New Racing Toys, Just In Time For The Holidays


Almost as soon as the forks were set down from Thanksgiving, shoppers began hitting stores to snatch up Holiday gifts for their loved ones. If you're one of the millions of parents (or aunts or uncles) faced with finding just the right gift for the child who seems to have grown-up too fast, you may want to consider some of the new racing toys which came to market this year.

Compared to the toy race cars many of us played with as kids, today's models are leaps and bounds ahead in terms of technology. Between smart phone controllers, robotic sensors, and realistic racing physics, the landscape can seem like a minefield to the uninitiated. Lucky for you, E3 is here to take some of the mystery out of the way.

Let's start with the classic, Hotwheels. The toy maker has come out with Hotwheels AI, which takes the Real FX technology and wraps it in an easy-to-use design great for any level of racer. The Mattel package comes with 2 cars, a race track, and specialized controllers. Unlike the tracks of yesterday, the kit in the package allows for creative design with interchangeable interlocking pieces. Like Real FX, the Hotwheels cars come with interchangeable parts. However for younger racers the controller of the Hotwheels model will be far easier to understand and enjoy.

Anki Overdrive is another popular racing toy this year. Multiplayer mode is more stepped-up from the Hotwheels line in that you can race against computer-controlled competitors. Also, since all of the electronics are found in the cars and not in the track, Anki Overdrive can be assembled for play outside. Additional tactics and strategies can come into play during an Anki race, making it a bit more fun for the more experienced racer.

Last but not least, we have the Scalextric Arc Air. This app-controlled racing toy is a nod to the classic slot car racing of the past. Unlike Anki Overdrive, the track itself supplies power to the vehicles, allowing for fewer course design options. Scalextric was the only maker offering real-world car models. Upgrading cars definitely falls in the hobbyist category more than the gaming one. Scalextric is definitely made for the more mature racing fan instead of the young driver.

As you introduce racing to the kids in your life, the most important thing to remember is to match the system to the child. Bringing them in at their level is a surefire way to keep them interested in the hobby for years to come.

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