EW asks driving instructor Thomas Barcena to try out the videogame

Tires screeching, motorists cursing, pedestrians dying — they’re all part of the macabre vehicular-homicide-is-fun world of Carmageddon. In the relentless quest for truth in gaming, EW asked Manhattan-based driving instructor Thomas Barcena to boot up Carmageddon for a test drive. With his students — and job — in mind, the 17-year vet of Taggart’s Driving School wasn’t about to admit he enjoyed electronically plastering a jaywalker against a brick wall (included with the CD-ROM, incidentally, is a bumper sticker that reads, ”So many pedestrians, so little time”). Likewise, he was careful not to approve of the game’s saltier language — opposing drivers tend to call you a son of a bitch when you crash into them. ”Sounds like people on the street,” says Barcena. ”The only difference here is that you can’t give them the finger.”

Barcena discovered practical uses of the game, both for pupils (”It’ll teach them what not to do in city driving”) and colleagues (”Driver’s-ed teachers can get their frustrations out — they’ll want bonus points for hitting their students!”).

Although he won’t be integrating Carmageddon into his course curriculum, Barcena will be invoking its spirit in his favorite icebreaker during a student’s initial driving experience: ”I tell them you can’t run over anybody. Not until the second lesson.”