A developer has relaunched a popular mobile game after receiving a request from a parent of an eight-year-old boy with autism who told of how important it was in helping the pair bond.
Hello Games made stunt motorbike game Joe Danger available to iPhone users on Thursday, years after updates to Apple’s iOS operating system had left it defunct.
Company founder Sean Murray wrote that while the time spent on space adventure title No Man’s Sky meant Joe Danger had been left “unloved”, one particular message they received made them determined to bring it back to life.
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In it, the father of an eight-year-old child with autism, named Jack, speaks of how the pair formed a strong relationship by playing the game together.
He describes his son being infatuated with Joe Danger, the motorbike-riding daredevil who takes players on a high speed race across the desert.“Jack LOVES Joe. He loves everything about him," the father wrote.
“One of the first things I hear everyday when I walk in the door after a long day at work is ‘Come on, daddy, let’s go play Joe Danger!’"
The game provided a coping mechanism and reward for Jack getting through stressful situations, his father added.
In the letter, he asks the developers if they could bring the game back online.
It reads: “I don’t even know if it’s something that would be possible, or, if possible, how much time and effort would have to be put into getting Joe back up and running (and riding) with the new versions of iOS, but it would mean the world to at least one little boy.”
Mr Murray said the message “broke our hearts”, adding: “As game devs it’s so easy to underestimate the impact even your smallest games can have.”
He said the team had undertaken a “hobby project” to bring the game back online, “slowly rebuilding it piece by piece through eight years of technology changes”.
News of the relaunch has been welcomed by the gaming community, eager to download what many believe is a classic.