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BMW M3 Challenge etc – the car industry’s new marketing weapon? Video games. [Freeware]


So what do you do if you’re part of a multi-billion dollar industry that’s suffering massively due to the economic downturn? Improve your products? Lower prices? Ask customers what they really want, instead of pestering them with yet another new model with different shaped door handles every year? Nope, you start marketing your products via video games. Can’t get ’em too young, y’know.

BMW M3 Challenge is, as the name suggests, a free computer game for Windows PCs, which is presumably designed to entice rich young Schumacher wannabes into plunking down some serious cash for a top of the line race tuned motor vehicle.


The game gives you all the trimmings of a full blown race title, including sophisticated control set up, graphics tweaking and a bunch of car options to maximize your fun. It works with both conventional gaming controllers such as a wheel and pedals or keyboard mouse combos. Set at the German Nurburgring track, you get the choice of race, time trials and general practice modes.


Not to be outdone, the good marketing wonks at Mercedes have come up with their own version of a driving game called Mercedes CLC Dream Test Drive. In line with the Mercedes reputation for boring, this is an altogether more sedate affair, pitting you against nothing more exotic than traffic bollards and the occasional pothole. Again the graphics are nice, and you’re given a few optional settings like the color of the car. Whoopee!


Our very own favorite car branded racing game, however, has to be Trabi Racing, which features the awesome power and charisma of the fabulous Trabant car from the European hinterlands. We’re talking about a vehicle which can rocket from 0-60 in two days and has a top speed of somewhere close to a milk crate. Punch the throttle open and listen to the wheezing, popping engine splutter into life and propel you up to 16 kph in the time it takes to read a short novel. Outstanding.

Unfortunately this one’s only a demo (and do beware the nasty adware options on installation) but it’s worth it just for the giggles. For our money, the fun factor with this puppy beats the Mercedes into a cocked hat, rather like the real life cars we suspect.

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.

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