Aaron Widmar
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Real-Life Video Game: Anki Drive Remote Control Race Cars

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real-life video game Anki Drive 4

Footage from the commercial for Anki Drive, the real-life video game.
Photo: Anki

Remember the old electric slot car tracks you used to play with in your basement with your dad? You got to build your own track, depending on how many pieces you could find, and race two toy cars in a circle. It had to be done gently, of course, so you didn’t fly off the track on the third turn. Then the electrical contacts would fray or lift and you’d have to fiddle with them before racing again. Good times…

Now, we’re living in the twenty-first century, and robotics company Anki knew that slot car racing needed a serious upgrade. So, it decided to re-invent remote control cars and car video games.

Synchronizing actual toys to video games is nothing new. Skylanders… Disney Infinity… you get the toys and upload the data onto your game console. It’s just a way for companies to make more money on kid’s hoarding– *ahem* collecting.

But, what if your digital device fed to your toys? You’d have a real-life video game.

Anki Drive is being released and we haven’t seen this level of toy-video game integration before. Check out the video advertising the product below.

All we can say is:

Bill & Ted Woah reaction gif

Anki Drive Is a Real-Life Video Game and We All Want a Turn!

Here’s how Anki Drive works. You start with your digital device. The software, which comes with the basic package, can run on any recent iOS  or Android (just announced) device.

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Photo: Anki

Once you’ve set up your personalized profile to prepare your car, lay out your special track. The mat is produced with special optic technology that your car will sense 500 times a second to know its position.

real-life video game Anki Drive 2

Photo: Anki

Decide how many players will participate. If you’re the only human playing the game, or have no friends, no need to worry! Artificial Intelligence from the game will control the other cars and race against you– like real robots.

real-life video game Anki Drive 5

Photo: TechCrunch

You can control the movement of the car as well as implement basic weapons like tractor beams and land mines. The more you play, the more you can upgrade.

real-life video game Anki Drive 1

Photo: Anki

The Anki Drive real-life video game is available on the company’s website, Amazon, and Apple stores.  The basic package will cost you a reasonable $149.99 for the mat, two cars, the software, and accessories like chargers. From there, additional cars–each with special capabilities–cost you a a bit more at $70.

While the basic package comes with a standard oval track, two other shapes can be purchased for $100 each: the bottleneck and the crossroads (a figure 8, not that Britney Spears movie).

What do you think? Is this the coolest new toy-plus-car video game we’ve seen all year, or a cool idea with an underwhelming execution? Take a look at the commercial and decide for yourself.

Then, let us know your thoughts on this real-life video game!