Thunder through the streets of the Windy City in a shiny new bug without leaving the comfort of your desktop computer.
That's the experience Volkswagen of America Inc. offers visitors to vw.com's culture and advertising section. The company is providing an abridged New Beetle version of Microsoft Corp.'s popular racing game, Midtown Madness, as a free download from its site.
The New Beetle version, created by Microsoft and Angel Studios, a Carlsbad, Calif., applications developer, lets players drive around simulated downtown Chicago streets in a virtual New Beetle - dodging oncoming traffic, police radar and pedestrians. Players can pick among four vehicle colors, as well as a manual or automatic transmission. They then decide whether they want the fierce competition of an open-road street race or the sublimity of an afternoon city cruise.
VW says that the game is meant to supplement the interactive approach that vw.com is trying to create. The company is not tracking the specific traffic generated and plans to keep the game available online indefinitely.