A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that NASCAR The Game 2011 is a racing simulation game with some mild language (one song that has the word "hell" in its lyrics). Note, though, that its depiction of racing -- though seemingly realistic -- does not accurately simulate the dangers and potential consequences of high-speed racing. This could affect how young players think about the risks involved with real-world driving.
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What's it about?
NASCAR THE GAME 2011 is a racing title for the Nintendo Wii -- the first time a NASCAR title has come to Nintendo's console -- allowing fans of the sport to race as or against their favorite real-life drivers. You'll have access to renowned NASCAR drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Danica Patrick, and Trevor Bayne, winner of the 2011 Daytona 500. The game lets you climb behind one of 43 cars before taking to nearly two dozen authentic tracks to vie for the checkered flag. Other features include realistic wrecks with full damage modeling, strategic pit stops and multiple game modes.
Is it any good?
While the game sounds decent on paper, playing isn't very fun for a few reasons. For one, it's incredibly easy. Passing other drivers is a piece of cake. You will most likely win races regardless of your skill level. Anyone with driving game experience should select the highest difficulty setting. Second, the cars don't control very well. They feel stiff and unresponsive. Third, this game is a stripped down version of the PS3 and Xbox 360 version. It removes features like vehicle customization, and there's no way to save races for viewing or sharing at a later time -- a must for racing games.
Unless you don't care about experiencing a modicum of challenge or enjoying features found in other versions of the game, this one should be left for the bargain bin.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether games like this one are a legitimate way to extend the entertainment of motorsports or simply a cash grab that takes away from the fun, excitement, and authenticity of real-world car racing.
Families can also discuss how a child's perception of driving might be altered as he or she plays racing video games. If a game downplays the dangers involved in high speed racing, will kids think it is safer than it actually is?