Toys
Videogame racing meets real life in Real FX

The Premise. For many, no childhood was complete without either a quality remote-controlled car or a bulky, customizable slot car track. The thrill of speed and navigating twists and turns was irresistible to so many children, but the technology has done little to advance into the 21st century.

The Product. Real FX racing marries the competitive, constructed nature of slot car tracks with the freedom of motion and skill that remote control cars offer. With a pack of different track pieces, any number of courses can be created for the cars to drive along. Once ready, any number of racers can hit the track and compete using the special controllers. These controllers and the cars themselves are designed to simulate a more virtual racing experience in the real world, with cars that can drive themselves, programmable track hazards, and assisted steering. Using an optical sensor beneath the cars, each car tends to gravitate toward the center of the track to keep races competitive, but also allows the drive the freedom to steer as they like and attempt to pass cars or go for the best time.

The Pitch. The toy car enthusiasts over at Wow! Labs are happy to show off Real FX and what the different cars can do. Seeing real-life R/C cars driving themselves competitively around a customizable, unique track is enough to really capture that childlike magic of play, and all the other features that Real FX have to offer are all thick frosting on this exciting cake. Wow! Labs needs £50,000 in order for Real FX to qualify for its big race.

The Perks. A set with two cars and controllers with starter track pieces will ship out in October 2014 for £100. A third car can be added at the £130 level, while a more complex pro-racing track set starts at £150. The production pilot model will be ready in August for those willing to shell out £1,000 to hit the track a little faster.

The Potential. The execution for Real FX seems pot on, perfectly marrying the racing aspects of slot car with the freedom of movement provided by R/C. The controls seem comfortable and easy to use, and this could be fun for people of any age to get together and play. Though the computerized features of the cars are robust, the “video game” angle that Wow! Labs promotes is overshadowed by other similar items like Anki, which offers upgradeable performance and even weapons for the cars. Real FX offers a more pure race however, and the potential for new sets of track pieces or other upgrades in the future is promising for this racing system.

Michael Radon is a full-time writer who resides in New Mexico and is currently working as Editor-in-Chief on an upcoming magazine about retro video games.