Anki Drive

Anki Drive ($200) is a new kind of racing game — part new-aged slot car, part iOS video game, part exercise in artificial intelligence — it brings the sort of racing interaction usually relegated to the virtual world, into (quasi-)reality. Each set includes two slot cars (designed by the Hollywood automotive artist who brought us the 1996 Batmobile), a vinyl racing mat embedded with special ink the cars can sense, and an iOS app that lets you control and customize your vehicles. The cars are powered by artificial intelligence, with the option for users to steer or fire upgradable weapons. Each car develops a unique character over time, depending on what skills and attributes you choose to upgrade, giving them advantages out on the track. It's the perfect combination of racing, robotics, and interactivity you look for in a game on the screen, but you can play it right on the floor of your apartment.

  • Nerf N-Strike Elite Centurion Blaster

    While the rest of your friends and co-workers do battle with blasters that can barely throw a dart across the room, you can show up toting a Nerf N-Strike Elite Centurion Blaster ($50). At nearly a yard long, this blaster can launch a mega dart up to 100 feet. It comes with a six-round magazine, and six mega darts to fill it up. A removable bipod stand helps improve your accuracy — especially if you're the sort who likes to camp out and snipe.

  • Lego Architecture Studio

    Unlike your average set, the Lego Architecture Studio ($150) doesn't come with a step-by-step instruction manual — instead, it comes with a 270-plus page guidebook filled with architectural history, design techniques, and exercises, edited and endorsed by professional architects. It includes over 1,200 white and transparent bricks, slopes, plates and more, letting you focus on your designs rather than color schemes. Recreate famous buildings by Gehry, Wright, Sullivan, or come up with your own masterwork. Your imagination and supply of bricks are your only limitation. [Scouted by Paul]

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