Those who follow SEGA news over at SEGAbits (plug plug) may have read about the marketing tie-in Hot Wheels and Danica Patrick had with SEGA. The team up has been a long and winding road, filled with complaining fans, happy fans, stupid moments and cool moments. Danica Patrick may have been an odd addition to Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed's roster, but I think most SEGA fans can agree that the car she raced at Texas Motor Speedway in November looked awesome. Okay, so that explains why Danica was in the game. Her SEGA connection was racing with SEGA as a sponsor in real life. But why in the world was she driving a Hot Wheels branded car in the game? Well, back in October 2012, SEGA revealed a Hot Wheels Danicar (a toy car designed by Danica Patrick back in 2011) with SEGA branding. The car was to be given out at select retailers to those who bought the game. Awesome! Free merch, and a reason for a Hot Wheels car being in the game.
But then November came and went, and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed released to 360, PS3 and Wii U. No SEGA branded Danicar in sight. Then, a month later (just this past weekend) Gamestop employees reported to Sonic fan sites that the Danicar had appeared in their stores as a Gamestop Exclusive. Fans who had their eyes on the toy car were rightly peeved. Most SEGA fans have already bought the game, and at best those who buy the Vita version next week may get the car. But those who intended to get the 3DS version were out of luck, as that version was pushed to early 2013. As such, we had a cool giveaway that released a month late, and in turn the fans who actually wanted one had most likely already bought the game. I complained about this a bit in my SEGAbits news post, but have since updated the post to reflect my little adventure:
I visited a local Gamestop to learn more about the offer. Since I had my heart set on the 3DS version, I asked to pre-order the game. I was told the game was set for a February 12th, 2013 release date and that I could put down anywhere from $5 to the total cost of the game to pre-order. I put down $5 and then asked for the Danicar. The cashier was surprised I knew they existed, and asked the manager if I could have one. It was then that I learned stores were told that only those buying the game would get a car, but it wasn’t made clear if pre-ordering also meant the customer gets a car. Since, in the managers words “they had a lot” of the Danicar, I could have one. In short, buying the game now for the 360, PS3 or Wii U will get you a car (if they have them in stock). Pre-ordering for Vita may or may not get you the car, but given the game releases next week, you’ll just have to ask nicely and perhaps putting down the full amount for the pre-order will sweeten the deal. Same goes for the 3DS version.
Alright, so I've complained, I've told my story and I got my little toy car (baby got his bottle). So how is the actual car? It's pretty cool! I love the branded packaging. Very much an exclusive, as no other Hot Wheels car that I've seen has packaging like this. The car itself, while simply a repaint, does look very cool. I like the touch of the Sonic logo and the SEGA logo, the car also has Hot Wheels and Go Daddy logos. Overall it's a cool piece of merch that should look nice on a shelf, especially if you have the other SEGA Hot Wheels cars from 2003.