Boulder Game Developer: ‘Video Games Saved My Life’

August 25, 2016
Photo: Boulder video game developer Zhenghua Yang speaks at TEDxCU(Courtesy TEDxCU/Harrison Dreves)
Zhenghua Yang, founder and CEO of Boulder video game development company Serenity Forge, speaks at TEDxCU on April 16, 2016.

Pokémon Go was arguably the game of the summer, even if its user numbers are now declining

For many, it was a fun scavenger hunt of sorts -- just a game. But Zhenghua Yang has a different outlook on gaming. He says video games saved his life.

When Yang was 18, doctors diagnosed him with a severe, rare blood disorder called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP. Hospitalized for two years, Yang spent much of his time playing the multi-player online game "League of Legends."

Through that gaming community, he connected with a player who recommended a well-known hematologist. Yang says that medical researcher gave him life-saving advice, but to this day he does not know the real name of the player who made the recommendation.    

Yang, who is 26 and known by many as "Z," founded the Boulder company Serenity Forge in 2012. It develops what he calls "value-driven" video games. Yang gave a TEDx talk at the University of Colorado Boulder earlier this year. His company releases a new game next week called "Four Sided Fantasy."

He spoke with Colorado Matters host Nathan Heffel.