This past weekend I found myself in my local branch of a well-known American retailer of toys. I rarely visit there but when I do I like to take a wander down the aisles that hold the kind of toys I played with growing up to see how they are faring in the modern world amongst all the other distractions kids seem to prefer these days like, erm, video games.
One of those toys I used to spend many hours with was Scalextric. Spending my spare time sending cars whizzing around a track is something I still do today though it is far more likely to be my 360 and Forza III providing the entertainment and meaning I don’t have to spend time putting the track away before going to bed.
What surprised me was that in amongst the various Scalextric sets on the shelves was one with Need For Speed emblazoned across its front. I did a double-take but there on the box was the EA logo too. Perhaps I should not have been surprised to find a toy from my distant childhood now had an affiliation with one of video gaming’s annual cash cows given that I remember James Bond sets from way back when and there have been Harry Potter Hornby train sets for some time.
I guess it is just another example of video games becoming a more mainstream form of entertainment. Doing some more digging, via Google, I found a recent article on the subject. It seems this Scalextric set is just the first product of Hornby’s collaboration with EA with more announcements to follow in the new year. Part of Hornby’s statement reads:
Younger video game fans may not have experienced the thrill of Scalextric racing, which requires a different skill set to that of a video game expert. Both EA and Hornby hope the partnership will introduce fans from both categories to each other and thus enhance interest from new audiences. It is a curious mix of virtual, visual excitement and physical, cause-and-effect action.
Curious indeed. I am not sure I understand the attraction of a Need For Speed Scalextric set to a child who is presumably familiar with Need For Speed having played it on their console. Perhaps parents buy it for their video game-addicted child in an attempt to attract them away from their controller but I cannot see that working.
Who do you think the target market is for such toy/video game cross overs? Do you think there is much of a market beyond collectors of that particular toy? If you are one of our younger readers would such a video game-related toy interest you? If you are a parent would you consider buying one for your children and if so, why?
I also began to wonder what other cross overs between video games and toys that were popular before video games we might see. A Captain Price Action Man? A Microsoft Train Simulator Hornby train set? You must be able to come up with some clever or funny ideas that are better than mine so let’s see them in the comments.