Following last week’s examination of Gran Turismo, one of the first examples of racing simulation on video games, I decided to delve further, back even earlier in my childhood, to memories of the distinct sounds of Hot Wheels cars on my lounge room floor and the imprints of past furniture that made the perfect imprint for roads for my cars.
I think that, whilst I can trace interactions with the four wheels even further back to racing my ride on toy up and down my grandmother’s driveway, I keep coming back to these two dollar die cast cars as my first real, conscious interaction with cars, and ultimately, car culture. At a time where I was none the wiser, each car I collected signified a developing curiosity for the automotive; their makes, their models, and their automotive styles. I more realistic, more believable the car was, the more I loved it. I hated any car that wasn’t based on a true to life model – what was the point of a car that wasn’t real? Indicative from these early choices, was how I was beginning to notice little details of each car – and subsequently, the decisions I made about what I liked and what I didn’t. Whilst at this time my parents would have none the wiser, these early interactions were teaching me an appreciation for cars, a love for these fascinating vehicles I could see on the road every day.
Last week, I spoke about how Gran Turismo played a pivotal role in educating me about cars, at a time where driving, tinkering and reading wasn’t really an option. In the same light, I think Hot Wheels and Match Box cars in the same way taught me an eye and appreciation for the automotive. Almost two decades on, I believe this appreciation was the corner stone for the development of an eye for detail, and a love of design that would in turn lead me down a career pathway in design.
Having reflected on the role of Hot Wheels cars had played in making me a car enthusiast, I always suspected a link between these early interactions and a keen eye for detail and at times alarming desire for perfection. These thoughts were recently confirmed by Professor Becky Francis, from the Rockhampton University, who found that toys play with in the early stages of child development played a functional role in the career choices made later in life. Similarly, findings from a subsequent study of English consumers found that 60% of those who work in design specific fields enjoyed playing with building blocks and lego as children. Whilst I did play with Lego as a child, I feel these deepened interactions with diecast cars had a similar effect as to that of Lego, having taught me a scope which would ultimately come to play a huge role in my career aspirations.