The last thing the world needs is another karting game. Admittedly the situation was even worse in the middle of the last decade, a low point marked by Crazy Frog Racer 2. Though Sebastian Vettel would presumably consider that the height of hilarity, if his post-race Crazy Frog impression at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix is anything to go by.
I mention Formula 1 because F1 Race Stars – the latest official title from Codemasters – is exactly that, and I’ve been trying to work out what to make of it since it was announced last week.
It can’t be that they’ve identified a gap in the market; launching around the same time late this year will be both LittleBigPlanet Karting and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.
Admittedly all three games have strong brands behind them, with slightly different takes on the genre, and are likely to be well promoted. But as far as the games market goes, F1 Race Stars is the least proven. And also, I’d suggest, the least likely to independently appeal to children.
Attracting the younger generation is clearly the target though, and I’d be interested to know whether it’s come from Codemasters or Formula 1 on high. I can easily imagine the license renewal having depended on grabbing the youngsters – a key aim for the sport, with its ageing demographic. See also: McLaren’s Tooned animated series.
So will F1 Race Stars succeed in engaging the youth? I can’t see many young ‘uns pestering their parents for the game of their own accord, but I can see F1-watching parents – particularly lapsed gamers with fond memories of Mario Kart – getting the game for their children (or indeed for themselves), and getting their kids involved in the sport that way.
It might just be ever such a clever idea. Whoever’s idea it was.
A version of this article first appeared on 2or4.co.uk – a motorsport blog
Towards the end of the PSone’s life Sony released F1 Arcade which had power-ups. It was clear it was aimed at kids but even so I still bought it and enjoyed it.
I think the same will apply here – it has universal appeal.
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