Saturday, September 03, 2011
A toy car that is a gift from the gods? (Dollar Store Toy Review)
Click here for an explanation of this... in case the heading wasn't enough.
The Toy: Xtreme Super Racer!
So I had a little extra money this week, and around our house "a little extra money" means just that: a little. Not being one to save for a rainy day - -things worked out pretty well for the grasshopper in the end, right, because the ants took care of him after all -- I headed to the Dollar Store with Mr F and Mr Bunches, where they were each allowed to get two things, although eventually they each got three things, with one of Mr Bunches' being the Xtreme Super Racer!
The "Xtreme Super Racer" was not Mr Bunches' first choice; he had originally gone with a far less impressive race car -- one that was neither super nor Xtreme, but was merely a hollow plastic shell of a car. Noting that, I suggested to him that he might want the Xtreme Super Racer, to which he replied:
Mr Bunches not being sold on the idea of owning an Xtreme Super Racer until I pointed out that the Xtreme Super Racer in question was somewhat similar to Lightning McQueen, from "Cars", and Mr Bunches had been watching "Cars" obsessively this week, so that won him over.
The Construction: The Xtreme Super Racer is made of plastic, which, really, if you think about it, should've been what Prometheus stole from the gods to give to man and end up having his liver eaten for the rest of eternity. I mean, yeah, fire, etc., blah blah blah, but can you make a race car out of fire?
Not yet. But scientists at MIT are working on it.
Until then, we'll have plastic cars with tiny motors in them that rev up when you push the car, and which, really, for a dollar are pretty sophisticated.
I don't know how else to describe it, though. It's a plastic car. It has wheels. It has an engine of some sort. What do you want from me? I'm no Ezra Pound.
How It's Used: You take the car, and you rev it and let it go. But, word to the wise: The car will run in the direction you run it. We have some high-end toy cars with little engines in them (they go for $5.99 at the grocery store, and we have enough of them to have paid off my student loans if we were not such softies at the grocery store that Sweetie had to eventually take over the grocery shopping because we were going broke and being buried in high-end toy cars), and those high-end cars are revved up by pulling them backwards, which winds them up, and they then run forward.
The Xtreme Super Car apparently is Xtreme because it revs in two directions -- so if you pull it backwards to rev it up, and then let it go, it runs in reverse, something the "real" Lightning McQueen couldn't do because he had no rearview mirrors, even though (a) don't race cars have rearview mirrors inside? I suspect they do and (b) why was Lightning McQueen so mystified by the fact that Mater had rearview mirrors? He'd been around other cars, all of whom had rearview mirrors. Had he really never seen any car back up before? and (c) why was Mater called Mater?
All good questions.
If you rev the Xtreme Super Car in forward, it then runs forward, and to give you a live-action look at that, let's go to the video:
That was, in fact, Xtreme.
How It Works: Aside from a minor problem I'll get to in a second, really well. The car ran and ran and ran, and held Mr Bunches' attention. This is him, twenty minutes later:
He hadn't stopped at all, and even telling him that it was bedtime and that he could do the bubbles in the bath hadn't torn him away from the Xtreme Super Racer.
On the other hand, the Xtreme Super Racer does not, after all, go very fast. And, it turns out, the tires come off. I would tell you whether they come off easily, or not, except I don't know. In our case, they come off "when Mr F tries to bite them off" and I can't gauge whether that's easy or hard to do because Mr F is like a 5-year-old version of The Hulk. He's super-strong, which, combined with his natural running and evasive abilities, makes him either the world's youngest/silliest superhero, or number 3 on the Packers' depth chart at running back already.
But I digress. The Xtreme Super Racer will drive and will keep on driving and will even do so with only three tires, that being the number of tires you have to use after Mr F bites one off and Sweetie takes it away because she's worried he'll swallow it even though it's pretty obvious he's only doing it to get Sweetie's goat and isn't really interested in eating the tire.
The Review By Mr F and Mr Bunches: Mr F seems to like the tire, but took no interest in the car itself beyond that. But, Mr F never takes any interest in any cars, so that's more of a statement on cars than a statement on the Xtreme Super Racer.
Mr Bunches' review is best summarized thusly:
That was taken the next morning, when I woke Mr Bunches up and he said "Car?" immediately, and I said he could play with the Xtreme Super Racer as soon as he got dressed and used the bathroom, which he did in record time to rush down and begin Xtreme Super Racing at 7:05 a.m.
Final Grade: A+.
But, a note: The Xtreme Super Car, while obviously a piece of high technology,