by sending them a message explaining who I am and what do I do for living. The next day I check for any replies from the members and reply to them in return, after which the conversation usually ends. This wasn’t the case with Margherita.

Now, then, my area of expertise – if I can say so – is video games. Not any video games, mind you, but those that have the power to affect the lives of people in a beneficial way, either significantly or slightly. When I sent my message to Margherita, I didn’t expect anything special to happen, but as I checked back for the reply, I was surprised to see a question – and an offer to write a guest post on her Website.

Margherita asked me “How can video games contribute to spiritual insights and well-being?”, and today I’m going to try and answer this question with a short real-life story. Some of you may even heard it already.

Video games rarely receive praise from the people who do not play them, and are often perceived as being evil and having a bad influence on young people around the world. I’m not going to argue with that – at least not today, and not in this post. Instead, I’ll tell you about a family. About parents,  who lost their child. A mother and a father, who chose not to become lost in their tragedy, but to help others in the same situation – by creating a video game.

The game I’m talking about is called “That Dragon, Cancer”. It tells a story of Ryan and Amy Green, who discovered that their 1-year-old son Joel had cancer. It is a short game – to play it through will take roughly 2 hours, but those will be one of  the most emotionally intense hours in your life. Basically, the game consists of several scenes depicting the actual experiences through which the Green family went, while dealing with Joel’s treatment.

That Dragon Cancer Screenshot 2

“That Dragon, Cancer”, was created, as a means of expressing and sharing the feelings of people, who’s fighting a battle that can’t be won. A means of letting others know they’re not alone with their own battles, to help them find hope, faith and peace. It is also a means to help people understand what does it take to be a parent of a dying child. It tells a true story, everything shown in the game is what happened to the Greens on their difficult and tragic journey.

You might ask how can such a game “contribute to spiritual insights and well-being”? The answer lies within the actual impact it did and continues to do on the real world around us. There’s at least one other family, who found comfort in understanding they’re not alone with their problem and I’m sure there are more like them. This article at Kotaku tells about that family – read it, they have a much better way with words than me.


I hope you enjoyed reading this and will see video games in a better light from now on 🙂

11 thoughts on “How can video games contribute to spiritual insights and well-being?”

  1. I really enjoyed this post, I would not call myself a gamer but I enjoy playing game since I was a kid. Concerning the game you mentioned above, where do you think I can get it ? Is it something I can download on my mobile device ? I would like to give it a try. Thanks a lot

  2. Wow, what a great introduction to this game. I feel touched that the developer came up with something like this to teach others about overcoming adversities and challenges in life. I love video games, but I think recent ones are a tad too violent. I hope future game developers would approach games from a more profound perspective as I agree it’s a great medium to inspire others. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. My pleasure Lily, I was against gaming because I saw my nephews playing all night.. To me it looked like addiction, but then I met Dimitriy, and I am glad there is a good in anything. Thanks your your comment.

  3. Hi there, your article was an interesting read. I think it is very important to use all skills and tools available to educate or enlighten others. Gaming has proven that out of the box thinking can be effective in impacting others and I the Dragon Cancer is proof of this. If you have the opportunity to share an experience you should do it and use any available resource to do this. All the best with the gaming and keeping it real!

  4. Good Post. Gaming is potentially an amazing educational tool.
    I never bought into the idea that gaming is inherently harmful except for the fact that it can be quite addictive and I do feel that there is more to life than spending every available moment playing games – which is what some addicts do.
    However, I don’t believe for a moment that regular gamers cannot separate the fantasy of gaming from the reality of everyday life.
    I can see how games can easily be used to convey spiritual or any other concepts for that matter.
    An interesting article about a subject I don’t come across very often. Good one.

  5. I am one of those people you mention, who think video game are just a time eater, useless entertainment. Thanks Dimitry for telling us that they actually can serve to a really good purpose. Not sure if I would begin with them, but I am glad that people used to video gaming can find good content there, too!

  6. Margherita and Dmitriy, thank you. I had never considered this topic before and it is a bit of a mind-boggle.

    My own take on video games is that they (like most things in life) can be a way toward spirituality because they contain lessons about mastery and lessons about addiction.

    The youngsters who are heavily into the gaming have the opportunity to hone skills that could serve them well in a world that gets more connected and more complex with every iteration of the technology that’s a large part now of our lives.

    Metaskills like being able to focus down on a goal and working through obstacles are valuable things to have.

    Also, knowing how to step back from it in order to deal with analog (real-life) living is a very valuable skill.

    Finding skillful means to live a life worth living are always a good thing, I think.

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