Ben's Game was designed by 9-year-old cancer patient Ben Duskin along with Eric Johnston, a senior software engineer at LucasArts. Ben was in the hospital being treating for leukemia, while his mom described the process to him in terms of the good and evil characters in video games. Through the Make-A-Wish foundation, Ben was matched up with Eric, who worked on the game design with Ben and did the programming with support from LucasArts. Gameplay
In the game you fight evil cancer cells and the side effects of chemotherapy with an array of medicinal weapons, but as with real cancer treatments, each comes with side effects. Your character, who flies across a field of cells on a rocket equipped surfboard, has health, medicine, and positive attitude at his disposal.
The goal of the game is to collect seven shields that protect you against some of the side effects of cancer treatment.
Prior to collecting the shield you must defeat a monster keeping you from it as well as fight the mutating cells that surround it. Touching a mutated cell hurts your health, which you can replenish at the hospital. Hitting barriers called Setbacks take away from your Attitude, which you can replenish at home.
Your arsenal includes a sword, a repeater, a crossbow, and a missile. You have a limited supply of ammo, which you can replenish by visiting the pharmacy.Response
The game was very well received by both patients, doctors, and gamers around the world. It was downloaded over 200,000 times in its first few months. In 2004 Ben was nominated by the Make-A-Wish foundation as "Unsung Hero for Compassion". In 2005 Ben and Eric both were honored in San Francisco and met with the Dalai Lama.
Ben's game is available for free download from the Make-A-Wish website
. It runs on Windows98/2000/XP or Mac (OSX).