Parent’s basement

American Experiment’s newest animated video follows a basement-bound gamer

Sticking with John Hinderaker’s oft-stated observation that “we’re not your father’s think tank,” Center of the American Experiment recently released its third animated video designed to attract nontraditional viewers.

“I’m all about reaching people,” says Hinderaker, the Center’s president. “My view is that we can’t change Minnesota unless we start communicating with a whole lot more people.”

The new video juxtaposes a live-action gamer via picture-in-picture as he explores a new videogame called Parent’s Basement ( The goal of the game is to overcome the series of obstacles, created by liberal policies, that prevent young people from starting productive adult lives. “Sounds boring,” the gamer says, “but hopefully there will be zombies or something that we can go out and kill along the way.”

The video was produced by Justin Folk, a producer at Madison McQueen, a powerhouse production company.

Folk met Hinderaker when one of his videos won a $100,000 prize in a competition sponsored by Power Line, Hinderaker’s celebrated political blog. Hinderaker recalls that Folk was working in post-production in Hollywood at the time, but wanted a career in conservative media. He earned that flexibility when his ad, Sling Baby, won the $1 million first prize in a Super Bowl ad competition sponsored by Doritos (see it on YouTube).

More than 130,000 people nationwide watched Parent’s Basement during its first three weeks.

Hinderaker arranged to have it premier on, where it received 54,000 views in the first 24 hours. It received 15,000 views on the American Experiment site during the same period.

“People nowadays are visually very sophisticated,” Hinderaker said. “You can’t get their attention with a video that looks like it was made in your basement.”