When Today Show weatherman Al Roker overslept for the first time in his career last year, he endured days of tormenting on the set of his show. At home, however, it was business as usual. "My family, they didn't even know," the affable weatherman says. "The fact is even with oversleeping, I still left before they did. They had no idea of what happened!" But the incident got Roker thinking, and along with Today Show technology contributor Katie Linendoll and animator Steve Lunny, he began working on an app based on the experience.
The just-released Al's Weather Rokies app ($1) is a two-dimensional cartoon game that incorporates real-time weather. Players try to wake up an animated Roker from his weather-filled dreams so he gets to work on time. "There [are] these great weather apps out there, and there [are] these great games; but there's nothing that combines the two so that you could get a good forecast and play a good game that was kind of weather-based," Roker explained. "Everybody loves weather. They love to bash it, they love to talk about it, and with a really great sense of humor, we came up with a game that kind of addresses both."
As for expanding kids' love of the weather, Roker believes his game can help parents tap into it. He said, "Climate change is a topic that is now front and center with everybody. So I think in a sense playing this game is a great gateway to talking about weather. [Ask your kids,] 'What are the characteristics of a thunderstorm? Why do you need to put sunblock on when you go out in the sun? Are two snowflakes ever alike?' Things like that that allow you to use this game as an entry point to talk about weather."
But Al's Weather Rokies app isn't the only one that's running on the jovial coanchor's iPad. While Roker and his three children cherish their screen-free time — opting to sit around their living room turning the pages of real books rather than reading them via an app — he often turns to technology to help with his parenting, telling us that the Common Sense Media app (free) is one of his favorites. "It's a great go-to app when you're looking at [going] to this movie or [letting] them watch this TV show if I haven't had eyes on it myself," Roker said. "They give real-world common sense ideas for popular movies, TV shows, and things like that."
Watch the video to see a full demo of the app, and download the game today!