An amateur computer game designer in Raleigh claimed a $50,000 cash prize in an Xbox contest to promote Doritos chips and snack foods.
Jill Robertson's "Doritos Crash Course" game, designed for the Xbox 360, was selected by her fellow gamers nationwide as the winner in the online contest run by Doritos. As part of her victory, she will also have the opportunity to consult with Doritos on gaming for six months.
Robertson, 28, works as copy center associate at Staples, and said the cash award will pay for a college education at Wake Tech Community College in programming or a related field.
"I knew I had it in me," she said this morning about taking the first prize. "I didn't want to work in retail for the rest of my life."
The voting this month came down to Robertson's obstacle course game versus a race game designed by Justin Carpenter in Utah. The two finalists won out against 1,500 ideas submitted in the fall of 2009. Doritos also awarded Carpenter $50,000.
Using self-taught computer graphics skills, Robertson spent several days making a 2-minute video to pitch her Xbox game concept. The game itself was designed by Microsoft teams in Chile and Canada, she said.
She and her husband are avid video gaming fans. Both work at Staples.
Robertson is a native of Iowa but moved to the Triangle with her family at age 9 and graduated from Norlina Christian School in Norlina, about 60 miles north of Raleigh and near the Virginia border.
Doritos has been enlisting its fans in contests since 2007, when the company gave consumers an opportunity to make commercials to run during the Super Bowl. Unlike Robertson and other hobbyists, some of the contestants work full time in video design.