Roundabout Racer - Using Atari to Report the News
Journalism Roundabout Racer Robins Roundabouts
Using a video game to communicate a news story is not a new idea, but is still considered very innovative. Generally, the news consumer gains a better understanding of an issue through the interactive experience. In covering the transportation debate in Wisconsin, I tried something entirely different. I programmed a game called Roundabout Racer (development title: Robin's Roundabouts). It's a fun driving game where you try to get through as many roundabouts as possible without getting in a wreck. Playing the game doesn't actually teach you much about roundabouts, but it is a great conversation starter. So I took a different approach in presenting it to my viewers. Trying to get them to play it would have been a nightmare, because I would have had to explain Stella to them and how to configure Stella to play a paddle game. So instead, I played the game and talked about all the random facts I dug up about roundabouts in Wisconsin that I couldn't fit into other stories. I figured some of these kids on YouTube get millions of views just playing games and talking in the background, so why not give it a try. It did much better on Facebook than on YouTube, which is typical these days - though still not exactly viral. Anyway, here's the story I put together, and I've attached the latest version of the game.