The following post by Dave Young (originally on Jul 23 2010) was rescued from thanks to the Internet Archive:

This iPhone app is the secondary focus of this article:

A Fun Game

My good friend Montgomery Farrar Tidwell, who goes by the nickname ‘Cucumber’ is also a fellow Indie game developer. We both have been creating iPhone games for the last year or so. Him using Unity 3D / Objective C and me using the Shiva Game Engine.  We chat almost every day in the legacy MyDreamRPG IRC (, or for the last several years.

This year, Cucumber released a kid’s game called Balloon Fun. My 2 year old daughter Olivia loved it from the moment I showed it to her. The game is simple for her to use ‘all by herself’ as she likes to say, and she plays it for hours when she can get my iPhone away from me.

Here she is last Christmas:

I admit it, I would jump in front of a truck for this little girl. She’s a princess through and through and lights my heart up every day without fail.


Yesterday I drove up to work like most days, which is 2 hours away with traffic. I was there for only a few hours when I noticed my phone vibrating, and saw that I had several missed calls and a couple voicemails also. The dang iPhone vibrate button is on the blink so I missed them all, but managed to grab the latest call. It was my 14 yr old son Ramsay, who sounded panicky. “Dad, Shauna needs you to come home right now, we called 911 and Olivia is on the way to the hospital.”  Those kind of calls are always good for an immediate adrenaline rush, and of course I need to know more right NOW!! So I asked to speak to my wife, but she was in panic mode and couldn’t talk. I found out later she was holding my little girl in her arms, who was having a seizure and foaming at the mouth, so couldn’t talk anyway.  This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten a panic call to come home now (happens with the little ones), but never involved an ambulance.  So I left work somewhat angrily, another 2 hours in the car before me. I was thinking my wife was over-reacting.. but she wasn’t.


On the ride home I called home to talk to my son and get the details of what was going on.  My wife had taken all three kids out to breakfast (Ages 14, 2, 1) in the morning, and Olivia is usually a laughing, talking, dancing, singing whirlwind of a girl, but on that morning she was very very quiet. She didn’t eat her favorite breakfast foods at the Phoenix, and she even fell asleep on my wife’s lap. She said she didn’t feel good. On the way home my wife stopped to pick up some Children’s Tylenol because Olivia felt a little warm. While she was in the grocery store, Ramsay called me at work because Olivia wanted to talk to me. She told me she was scared and she didn’t feel good. I told her Mommy will take good care of her, and we hung up. An hour later she was in an ambulance being rushed to the Trauma ward at St. Luke’s Hospital.

When they got home from the grocery store, Olivia got out of the car but just stood still. She walked up to the top of the stairs and just stood there, staring ahead. Then she moved inside and was staring into space, not saying anything to anyone. Shauna put her in a bath and gave her some Tylenol, figuring she felt really sick. She is a bath maniac, but  today she just splashed around a little and then didn’t move around much. My wife has had some experience with seizures, and instinct told her this was going to get bad quickly. She had my son call 911 and an ambulance was on its way. Minutes after the bath my little girl collapsed and began to convulse. The paramedics came and took her to the Trauma ward, but not before she had 3-4 seizures, one of them over 6 minutes long. She was unresponsive with an extremely high fever.

Ride Home

I found this out at the beginning of the ride home and began to accelerate.  The ride takes on average 2 hours, I have done it safely in about 1 hour without traffic.  This ride was much faster than usual, I was praying nonstop, and even yelling at God to not take my daughter from me. I can’t describe my love for this little girl, it’s surpassing.

During the rest of the ride there were no more details or updates forthcoming.. I went straight to the ER.

This is what I saw there:


She remained unresponsive for many hours in the Trauma unit, a couple times seeming like she was going to wake up but she didn’t. She sat by her side, holding her hand, talking to her, singing to her, praying.  She woke up and looked around once for a few seconds, then passed out again. We waited more, monitoring her vital signs and the beeping machines. This was an extremely nervewracking time. We didn’t know if she was hurt badly from her seizures, and if brain functions would be normal. We just wanted our little baby girl back.

After many hours, my wife and I decided to try to wake her up. I had my iPhone with me and I loaded up one of her favorite songs “Lonely Goatherd” from the Sound of Music soundtrack. She wasn’t responding at all, we began to get a little desperate but persisted. Then Olivia woke up and looked around. She kept on looking like she was going to pass out again, her eyes were rolling around and body moving strangely, but we managed to sit her up. Shauna reached over for a piece of chocolate chip cookie and I rubbed some on her lips so she could taste it and maybe be interested in it. She licked her lips a little and then smacked her mouth. She was acting very strangely now, almost like an infant.  We kept her awake while she nibbled on chocolate chip cookie, and we tried to get her to communicate. She was unresponsive to that, and didn’t seem to recognize us or smile. I tried showing her several pictures on the iPhone of family members she loves and she didn’t seem to recognize any, but she grabbed the phone and put it in her mouth to lick a piece of chocolate off it. My heart sank… this was something our 10 month old baby boy does. I felt that perhaps she had been damaged by the fever and seizures.

Then I got an idea.

I pulled out the iPhone again and cranked up Balloon Fun. It begins with a voice which says “Shake to Play”. When she heard the voice, she snapped her attention onto the phone and grabbed it from me, and began to tap balloons. The first one was clumsy but she then began tapping the correctly colored balloons in rapid succession. This was as sure a sign as any that her brain was functioning OK! My wife and I laughed with tears in our eyes and watched her play. After a minute or so, she fidgeted and tried to grab the IV out of her arm. “It hurts mama” She said. My wife and I broke down then, to hear our little angel speak again. She was going to be OK.

10 minutes after waking up :)

In the next several minutes she regained her natural state and was chatting, eating popsicles, chocolate milk, and cookies. We were happy to give them to her, and praised God for the gift of our daughter Olivia.

This story is the story of one heck of a dramatic day, and of the iPhone app Balloon Fun that allowed my little girl to re-orient herself from a comatose state. Who would’ve thought?

Thank you Cucumber my good friend. I know it hasn’t sold too many copies yet, but this one little user is your biggest fan.