A Closer Look At the Candidates

The ballots are set; votes shall be cast; opinions shall fly from all directions; and, come November, we shall see who comes out on top, and who has to wait to try again. In that aftermath, some will celebrate, some will lament, but we will all carry on in our daily lives. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the nominees for the Toy Hall of Fame were recently released, and I, for one, would like to add my two cents. Which I can do here, because it’s my blog. Wait, what did you think I was talking about?

First, let’s look at some previous inductees to gain some insight into what it takes for a toy/game to make it into the Toy Hall of Fame.

Monopoly, I believe the best-selling board game of all time, was one of the first inductees in the inaugural 1998 year. It really is a wonderful choice as the rules are easy enough for families with children to enjoy, yet the competition can be fierce, indeed. Monopoly is perhaps my all-time favorite board game. Happy to see it was one of the first in the hall.

LEGO!! Oh yeah, baby! Nothing says playtime quite like LEGOs. Perhaps the ultimate creative toy, LEGO earned honors as Toy of the Century from multiple groups. It’s easy to see why, just 6 different pieces can be combined in almost one billion possible configurations. The child (or adult) who builds with LEGO bricks is limited pretty much by only his/her imagination. I’m happy to report LEGO was also an inaugural inductee.

Crayola Crayons. I’ve been to the Crayola Experience in downtown Easton, PA, and it’s been greatly enhanced since. If you’re ever in the vicinity I highly recommend it, even without kids. Crayons are a great tool for kids to exercise their own creativity on a blank page. Although lots of other companies make crayons, it’s the story of Crayola that reflects our cultural history as well.

The Stick. No, there’s not a toy named The Stick, we’re just talking about sticks. How many times can you see a child on a playground, in a park or in their backyard just pick up a stick and spend time imagining all sorts of scenarios with just that stick. It was a surprise nominee in 2008, and a better nominee than two people who are candidates in something else this year. (I won’t name names, but they rhyme with Stump and Quinton.)

But enough about previous winners, let’s get down to the hopefuls for 2016!

Care Bears, Clue, the Coloring Book, Nerf, Transformers and Uno are all worthy entries, but not inductee material. Granted that’s just my opinion, but I don’t think they have the staying power of the other possibles. Care Bears only were nominated due to their former fans being older now; Clue, much like Care Bears, is more of nostalgia pick; the Coloring Book wouldn’t be an afterthought without the previous inductee of Crayola Crayons (which can stand on their own); Nerf is too generic, although could be a sleeper pick; Transformers are too connected to a series of violent and not-very-spectacular movies; and Uno is a Spanish word seeking acceptance in a year in which Donald Trump was nominated for President.

So, if they’re your obvious losers, who are the possible winners, The Jason?

Fisher-Price Little People: Okay, I was going to mark them for losers, too, as I don’t think they’re deserving. However, after seven previous nominations Fisher-Price Little People are the Susan Lucci’s of the Toy Hall of Fame. They may get the sympathy vote.

Dungeons and Dragons: No, I’m not saying this because I’m a former D&D geek, but the game has many high-profile former D&D geeks in the entertainment industry. When you have influential friends, you can get your hands on the proverbial hardware.

Pinball: My city recently opened a Pinball Museum, which I really want to visit. Sadly, it’s a little too expensive for me. That said, attendance has been above expectations at last report, from many different types of people. If my little city is a snapshot of America, then Pinball has a shot!

Swing: How many hours of entertainment have children had on swings, whether they be professionally designed or old-fashioned tire swings? How much exercise have parents gotten via pushing their children ENDLESSLY on swings (this daddy included)? And how many hours of entertainment have YouTube watchers received from watching people try to do stupid stunts on swings?

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots: The most directly violent entry on our list, perfect for a society surrounded by violent images on our news, television shows, movies and music. Plus, no toy is more prophetic as we are transitioning to warfare settled by robots and technology (can anyone say drone-strike!). And they were the best non-Disney/Pixar cameo in a Disney/Pixar film! If they don’t get in, I’m going to have to knock someone’s head off!