What It Is
No question, web-enhanced toys are major players in the toy box. And while they're not, strictly speaking, new, these toys are becoming more sophisticated - and delivering better play - with each passing year.
That's one of the reasons we're so excited about Tracksters. In the package you get a very high quality 1:46 scale die-cast metal car. They have a substantial weight and well-deigned fast axles that make them superior for play and collecting.
But that's just the beginning. Each car also comes with a unique code that allows players to unlock the world of Tracksters.com. There, players can customize the online versions of their cars and race them.
The web site is truly remarkable. Excellent graphics, fast loading, exciting tracks and hours of interactive play, in a completely safe environment for kids. (COPA compliant) At the same time, they can race other cars through the online connection in a variety of environments.
There are also Track Packs that can be purchased separately. Each includes 7 cards that can add special features to the cars to improve performance or open up other parts of the world.
There are many things that are truly positive about this. First, kids are engaging in two complementary but distinct modes of play. There's the collection and play with die-cast cars that kids will really enjoy. That's classic play that no amount of technology is ever going to displace.
The online component is rich and engaging with many features that are designed for the kids (and older guys) who love cars and racing. The graphics are superior for this kind of play, and it truly reflects the investment of the developers.
More importantly, the universe of Tracksters is growing all the time, and nobody had done a better site for vehicle play that encompasses such diverse activities.
There are a couple of things to be aware of. You can buy a die-cast car for about a buck, and nearly every boy has a bucket of them. However, these cars (made for the Tracksters folks by Jada) are really high quality. Also, you're unlocking the entire world of the web, and when you compare the richness of the gameplay to any basic video game (PS 1 and handhelds, for example), you'll be impressed by the quality.
Secondly, though this site does work with Macs, you have to boot your Mac in Windows mode. It's a little clumsy the first time, but not terribly difficult. We got the best performance using it in a PC. The better your graphics card, the better you'll see all the action, too.
This company has been flying a little bit under the radar, but we're predicting that you're going to be hearing a lot about them in very short order, especially if you've got kids who love this kind of thing... or you do.