York, United Kingdom – Veteran ZX Spectrum videogame creator, Martin Wheeler has launched a new indie project which he hopes will help his daughter and others like her, affected by autism. Go Robo! is a casual arcade game featuring a booty-shaking robot, deadly dancing girls and a soundtrack of electro beats. Developed for iPhone and play-tested by the designer’s two children, the game is out now on the App Store and 25% of all sales are being donated to support people with autism, via the National Autistic Society.
80s bedroom coder Martin Wheeler had his first game published at the age of fourteen, by Richard Branson’s fledgling Virgin Games label. ‘Sorcery’ was a best-seller and one of many hits for Martin, who says the company’s success didn’t bring him any financial rewards. “I was just out of school and making games was my dream job. I never contested the fact that my royalty statements always amounted to nil” recalls Martin. As a member of Virgin’s much lauded Gang Of Five the ‘rockstar’ programmer earned a salary of just 4,000 per year and lived at home with his parents.
On meeting Virgin’s millionaire founder, Richard Branson, Martin was affectionately dubbed a ‘little whizz kid’. But by 1988 the young man behind the success of Virgin Games had left the company, disillusioned. Losing touch with his former colleagues Martin ended up working as a hospital cleaner until a chance phone call and the arrival of Nintendo’s Game Boy rebooted his games career.
Twenty years later, Martin says it feels just like the old days of bedroom coding all over again – with his own indie startup project, Recluse Industries launching a game he developed on his iPhone.
Featuring a booty-shaking robot and dancing girls intent on chasing anything in metal trousers, ‘Go Robo!’ is a fun casual game with neon-bright colors and an electro-pop soundtrack by Vector-Lovers (Martin’s music producer alias, under which he is signed to record label Soma Records). Play-tested by his own children, the game is inspired by the arcade classics of the 8-bit era, with simple game play and that ‘one more go’ quality.
A father of two, Martin hopes the game will help his daughter and others like her, who have autism. Recluse Industries is donating a quarter of all sales income to support the National Autistic Society and has set an initial target of raising 5,000 for the charity. Martin’s daughter attends a local school in York with special facilities for children with developmental and sensory issues. “Life can be very difficult for families affected by autism.” He says. “We couldn’t have coped without extra support and assistance, and I’d like to raise awareness and funds for the cause.”
Martin developed ‘Go Robo!’ over a period of four months and admits it’s an all-or-nothing venture. “I’ve created a lot of successful games, including an award-winning title for Nintendo – but I have yet to find an investor with the vision to back me. I’ve put everything I have into this. It’s something I really believe in and love doing.”
* iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, 3/4G iPod touch and iPad
* Requires iOS 4.3 or later
* 26.9 MB
Pricing and Availability:
Go Robo! 1.1 is only $0.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.
Founded in 2011, Recluse Industries is a startup independent games developer, based in York in the UK. Recluse Industries currently has three original game IPs in development for iOS and Android devices, scheduled for release in 2012. Copyright (C) 2012 Recluse Industries. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.