Being interested in computers at an early age, as most young boys growing up in the 1980’s doubtless were, meant that you were probably also desperate to own a Big Trak. This was another of those toys that instantly made you Mr. Popular at school, as it was pretty expensive so not many kids owned one, and even fewer owned the add on trailer for it either, of which more later.
Big Trak itself looked a bit like some kind of futuristic lunar rover, but what made it really special was that you could program it to do whatever you wanted, well within reason anyway. The keypad on the back allowed you to enter a sequence of simple commands such as move forward or turn right, a bit like the computer language Logo that you could use on your schools BBC Micro at the time. You entered in your commands then hit the GO! button to set Big Trak on its way, and just hoped that you had got the instructions right so that it avoided the door frame and didn’t run into the sofa.
The most useless, yet still the best thing about Big Trak was the laser gun at the front of the machine. This could be programmed to fire, which just meant it made a laser sound and flashed the lights on and off, but it was still great fun trying to get Big Trak to sneek up on the family pet and pretend to blast it with the lasers.
As mentioned earlier, there was also an add-on trailer for Big Trak, that allowed it to be used to transport items around the house. It could be programmed to tip up the trailer at any point to deposit its load. This was best illustrated by the TV commercial where Big Trak was used to drop off an apple to Dad who was sat in his comfy chair reading the newspaper. Of course, programming Big Trak to do all this would have taken far longer than just taking the apple to Dad in the first place, but not nearly as much fun.
Big Trak may not be being made any more, but it’s still possible to get hold of one via the Big Trak Homepage. The owner of this site has found his niche, scouring attics for old Big Traks and freshening them up to be like new. Nice work that man!