After visiting the Toy Hall of Fame in the Strong National Museum of Play a couple weeks ago (check out the awesome article), I began a discussion with my fellow Wampaslayers about which toys we felt deserved a place within those hallowed halls. We decided to put those ideas to paper (or screen) and share them with you! These are the toys we would add to the Toy Hall of Fame. Whether you agree, disagree, want to add your own, or just call us names, please comment with your ideas and suggestions!
The toy that created a whole brand of cartoons, movies and more. The cultural impact that these toys had on pop culture is still seen today with new Transformers movies every 2-3 years.
One of the major toys to create a frenzy over parents trying to buy the perfect gift for their children on Christmas. In 1996, a man alleged that he paid $7,100 for one in Denver, while others were trying to chase down delivery trucks to get them before they got on store shelves.
This is more of a personal nomination for me. Growing up just past the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze, Street Sharks were a gnarly rip-off of the turtles and added enough 90s extreme sports to make me love them as a kid.
X-Men action figures
This was one of the major toys for me growing up, and my brothers and I used to have all out mutant warfare in our basement. My love of the comics and the animated series really drove me to buy as many as possible. Absolute favorite was a Cable figure and he was wearing some sort of space suit.
TMNT action figures
Besides GI Joe, this was the Holy Grail of toys for me while growing up. Sure, the show was just an excuse to make more of these, but we had a ton of these figures. We had the classics, but at some point some awesome secondary figures came out, like the sports themed and even a firefighter Donatello. Personal favorite: Green Beret Raphael and Lionheart, a Lion that was meant to look like a knight/king
Ticket to Ride
So after looking over the list I saw that both scrabble and monopoly were previous inductees. While I notice the importance of both of these games, I believe we need a new “staple” game that is vastly better than either of the previous games and that is Ticket to Ride by Days of Wonder. This game is mostly simple but allows for intense strategy. Most importantly, it’s easy to learn and adaptable for every gaming group from small families to convention tournament play.
I was surprised to find that the magic 8-ball had not made it on the list. While not so much a toy that you could spend hours and hours with, the 8-ball was always super fun to shake over and over not only to get the answer that you want but to make sure your friends were told no. There’s also a fun community of people who like to take them apart and put their own decision results into the ball.
Even though they are already a part of the hall of fame, I couldn’t write this article without including Legos. Nothing had a bigger impact on my childhood, toy wise, than them. What an simple, yet amazing vehicle for every child’s imagination. I spent hours creating ships, villages, castles and storylines to go with them all. Legos not only inspired my love of building and creating, but my love of storytelling as well. As much a part of my childhood as Legos were, I know I am not alone and most children of the last few decades can relate!
While Pogs may not have lasted long or even been that great, they were the first one-hit-wonder toy I remember from my childhood. When they were popular, they were everywhere! From Happy Meals to 7-11 you could get Pogs of every style and licensed by everything under the sun. Since then toy fads have come and gone, but Pogs will always be the first I was fully invested in and I’m sure not the last!
I still have the urge to put a quarter in that machine on my way out of Meijer to get one. Bouncy balls were these amazing little balls that could always be found under my bed, in my dresser and on my floor as a child. I will never forget making up games with my father; sitting across the basement and bouncing a tiny ball back and forth for hours. Coming in all sizes and colors bouncy balls are still today the first toy chosen out of the prize chest in my classroom. Doesn’t get much more versatile and just plain fun than a bouncy ball.