Back in 1979 when "Bigtrak" was first released I was eight years old and asked for one for Christmas. I was told that I couldn't have one because it would scare my grandfather. As my grandfather is no longer with us and I'm now 39 I felt it was finally safe to buy one.
The box is HUGE and, once opened, your Bigtrak is almost ready to use. Inside you'll find the Bigtrak itself, an instruction manual, and a set of stickers. The design of Bigtrak hasn't been changed aside from one tiny detail: the old "MB" stickers on the side now say "Zeon", but as they're the manufacturers this is forgiveable (although the retro enthusiast in me wished a set of "MB" stickers had also been provided, just for old times' sake). The decals are, aside from this small change, exactly as they were when Bigtrak was first released, and are permanent, so take your time placing them - the instructions clearly indicate where each should go. Next, you'll need a small screwdriver to open the battery hatch on the underside, and three "D"-type batteries (the large round ones) to put inside. The original Bigtrak also took a small rectangular battery which went inside the large circular "hatch" on the top, but the new model doesn't need this - just the three "D"s. Once the batteries are fitted, you're ready to go!
It's nice to see that the technical side of Bigtrak is unchanged, and Zeon have resisted the temptation to extend its capabilities - it can still take just 16 instructions (bless!) It is programmed via the keypad on its upper surface and each press makes a loud beep sound which eventually drives you and those around you mad. It's simple to program - press the up arrow and 3 to make it move forward three lengths, the right arrow and the number 15 to make it turn right by 90 degrees (15 minutes on a clock face - hence the 15) and so on, and the "GO" button makes it play a tune and set off on its way. It's a noisy toy which works better on a hard floor than on carpet, but it is incredibly good fun, especially when you try to make it complete a course of sorts, rolling from room to room, passing obstacles like chairs and cats. Zeon promise that in 2011 they will release the trailer attachment, and the Bigtrak already has its connector and "OUT" button on the keypad in readiness, so I can see my Bigtrak cruising around my house, happily tipping Lego and apples in odd places. Note that this isn't a remote control toy - you program it and set it going - and it is very large, so it's not suitable to use on a table!
If - like many - you wished you'd had one of these as a child back in the 70s and 80s now's your chance. Everyone who has seen mine has fallen in love with it, and friends are demanding a go the next time they come round. Bigtrak is back, and awesome as ever! Tremendous fun :-)