Virtual Test Drives
By Jamie F. of Grumbles & Grunts
The other night after dinner, I challenged my husband, Jon, to a race-off. I’m the sole video game luvah in our house (yes, me, the female, the mom), and much to Jon’s consternation, I could easily spend an hour or ten gaming away. Except that toddlers have an adorable way of pushing random buttons, or needing food, so my game time is not what it used to be.
The only type of games the two of us seem to agree on are racing games, which bridge the divide between my craving for button-pushing and his love of cars. That’s how we found ourselves booting up Forza Motorsport 4 after our son’s bedtime the other night, so I could scratch my gaming itch while we piloted real-world cars from the comfort of our living room—Top Gear commentary not included.
We get a bit “competitive” when we race. The “quotations,” I should point out, indicate a “loose” definition that may or may not have included the exchange of a lot of sriracha-level spicy words while we pushed our electric Volts to their limits around the Nürburgring. Rubbing IS racing, even in an environmentally friendly vehicle.
What can I say? I grew up in Indianapolis, and being a conscious consumer does not mean for one second that I’m going to let him pass me.
Pew pew, eat my electric-car dust!
(And he did, until I spun out on the grass and…flipped over. Hey, I’m fully committed to the win.)
Our dueling Volts battled around turns while we adjusted to the lack of gear-shifting in the straightaways. (That’s right, no gear shifting. Yes, it’s eerily smooth.) In the end, I couldn’t close the gap and I think I recall “Who’s electric NOW?!” being shouted in my direction. That could mean only one thing: REMATCH.
Unfortunately for me, the second round also ended in defeat. That probably had less to do with me and more to do with the Corvette ZR1 he was driving against my perky little jalapeno-green Spark. Props to the Spark when it went head-to-head against the other cars in its class, but against the Corvette, it was a like trying to get a Labrador to chase a greyhound in a circle. We’ll call that not fighting fair.
It’s a Christmas miracle finding something we can actually play together, so the next day, no surprise, we were back at it—even before little Jude’s bedtime. We got busy setting up a race of vintage 1960 Corvettes, except this time it was with the added challenge of dodging little fingers and the errant foam football to Mom’s face. (Difficulty setting: Little Boy.) The cars were heavy enough for some satisfying pushing and shoving in the corners, until I had a blanket thrown over my head and I lost, AGAIN. Never in my life have I lost so many races in a row.
Wait, you guys…I think I figured out why Jon agrees to play car games with me.
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Jamie F. lives in Ohio with her husband and (nearly) 3-year-old son, who prefers to be called “Eagle Bones.” When she isn’t battling zombies or fighting black bears she blogs at Grumbles and Grunts.
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