What a great story in The New York Times weekender edition. A struggling young couple, two kids; he’s a programmer worried about losing his job in recession, so he turns to iPhone programming:

For six weeks, he worked “morning, noon and night”–by day at his job on the Java development team at Sun, and after hours on his side project. In the evenings he would relieve his wife by caring for their two sons, sometimes coding feverishly at his computer with one hand, while the other rocked baby Gavin to sleep or held his toddler, Spencer, on his lap.

Apple approved his shoot-em-up iPhone game last October, and soon after, he made $2,000 on downloads in a single day. But it gets better later on:

In January, he released a free version of the game with fewer features, hoping to spark sales of the paid version. It worked: iShoot Lite has been downloaded more than 2 million times, and many people have upgraded to the paid version, which now costs $2.99. On its peak day–Jan. 11–iShoot sold nearly 17,000 copies, which meant a $35,000 day’s take for Mr. Nicholas.

It reminds me of the (sort of) “good ol’ days” of the personal computer boom, back in the early 1980s, when individual people were making money with early PC software.

Here’s where you get the whole story: Hoping to Make iPhone Toys as a Full-Time Job

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.