Review: BigTrak

When a parcel arrives containing an item for review, it is usually The Boy or Me who squeals with delight at the contents. This time, I actually heard my husband inhale sharply.

Inside this box was a product which he only craved as a child. Inside was a six-wheeled tank with a front-mounted blue photon beam headlamp, and a keypad on top. Inside, was a BigTrak!

I'm handing over to him:

Back in 1979, the concept of a 'home computer' was still a rarity, and my own (ok, it was probably my Dad's) Commodore PET was still a year or two away from being delivered.

So when  Milton Bradley (later known as MB Games) launched the BigTrak, it caused quite a sensation. Most toys of the era could emit simple beeps and make small movements, but here was a vehicle that could have a complex set of actions programmed into it.

Fast-forward 32 years. Computers are everywhere, with capabilities that weren't even dreamt of in the 1970s and… the BigTrak is back! Made now by Zeon Tech, the new BigTrak is an exact replica of the original version complete with original sounds and programming interface.

Not having experienced it personally the first time around, I was quite surprised how simple it was to use; within a minute of reading the (brief) manual it was scooting around the room, firing its phaser at random items then heading straight back to me. The angles and distances aren't completely accurate, and as a result it can quite easily overrun the intended destination, but that's part of the fun. The only thing missing is a volume control – the reviewing had to be done through several closed doors to make sure I didn't disturb the Boy's sleep!

With childrens' experiences with computers more about getting the highest score in the latest game than treating them as a tool to be wielded, anything that can spark an interest in programming can only be encouraged. The BigTrak can provide that spark, and make it fun at the same time!

So he's happy then! Why not get a BigTrak for your secret-geek this Christmas and make his time-travelling day?

I was provided with this product by Find-Me-A-Gift for the purpose of the review. Our opinions are honest and unbiased.

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