Ridemakerz

 
(i)

 

Highly commercial, poorly put together online car racing.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Players can interact with other players online and can add them to a friend list. This allows you to see when your friend is online and to check out their profile. The  In-game names and profiles do not reflect real world details so parents don't have to worry about the exchange of private information.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Ridemakerz is a very transparent marketing ploy to get young car enthusiasts online and playing with customizable vehicles so that the company can then offer to build the real world counterpart to the kids' online-designed car. Each piece of equipment or enhancement you add to the vehicle will cost a couple extra dollars, but will help increase the speed of your online racers. Additionally, Ridemakerz cars purchased at retail can be imported into the virtual world so you can see how your ride compares to others online. Also, brand loyalty is embedded within the game as some vehicles are based on and named after real world cars such as the Scion and Mustang.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a massively multiplayer online game which is still in Beta testing as of the date of this review. Kids sign up and play racing games, interact with friends without exchanging any personal information, and build race cars on the web site for free – but there are plenty of ads and videos on the site which encourage you to order a real world, remote-controlled versions of the car you design. The game also encourages real world interaction with parents and vehicles owned by the family by method of rewarding the player for asking their parents about a favorite car type as well as for checking the tire pressure on the family car and entering the data on the site.

What's it about?

The Ridemakerz brand is a take-off on the Build A Bear workshop model of business -- just instead of building bears, you build cars and trucks. New to the Ridemakerz family is a virtual world called RIDEMAKERZ, where kids from around the world can create a custom ride to enter in races and just cruise around an open world with other like-minded youth. While the online world does feature interaction, parents can rest assured that zero personal information is visible about your child's profile to others in the game. Similar to other family friendly online worlds, there is no chat option for kids to get in trouble with here – but a simple to use interface of pre-determined phrases and 'Zmotes' keeps things clean and out of trouble.

The game world has three main zones, each features an open driving zone just to cruise around and chat with other players online. Two of the zones feature a couple of different race options which are used to help advance your level to unlock better accessories and parts for your ride. In addition to the racing segments, one game puts you in control of the pit team which you manage when a car pulls into the pit for service. In another game you can collect experience and Z-cash for buying new parts as well as new clothing options for the in game avatar.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Ridemakerz is still in a Beta phase, which means there could still likely be some bugs to be found; and depending on which browser you use some are worse than others. Using Firefox, the game locked up the entire browser whereas Internet Explorer seemed a lot less prone to issues. The games themselves don't have much to them, other than using the four arrow keys and optionally the zero key or the spacebar for the racing phases. But what is here is likely going to appeal to kids who are passionate about cars, as working towards the higher levels unlocks cooler and better equipment – so long term play is rewarded. The best game by far is the pit crew challenge, as it takes a careful balance of managing the pit stops and repairs to take first prize.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about motor vehicles and what makes them so important in daily life? They can also discuss maintenance and how keeping a car in top working order is not only good for the vehicle, but safer for the family as well as better on the environment. They can also talk about the commercialism in this game and how, while this game is offered for free on the internet, it nonetheless encourages you to spend money.

Game details

Platforms:Windows, Mac
Price:$0.00
Available online?Available online
Developer:Ridemakerz, LLC
Release date:May 1, 2009
Genre:Massively Multi-player Online Game (MMOG)
ESRB rating:NR for (Mac, Windows)

This review of Ridemakerz was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old May 3, 2010
 
love it
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Great messages
Great role models
Safety and privacy concerns
Kid, 9 years old September 24, 2011
 

fun time

join in on the fun
Parent of a 6 and 9 year old Written byChetaneya Garg June 16, 2009

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