Be Kind: Video game company brings back hero of Pa. boy with autism

Ten-year-old Jack Sanders of Wilkes-Barre was diagnosed with autism at age 3.
BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A plastic surgeon for St. Luke's Hospital in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania issued his own doctor's orders when his son's beloved video game was no longer available.

Ten-year-old Jack Sanders of Wilkes-Barre was diagnosed with autism at age 3.

The game "Joe Danger" by Hello Games was his coping mechanism.

"It stimulates his brain, helps him focus his attention while blocking out the intrusive noise and movement," his father, Dr. Chris Sanders, said.

But in 2020, the game was no longer compatible with the updated iPhone operating system.

The Sanders were devastated.

Dr. Sanders decided to write to Hello Games.

Company founder Sean Murray later shared Dr. Sanders' letter on Twitter, and responded on the company website, saying the letter "broke our hearts and made us want to set things right."

But Dr. Sanders and his son waited and waited, and "Joe Danger" still did not reappear on the iPhone.

Finally in January of 2022, "Joe Danger" was back.

Murray said in an interview with The Guardian newspaper in England that the team had undertaken a "hobby project" to bring the game back to life online, "slowly rebuilding it piece by piece through eight years of technology changes."

Though Jack is a boy of few words, he'll eagerly demonstrate how he controls his action hero on the iPad or iPhone, with a broad smile on his face.

Now that his longtime friend Joe is back, Jack and his parents are grateful and relieved that the game's owners made a sacrifice to revive the hero on the screen.

"He's been completely overjoyed," says Jack's father. "It means the world to us that they did this for a boy who needs 'Joe Danger' in his life."
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