Developer brings back iPhone game after request from parent of child with autism

A developer has relaunched a popular mobile game after receiving a request from the parent of a child with autism.

Hello Games, known as the makers of No Man’s Sky, made stunt motorbike game Joe Danger available to iPhone users on Thursday, years after updates to Apple’s iOS operating system had rendered it defunct.

Founder Sean Murray wrote on Twitter that while the time spent on space adventure title No Man’s Sky meant Joe Danger had been left “unloved”, one particular mail they received made them determined to bring it back to life.

In it, the father of a child with autism named Jack speaks of how the pair bonded over playing the game.

He writes: “Jack LOVES Joe. He loves everything about him.

“He has a collection of toy motorcycles that are his ‘Joe Dangers;’ every motorcycle we see on the street is ‘Joe Danger’.

“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!’

“Just being able to say that sentence is a MASSIVE deal for a child with autism.”

Jack also, his father wrote, used the game as a coping mechanism, as they used the game as a reward for him when he got through stressful and difficult situations.

In the letter, he asks the developers if they can 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.”

Writing on Twitter, Mr Murray said the correspondence “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”.

The updated versions of Joe Danger and Joe Danger Infinity went on sale in Apple’s App Store on Thursday for £1.99 each or £2.99 for both.

“It’s sad that games slowly rot and many disappear,” Mr Murray tweeted.

“Hopefully this gives Joe the happy life he deserves.”