I finally got around to finishing up the last hour of VH1's I Love Toys show and have to say I am monumentally disappointed. THE HULA-HOOP IS THE #1 TOY OF ALL TIME?!? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. The Hula-Hoop was a fad... not a great toy at all.
But the show was great fun, and did remind me of my favorite toys from over the years. With nothing better to do, I decided to come up with my own list of top ten best...
- Lego. Easily the greatest toy ever created, there is not a time in my life that I can recall Lego not being in it. In the early days, all you had were bricks... if you wanted to have a Lego figure, you drew a smiley face on a yellow piece and that was it. But now Lego is cooler than ever, with little pirate and ninja mini-figures to populate your self-created universe. Lego kicks ass!
- Atari 2600. I shudder to think how many wasted hours were spent staring at the television playing Atari. My favorite games were always of the explorer/RPG type genre (not that you could have much of an RPG back then)... those games that had a purpose. My favorites being "Adventure" and "Superman".
- Six Million Dollar Man. My Steve Austin action figure was beyond cool. He had a hole in his head so you could look through his bionic eye, and had fake skin on his arm you could roll up to get to the bionic "parts" inside. You could also get Steve's space capsule (which turned into a bionic repair center), and other action figures like Oscar Goldman and Fembots!!
- GameBoy. I am pretty sure that I've owned each of the GameBoy models that have been released over the years... from the original Black & White... to the GameBoy Color... to the Advance... to the Nintendo DS. Being able to "game on the go" is almost too good to be true, and Nintendo has always been there to make mobile gaming cool.
- Micronauts. This very retro toy was a big favorite back in the day. You started out with the little transparent "Time Traveler" dude, then added other nifty characters like the evil "Acroyear" and "Pharoid". Everybody had holes on them so you could plug them into bitchin' vehicles like the "Mobile Exploration Lab". If you are a fellow Micronaut fan, you need to visit the Micro-Outpost!
- Hot Wheels. There were too many days spent running Hot Wheels track through my childhood home, then racing cars through the twists, turns, and loops. Keeping up with the latest hot cars was a big status symbol in my neighborhood. I also played around with Matchbox cars, but they never captured my imagination like Hot Wheels.
- Erector Set. A real building toy for real men made with real metal. Oh yeah! Erector Sets let you get pretty creative in terms of what you could build, and you were able to order extra parts from the Erector company in order to create exactly what you had in mind. Any toy that comes with a wrench is entirely too sweet.
- Viewmaster. Back before the VCR and DVD the only way you could travel the world and watch big-name entertainment at home was with a Viewmaster. In some ways, it's still superior technology than what we have today because it was in awesome 3-D!!
- G.I. Joe. Yeah, like every other kid in my generation, G.I. Joe was a huge favorite growing up. My favorite was always the Joe that had "real" fuzzy hair and beard, along with Kung-Fu Grip and a bad-ass scar on his cheek. In many ways, G.I. Joe was even more of a vain toy than Barbie, because there were all these clothes and accessories you had to collect to make sure that your "Joe" was the coolest on the block. Eventually the 12-inch Joe was replaced by these pussy 3-inch models that weren't nearly as fun.
- Tinker Toys. I was really into building toys growing up, and started out with Tinker Toys. Then moved on to Lincoln Logs. Then Erector Sets. Then Lego. Sure Tinker Toys were always kind of limited in what you could create, but it was the first, and I do remember having a lot of fun with them when I was young.
Speaking of toys... Boing Boing had a link a while back as to how you can make photos look like tiny little models. I gave it a try and ended up with this shot of Toy Shanghai...
So I guess you’re not a girl, then…
Barbie Doll was #11.
i had an erector set. it was my favorite toy EVER. i used to use the tools to dismantle my barbie van. do i get honorary man status for that?
Lego!!!!! My brother was given a big bucket of lego bricks because it was a ‘boy’s toy… He never touched them… Mmmmmm… I might have to go and buy some or go and ‘borrow’ them next time I go to my parent’s house.
I never got the whole Barbie thing when I as a kid, I was more into the action figures from tv shows thing. I think I had all the He-Man and She-Ra ones… I wonder if they are still in my old cupboard?
I loved Tinker Toys when I was a kid! I just saw a Toys R Us ad and they still sell them and it doesn’t look like the picture on the container changed much if at all. I too upgraded to Lego; I always wanted that cool monorail set they had. And I still have the Atari 2600 I owned as a kid. Memories …
Tinker Toys were the best! We didn’t have them, but my grandparents did and we got to build all kinds of stuff when we’d so for Sunday dinner. I always think of them when I see Tinker Toys.
My brother had all the GI Joe’s in the basement – even the aircraft carrier. He was really into it. My 11 year old son has tons of Legos, and a couple of years ago built a Lego boat for a school project. Everyone else had popsicle sticks or shoeboxes. Legos rule.
I built a three story house with my legos – complete with stairs, furniture, windows and interior walls.
Who needs friends when ya got legos?
MICRONAUTS!!! Ohmigod – I had so many of them! In fact, my mom just dug some old toys out of our basement to give to my nephews when they were over, but they started trashing my beloved, albeit slightly rusty Micronauts, so she shoved a box of Lego’s at them instead.
