Over the last hundred years, the automobile has transformed pure transport into a status symbol, a bragging right, an extension of the self. And now, at its innovative pinnacle of technological advancement, the automotive industry has started incorporating some unapologetic fun. That’s right, there’s always room for fun, which resonates with everybody. And fun can create loyal fans faster than just about anything—just ask Tesla about its horn-replacing fart noises.
It seems that the Ford F-150 Lightning electric truck, the first mainstream full-size truck to hit production, has a little built-in lightheartedness through “some cute little games now on the F-150 Lightning [which are] proving [to be] a hit with my kids in final testing…” according to vice president, Electric Vehicle Programs, Ford Model e, Darren Palmer’s Linkedin post (embedded in the tweet above) showing a Ford-specific video game playing on the Lightning’s giant vertical 15.5-inch infotainment screen (for Lariat and Platinum trims). The setup resembles that available in Teslas, albeit with the F-150’s cool magnet-mounted twist knob in the middle of the screen offering up a physical control.
The game is pretty straightforward: A player controls a Ford vehicle (is that a Mach-E?) that collects coins as it weaves through a four-lane highway full of other Ford vehicles. Steering and maneuvering the game’s vehicle is controlled through the big volume knob embedded in the bottom of the screen, causing some naysayers to question whether the knob can handle the repetitive swiveling of an out-of-control driver. Although we’re not sure if all of the Lightning’s games are controlled through the knob, we figure there’s almost no way using the knob this way results in any extra wear compared to using it to adjust the audio volume in normal use.
The particular game in the post, perhaps one in the Lightning’s library of games, appeared basic enough to be enjoyed by kiddos. Naturally, that could be another cause for concern for skeptics who question whether they’d want to turn the instrument panel area, traditionally an adult-only zone, into a gaming console for their overly curious, destructive-ridden littles. Understandable. Some kids might not be content with sticking only to the knob while others, like the little hand in the video, would be able to handle the task just fine. But who’s to say the games are for kids only?
Others see the Lightning’s video game aptitude as fun, cool, and clever. Yes, it’s gimmicky, and sure, it may not serve a purpose outside of killing some time and entertaining the family, but that doesn’t make it bad—unless, of course, you’re worried it’s teaching kids the art of reckless driving, which is just ridiculous.
The rather archaic-looking gaming abilities of the Ford F-150 Lightning may not rival those of the Tesla Arcade, and it’s no replacement for the entertainment provided by something like an iPad, but it’s fun to see a little lightheartedness from a rather seriously humored auto maker. What do you think? Could Ford roll out video games for the Mustang Mach-E or other models? We’ll get the full scoop on the matter, soon.