So before we moved, I picked up Car Wars Deluxe from ebay for a few pounds, and it re-surfaced from one of the many still-remaining boxes around our new house this last weekend. I last played Car Wars when I was only a couple of years older then Oscar, back in th '80s, and I remembered it being fun then, so guessed Oscar would also like it. Sure enough, a couple of test games later, and he loves it!
One of the great things about Car Wars was the car design element - you could create something small and nimble, or a lumbering behometh - all up to you. It's also not something you need to invest hours and hours in like AD&D, which was my big thing when I was a teenager at school. There's lots of guns, fast cars, explosions and silliness - it's not really a serious game that people get upset about when their car erupts into a tumbling fireball (if you do, then you really have lost touch!).
Another great thing is that you don't need a full 6*4 table to play it on - half of a dining table or a space on the floor is fine, you use cardboard cars and normal dice so it's all very cheap and cheerful. It has complex elements, but much of this can be eliminated with modern aids (PC-based car designers etc) - all the toys I didn't have when I was a kid!
In many ways I think some of the tabletop games and RPGs out there today have lost their way a bit, taking themselves far too seriously. At the end of the day, these are games - things to enjoy, not to stress over and become weirdly obsessive about. Going back to a game like Car Wars has reminded me of that once again, which is something many people would do well to remember too.