2-XL

2-XL Toy

With the technological boom of the twentieth century came unprecedented advancements and innovations, the most remarkable of which was arguably the computer. The potential wasn't lost on toy manufacturers as computers entered the public consciousness. By the end of the 1970s, electronic play-things began to populate the marketplace. Where most toy-makers sought to create toys that allowed children to play, Dr. Michael J. Freeman had other ideas. He recognized an opportunity to both entertain and educate. Enter 2-XL, the robotic 8-track player modeled for fun and learning. Continue reading...

Air Blaster Gun

Wham O 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. Continue reading...

Army Men

Plastic 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 doll

Perhaps the best word to describe the iconic children’s toy, known simply as Barbie, is “invincible.” In the battle waged to win the hearts and minds of little girls (and more than 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 don’t hold a candle to Barbie, a doll that, for over the past five decades, always seems to emerge unscathed and ready to show the world why she is the queen of style, the princess of fashion, and the most beloved toy that perhaps the world has ever known. 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

arcade 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.” Unlike traditional pinball, these games operated by firing a ball from the center of the machine. Players would hit the ball with the help of some mechanical apparatus and “bat” the ball back towards a plethora of targets and indentations within the playing surface. Continue reading...

Battle Beasts

Battle Beasts

Combining the classically cute with the technologically terrifying, Battle Beasts brought animal and mineral together in a way that could render one into a vegetable. As if playing with them wasn’t fun enough, just looking at the amazingly unique and endlessly creative designs was enough to occupy a kid for hours. Continue reading...

Battleship

Battleship Game

Strategically place your fleet out of harms way and pray that your number (and letter) doesn’t come up. In the seas of war, torpedoes are flying and coordinates barked at an ever-increasing pace. It’s going to take a little logic and a lot of luck to win this battle, all fought within the confines of dueling plastic L-shaped game boards. This is Milton Bradley's Battleship, “the classic naval combat game!” Continue reading...

Beanie Babies

Beanie Babies

Perhaps the old saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is best demonstrated by the frenzy that erupted around a little group of critters known simply as Beanie Babies, some of the most coveted and collectible little creatures to hit store shelves since the Great Cabbage Patch Epidemic. Continue reading...