Local kid creates game app with help of Make-A-Wish, Pixel Jinn

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- When children with life-threatening illnesses are granted a wish through the Make-A-Wish® Foundation, most choose to meet someone famous or visit Disneyland.  But when Ryan Cottor was offered a wish, he picked something a little more unusual. 

The 12-year old has spent his life battling spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a neuromuscular disease that has left him limited use of his body.  But with his hands, he can play video games. So he made a decision. Why not create a game of of his own? 

The Make-A-Wish® Foundation contacted Pixel Jinn, a collective of video designers from throughout the West.  The group worked with Ryan to create the game "Monkey Wars," which was made available in the iTunes store just last week.  The whole process took about four years! 

Ryan, who loves video games, was the creative director, which means he called all of the shots. Monkey Wars is his vision brought to digital life.

It's a challenging game. The goal is to defend "monkey islands" from humans who want to take over.  The monkeys must throw "banana-rangs" to protect their home and fend off the humans. 

Monkey Wars is available for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It requires iOS 6.0 or later and is free to download.

As of Tuesday morning, the game had a five-star rating, with one reviewer calling it a "fun gem."