Sometimes video games and toys make a bizarre combination. Who knew that Atari and Hot Wheels joined forces to make a nostalgic car collection that came out this year, of all things? I didn’t know until someone mentioned these to me.

I was tipped off to these from a friend at Hardcore Gaming 101, who found one of these at a Bi-Mart. Ah yes, Bi-Mart, that podunk little chain of discount club stores based in the Pacific Northwest. Bi-Mart gives me that folksy vibe that reminds me of a supermarket that’s stuck in 1987. I even remember the TV commercials which looked so low budget you’d think they were made for public access. But enough about Bi-Mart, let’s look at the cars.

These are a set of six Hot Wheels cars based on famed Atari franchises. It’s funny how the Atari of today has stopped making original games completely and is content with squeezing as much blood from the old-school Atari stone as it can. I can’t blame them, Atari was a significant name in the early heyday of video games, gotta keep that spirit alive. The cars are based on old cars, and have decals that resemble the game’s graphics or the game’s cover art, where available.

The cars are the following:

  • A ’55 Chevy Panel based on Tempest
  • A custom ’52 Chevy based on Pong
  • A car from the “Fast Gassin” line, based on Missile Command
  • A car from the “Cool-One” line, based on Centipede
  • A ’49 Ford C.O.E. based on Breakout
  • and finally a GMC Motorhome based on the Atari 2600.

The car choices are absolutely bizarre, either they’re based on vehicles from the ’50s or unusual branded Hot Wheels. More suitable choices would have been stuff like the AMC Pacer or the Chevy Impala, stuff from the same time period as the games being featured. I do love the choice for the 2600 it just screams 70s thanks to that faux wood paneling that was pretty popular back then.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge toy collector, and that includes toy cars. Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars were meant to be played with, not collected. I’d play with these cars in the backyard with the dirty, worn out car playset that a neighbor had. At least, that’s how it was for me when I was younger. I do have a tub full of unopened Hot Wheels from about ten years ago, but their resale value is pretty much next-to-nil, so I’m holding onto them in the hopes they’re worth something someday. This isn’t even the first time Hot Wheels has made video game cars, Sega joined forces with Hot Wheels back in 2003 to advertise then-recent Sega games. I’m missing two of those, and maybe I’ll talk about those sometime.

The best part is that I paid $2 for all six, giving me $12 for silly video game cars. Thanks Bi-Mart! You are useful when I want silly junk at rock-bottom prices.

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