Retro Toys: Which Do You Remember Most Fondly?

Retro Toys: Which Do You Remember Most Fondly?


The recent UK Toy Fair at London's Olympia was a sight to behold, as the gathering chronicled the best and worst devices ever created for British children. Meanwhile, their transatlantic cousins would later be treated to the International Toy Fair in New York during February, highlighting the past greats of the toy world as well as future expectations for new gizmos and gadgets. 



In light of this succession of high-profile events, Vertbaudet - the popular mother and child brand - took a look at the toys that have endured over the decades, going all the way back to the 50s.

 

In its quest, the company tried to separate the one-hit wonders from those that have retained their popularity in the long-term, ultimately trying to discover what the common denominator was that got kids excited about toys regardless of the era they grow up in.


 

Professor Jeffrey Goldstein, a psychology expert with the National Toy Council, is one man with countless experience in the industry. Speaking to Vertbaudet, he identified how the common trend among the new toys and dolls was hardly ground-breaking - in the best possible way. "A lot of retro toys are back," he said, "including the re-furbished Furby and Power Rangers."

 

Indeed, it was identified by the specialist that retro toys are a popular purchase because parents feel a connection with the toys too, whether or not they actually owned them themselves. Professor Goldstein suggested that parents and grandparents may feel that such toys represent a link to a "simpler time".


 

Of course, there are a lot of popular retro toys to choose from; Vertbaudet's list of nostalgia-prompting playthings selected the top picks over the decades, with most either still in production or being rereleased to a positive market many years after their initial creation.

 

Starting in the 1950s, Verbaudet's first choice was Barbie. Introduced by Mattel back in 1959, over 350,000 dolls were sold in the first year of production. Joined by Ken two years later, the 1/6th scale doll still sells three units every second.


Retro Toys: Which Do You Remember Most Fondly?

 

In the 1960s, it was the turn of Etch-a-Sketch. This double-knobbed box is capable of moving a stylus that leaves a trail of aluminium powder on the screen; if things go awry, all you need to do is shake it and start again. Even 50 years later, it still has the same design.


Retro Toys: Which Do You Remember Most Fondly?

 

The space hopper bounces into Vertbaudet's list in the 70s, becoming the primary mode of transport for children (and some adults). 


Retro Toys: Which Do You Remember Most Fondly?


However, as the 1980s caught everybody up, it was Hungary's turn to rock the market. Erno Rubik created the world-famous Rubik's Cube, a puzzle made up of smaller cubes with coloured faces in a 3x3x3 design. If you're bored, why not try the real challenge: getting every one of the 43 quintillion different permutations of coloured squares on a Rubik's cube; either that, or attempt to break the world-record solving of 5.66 seconds.

 

Retro Toys: Which Do You Remember Most Fondly?


In the 1990s, handheld computer games came into fashion with the Game Boy. This landmark toy made interactivity (as we know it today) truly portable, creating the classic puzzlegame Tetris alongside established characters such as Mario and Link.


Retro Toys: Which Do You Remember Most Fondly?

 

Going back to more traditional toy roots in the late 1990s and early 2000s - and bringing us back to the present day - was the Furby. Hated and loved in equal measure, the gurgle-voiced wiggly-eared hairy friend of millions was not off the shelves for long, when an upgraded model went on sale in December 2012 - selling out almost instantly.


Retro Toys: Which Do You Remember Most Fondly?

 

Concluding his brief analysis of the popularity of toys, Professor Goldstein said that in most cases, innovation is important if a toy is to find a place in a child's heart. "I think the Game Boy was one of the first hand-held game-devices and made playing games a mobile and personal thing," he said, earmarking his primary example of this trait. "It was a real shift."


Retro Toys: Which Do You Remember Most Fondly?