And I love the toy Shanghai – if I had better Photoshop skillz I might try it myself!
woah that picture thing was totally cool! it really does look like a little model! SO CUTE!
…i just wish it could also be used with a window’s program, not apple.
Toys! I love toys! Especially the incredibly superior toys of my childhood. I was a Legos fanatic and had buckets of them. I would use the Legos to build castles for my Barbies.
And I’m still bitter about the year I desperately wanted a Nintendo Game Boy for Christmas. I got a scary cross between a troll doll and a cabbage patch kid instead. I was 11 had hadn’t played with “dolls” for years.
I still haven’t forgiven my parents (I mean…Santa) for that one.
D’oh! I’m sure my brother or sister had all those toys you mentioned. And WTH? How is a Hula-hoop the number one toy? That’s like saying, YARN! is the top toy. Yeah, buddy…just think of all you can do with YARN! Hmm…Maybe I’m on to something there. A giant comeback of YARN! And those little weaving looms that you strung knit loops on to make colorful trivets for mom. Yup. I’m now gonna work on bringing back YARN! and MACRAME! and POTHOLDER LOOMS! heh
My favourite toy was / is subbeteo. Little men that you could set up and play football(soccer) against.
The number of fights and arguments I used to get into playing subbeteo
I had the super-cool talking GI Joe! You pulled a string out of his chest that had little colored marks on it, and each color was a different command.
I eventually lost him in a parachute drop gone bad. Long story.
…oh yeah, and my worst toy was that stupid vibrating football game where the players just kind of randomly buzzed around the field – kind of like the Vikings.
I had my dad’s original Erector set and started playing with it. Eventually, I cut myself enough times on the sharp metal to commit myself to Lego 100%. That and I kept losing all the damn screws and bolts.
i miss Fashion Plates and my Snoopy Sno Cone machine.
…and the slinky?! Great job on the picture, how did you manage to keep the upper part of the tower in the foreground? Great blog, btw.
I think Playmobil is the greatest. I never had it as a kid, so I’m living my second childhood through my own kids. In our last house, we had an entire room given over to Playmobil-world.
legos….I liked ’em better the old way. I feel like these new kits are too specific and take away creativity. (Yes I am an old fart.)
Viewmaster..aw hell yeah.
Atari…Pong and that one where you ran the chicken across the road and tried to avoid getting squished. SWEET. Atari was the high point of the video game age for me. That and TEMPEST. (yes I am an old fart.)
Erector sets….I like anything in which the word “erect” is an integral part. I would steal my brother’s and make stuff that he couldn’t figure out. I’ve always been fond of building stuff.
Hot Wheels…I used to steal my brother’s and run them over my barbies.
I wasn’t a very typical girl. sort of a tomboy in frilly dresses.
I’m right there with ya, my friend. When I first started watching the show I jokingly said to myself “What the fuckin’ Hula Hoop be #1. How tired would that be?” Sure, enough, the “#1” toy spot rolls around and there’s the Hula Hoop. WTF? I mean, I realize that it’s a part of toy history and all, but c’mon! That’s pretty weak! I thought real people voted for this shit online. You mean to tell me that there are all these Hula Hoop lovers out there that know how to use a computer? Puhlease! We were robbed.
BTW, I too LOVED the ViewMaster and still do (if they only still made cool reels instead of all this Disney shit I don’t care about). I have a big ol’ box of reels and a mini collection of ViewMasters. The #1 coolest one being the ViewMaster projector! Sweet!
Also, Tinker Toys rocked. I remember being in kindergarten and when it was “free time” everyone would scramble to get the GIANT Tinker Toys (Remember those?! They were practically as tall as we were!).
And then there was “Lite Brite.”
I was more of crayon person. Remember those really fat crayons that came five to a pack?
I loved my 6-million dollar man, and I still have my Hot Wheels. My brother still hasn’t quite forgiven me for losing his 12″ fuzzy bearded GI Joe, but then I’m still annoyed he put together my Lego boat before I’d had a chance to on my birthday.
Shooting rockets and the little plastic soldiers with parachutes were cool too. And I’ve always had a fondness for stuffed animals (at last, something semi-girly).
I LIVED for Legos! I had Legos displayed all over my bedroom.
I also used to borrow my brother’s Matchbox cars and G.I. Joes. SO much more fun than Barbies and Cabbage Patch Kids.
The tower looked funny when the top was blurred out, so I cut out a copy of it un-blurred and pasted it into the shot. 🙂
Although I loved my Malibu Ken & Barbie, I spent a lot more time playing w/ my Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. My mom and dad used to have to bribe me to go to bed practically if I got into my Lincoln Logs or Tinker Toys too much.
Never had a G.I. Joe…I was always outside making freeways and cities with my Matchboxes.
That little toy city pic is awesome! It’s so “Thunderbirds”/puppet/marionette looking to me.
You come up with the bestest posts.
He was my Barbie’s husband for a substantial portion of my childhood! 🙂
How did Joe afford being married to Barbie with her excessive lifestyle and his government paycheck?? 🙂
i had the Bionic Woman…i was able to place microchips in her arm too. Jaime Sommers was cool. my favorite show.