“Jack LOVES Joe. He loves everything about him.”
Hello Games, a British video game company relaunched a video game after receiving a request from the parent of an autistic child.
Joe Danger is a fun, zero to hero style side scrolling game that involves guiding Joe Danger, the protagonist, through many obstacles to defeat his nemeses, members of Team Nasty! Originally launched on the Playstation, this game was launched for the iPhone in 2013 and was an immediate hit. However, because of Hello Games’ other commitments and some updates from Apple, Joe Danger was not updated for a long time and subsequently pulled off the App Store. There was no more Joe Danger for the world to enjoy.
Fast forward to January 27, 2022, and Joe Danger relaunched on the iOS on the request of a parent of an autistic child! Founder Sean Murray recently announced on Twitter that after receiving an email (email text at the bottom of this post) from a parent requesting Hello Games to bring back Joe Danger, sharing details about how the game not only helped him and his autistic child Jack strengthen their father-son bond, but also enabled Jack to interact and have fun with friends and family. Understanding the impact games like Joe Danger make in people’s lives, Hello Games modernized the game for latest Apple devices and made it available on the App Store. This vibrant, side scrolling game that only requires the touch of a finger costs $1.99 and can be played on iPhone, iPad and Mac.
When I read the source story, I downloaded it and got sucked in right away! It’s a simple yet very fun and looks amazing – it is very easy to get immersed into the game to make sure Joe jumps over all the obstacles and collects all the coins!
Here’s the full email text:
My name is <REDACTED>.I am a <REDACTED> from the <REDACTED> and I am writing this letter on behalf of my son, Jack. Jack is 8 years old, is about the sweetest kid on the planet, and has been diagnosed with Autism.
As you probably know, children with autism deal with a great many struggles, chief among them are great difficulty with social interactions. However, one the of the things that has enabled Jack and I to bond is our shared love of video games, specifically Joe Danger. 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 | 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 child with autism.
Joe Danger has allowed Jack to interact and have fun with friends and family alike, whether its racing against each other, Team Nasty, or just “unplugging” for a bit and getting some “Huge Air.” In short, playing with Joe has allowed Jack to experience “normal kid stuff.”
As a parent, its hard to put into words the feeling I get seeing the pure joy on Jack’s face Joe Danger brings, knowing the other struggles he experiences every day. But I can assure you, the feeling is a good one.
Now is the part where I ask for help. Not only has Joe Danger helped Jack with friends, but it has become an important coping mechanism for him. The iPhone version of Joe Danger has become a reward for Jack getting through situations that those not on the spectrum take for granted. Sitting in a loud restaurant, walking into a crowded room, sitting through class work can all be significantly stressful, and I am definitely that parent who says “Get through this and you can have the phone for a bit”, but I don’t care– it helps him.
There have been times too innumerous to count where I know Jack is uneasy with a given situation, because he will just look at me and say “Then I get Joe Danger?” Its his way of saying “this is going to suck for me for a bit, but I know I can get through it.” And he does, and Joe Danger helps him do it. The problem is that ever since iOS updated a while back, Joe Danger hasn’t worked with the new versions, and one isn’t even able to find it on the App Store anymore. As children with autism have difficulty with change, any other version just won’t do.
The App store, rather casually I must admit, suggests “contacting the developer” to update the app to get it to work, as if that were something that was done everyday. But Jack asked me to do it for him, so here I am.
I don’t even know if its even 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. And if that doesn’t pull at your heart strings enough, think of all the positive press! If that doesn’t work, I’m sure there is SOME money to be made by getting Joe Danger back on the app store…I figured appealing to both sentiment and cynicism would effectively hedge my bets.
Anyway, if nothing else I want to thank you and the team for the endless hours of entertainment and joy that you have provided my son, and for all the times you’ve helped me and Jack be able to forget about the difficulties, therapy appointments, doctors visits, and all the rest for a bit and just let him “be a kid”. I can honestly sav it has made a difference in his life. Helping children with disabilities may not be something that you realized you would be doing when vou made Joe Danger all those years ago, but it something that you do, and I am grateful for it.