Innovation That Matters

Hacked arcade game uses real-time traffic data

Publishing & Media

5th Ave Frogger, built by New York-based creative Tyler DeAngelo, translates real-time traffic data into digital obstacles in a homage to the classic game.

While many video games are designed to distract from the gamer’s everyday life, we have recently seen some developers instead try to incorporate real-world activity into the virtual world, with last year’s Tweetland being one example. Now New York-based creative Tyler DeAngelo has built 5th Ave Frogger, which takes real-time traffic data and feeds it into a homage to the classic arcade game. DeAngelo struck upon the idea when his favorite 1980s video game – in which users had to safely guide a frog across a busy road – was omitted from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s The Art of Video Games exhibition. The developer decided to create an updated version of the game, hacked to receive input from a webcam located above 5th Avenue, which translates real traffic into digital obstacles for the game’s character. Using similar technology to the Pimkie Color Forecast recently featured on Springwise, cars on the road are isolated from the background and their position mapped in real time. The game’s difficulty level depends on the time of day – nighttime is the easiest, while the morning rush hour might be best left to experts. In a twist that brings the real and virtual worlds even closer, DeAngelo has presented the game in its original arcade console format on the sidewalk of 5th Avenue for passersby to play. The game was also demonstrated at the NYC FUNHAUS 2012 event in Brooklyn at the end of April, but there is no word yet if there will be further outings. The video below shows the game in action, as well as the technology behind it: 5th Avenue Frogger merges real life and video games in a simple, but entertaining way. Developers: could you take this concept to the next level?



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