ABSTRACT: A study from the OECD published that Cancer is one of the main causes of mortality in developed societies, with remarkably high prevalence, incidence and mortality rates for both sexes. This study closely examines nine digital games to elucidate how they conceptualize a disease like cancer around a narrative concerning the sickness, patients, treatments and outcomes. Discourse and content analysis techniques were applied to the message contained in the games looking to illuminate the connection between the narrative core, the audio-visual representation and the interactive aspects of the game, within the parameters of values-conscious design applied to digital games. This provides some evidence about the cultural and visual aspects of how game designers conceptualize the disease as a part of society. This research uncovers culturally embedded themes and reveals the prevalence of metaphor use in cancer discourse which relied on science, social support and spiritual convictions for social empowerment, building empathy and identification.
KEY WORDS: cancer, cultural industries, digital games, serious games.