2-XL

2-XL

With the rise of the computer in the 70s, the toy industry scrambled to introduce a number of electronic devices that utilized this emerging technology. While most sought to create toys that allowed children to merely play, Dr. Michael J. Freeman had other ideas. He recognized that entertaining and educating needn't be exclusive. Enter 2-XL, the robotic 8-track player geared toward both fun and learning. Continue reading...

Aggravation

Aggravation

It's always been hard to find that "family game" balance. Make it too hard, the little tykes wouldn't get it. Make it too easy, and nobody else would want to play with the little tykes. But sometimes, that rare game got it right. Take, for example, the case of Aggravation, a board game marketed by Lakeside that bore a striking resemblance to the ancient game of Parcheesi. Continue reading...

Air Blaster Gun

Air Blaster Gun

When a toy is yanked from store shelves after a relatively short run, it is usually for one of two reasons – it is either unpopular or unsafe. And perhaps not surprising to anyone, the unsafe ones are often pretty popular at the time they are pulled. Such was the case with the Wham-O Air Blaster, a toy with endless possibilities, some of them relatively dangerous. Let’s take a look back at this fondly-remembered toy that came and went with a bang. Continue reading...

Ants in the Pants

Ants in the Pants

Few wonders of nature captivate a child quite as much as the insect world, and don't think that this magnetic attraction didn't catch the attention of toy manufacturers. Beating the big boys to the punch was the Schaper Company, who practically cornered the market on bug-based games. One of their most beloved is Ants in the Pants. Continue reading...

Army Men

Army Men

Some say it’s hard to keep a good man down. Nothing more true could be said about Army Men: green plastic soldiers fixed to a molded base, which stand defiant in the face of oppression, tyranny, and latent childhood aggression - as they have for over fifty years. Let's take a look back at these valiant toy servicemen from yesteryear. Continue reading...

Barbie

Barbie

The best word to describe the children’s toy known simply as Barbie might be “invincible.” In the war waged to win the hearts of little girls (and a few boys) everywhere, the toy battleground is littered with thousands of battered beauties, all whom failed to knock this iconic princess from her lofty pedestal. In name recognition alone, real people like Princess Diana and Mother Theresa didn’t hold a candle to her - a doll that epitomized style, a princess of fashion, one of the most beloved toys ever made. Continue reading...

Barrel of Monkeys

Barrel of Monkeys

All games would like you to believe that they are oodles of fun to play, but only one can boast that it is as fun as a barrel of monkeys? In fact, it is a Barrel of Monkeys! And for over four decades, kids have played with these interlocking primates for hours on end in this endearing and enduring game that tests one’s patience and coordination like no other. Continue reading...

Baseball Games

Baseball Games

More than a half-century before anyone would ever know what a video game was, pinball games reigned supreme in the local arcade and enjoyed a long and colorful history that continues today. But another game emerged back in the 30s, one called a “pitch and bat,” which led to a series of wonderful pinball-esque baseball games that are still fondly remembered to this day. Continue reading...