Scrabble

Scrabble

Ah, Scrabble. Play it often enough and you start seeing those lettered tiles in your dreams, forming words that would be worth 100 points if they actually existed. The much-loved game has endured for over 50 years, providing both family enjoyment and competitive play. Out of all the board games, Scrabble is truly a Cinderella story. Continue reading...

Creepy Crawlers

Creepy Crawlers

Many boys harbor a fondness for bugs. Not only are they fun to play with, but there is also the realization of the sadistic havoc you can wreak with them. Every family member had a target on their back and if you played your cards right, you could evoke a scream of blood-curdling fear with just the right placement. Of course, like all of God’s creatures, the little critters wanted nothing more than to escape your clutches and, therefore, weren’t the most cooperative accomplices. If only someone could invent a bug that didn’t run away. Even better, if only you could manufacture an endless supply of inanimate insects all for yourself, imagine the terror you could induce. Mattel Toys, always plugged in to the secret desires of youth, came through by offering your very own bug factory. You know them as Creepy Crawlers. Continue reading...

Dark Tower

Dark Tower

At a time when role-playing aficionados wielded war and wizardry with pencil and paper, Milton Bradley introduced an electronic God into the mix. Released in 1981, Dark Tower proved to be a little bit of everything. It was a board game around which players moved tokens according to the roll of the dice; it was an electronic game, with every player answering to a randomly generated fate on each turn depending on where they landed; and it was a nod to the intriguing world of Dungeons & Dragons. Continue reading...

My Pet Monster

My Pet Monster

The considerable plush toy market, for better or worse, tends to market their wares towards the female youngsters. One of the few exceptions was My Pet Monster, released in 1986, which aimed to pick up the slack in the boy's market. It didn't really matter though - kids of both genders couldn’t help but take a liking to this furry and fanged friend, simply because he was too cool to ignore. 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...

Duncan Yo-Yo

Yo-Yo

Few toys have as long and storied a history as the illustrious yo-yo. It’s been around so long, and in so many iterations, that it has rightly earned the moniker of toy-legend. The simple combination of wood or plastic and string has stood the test of time since the ancient era, and remains one of the world’s most beloved toys. Continue reading...

Mattel-Electronics-Football

Mattel Electronics Football

Prior to 1977, a football game was something a kid could only experience as an outdoor group activity. Can’t find enough kids to play? Weather uncooperative? Tough luck. It would take the advent of hand-held electronics games to bring the pigskin into the bedroom, the school bus and anywhere else where tackling each other was probably a bad idea. Today, we take a look at the game that started it all, Mattel Electronics Football. Continue reading...

clackers

Click Clacks / Clackers / Kerbangers

It's a shame that the very thing that makes a toy attractive is the one thing you can't advertise: the danger factor. If the makers of lawn darts had been allowed to write on the packaging, "The toy that could kill you if you use it wrong!" then nearly every kid in the world would be begging for a set. So it was with the simple, seemingly harmless 70's toy called Click Clacks (or, depending on where you grew up, Knockers, Knocker Bockers, Clackers, Ka-Bangers, Knicker Knackers, etc.). Had they worked only as the toymakers intended-as a noisy little twist on paddleball games-then Click Clacks might now be collecting dust in the Hall of Forgotten Toys. But no, these little spheres had a grander destiny: the much cooler Hall of Dangerous Toys. Continue reading...