More Inductees into Toy Hall of Fame

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November 25, 2016

The new members of the National Toy Hall of Fame have swung, imagined, and inspired their way in.

Joining the 59 other members of the Hall of Fame are Dungeons & Dragons, Fisher Price Little People, and the ubiquitous wooden swing. Examples of all will be on permanent display in the Strong's National Toy Hall of Fame museum, in Rochester, N.Y.

The three new members span many decades of fun for children of all ages. The imagination- and paper-based game Dungeons & Dragons encourages player to use their creativity to role-play a character through a series of adventures and quests, such as rescuing kidnapped people or finding lost treasure, all the while, perhaps, fending off attacks from strange beasts or even other humans. The action is driven by one mastermind player, who assume the role of the Dungeon Master and has crafted the framework for the adventure in which the other players take part. Perhaps most symbolic of the game are the many-sided dice, which players role to determine the various abilities of their characters and also to determine what happens in various encounters, from trying to spring traps to fending off surprise attacks from monsters, to even taking part in games of chance. A Wisconsin man named Gary Gygax is generally credited with being the mastermind behind the creation of Dungeons & Dragons; created in the 1970s, D&D, as it has come be known, is credited by many as the blueprint for many of today's Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games, such as World of Warcraft.

Perhaps at the other end of the spectrum is the wooden swing, which requires only a bit of physical effort and coordination to make it work. Historians think that the swing dates to ancient times. The Industrial Revolution of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century allowed mass production of metal swings and the chains needed to drive them, and the swing became a staple of playgrounds and backyards around the world.

The always smiling, wooden Little People date to 1959, and the introduction of the Safety School Bus pull toy. Figures approximated boys, girls, mothers, and fathers, as well as animals and buildings. The company expanded its offerings through the years, offerings of figures based on settings such as an amusement park or a farm of a zoo. An agreement with the popular television show Sesame Street in 1975 introduced that show's characters to the Little People offerings. Mattel bought Fisher Price in 1993. That company says that since 1959, fans have bought more than 2 million Little People.

The other nine finalists were these:

  • bubble wrap
  • Care Bears
  • The board game Clue
  • Coloring book
  • Nerf
  • Pinball
  • Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots
  • Transformers
  • Uno.

The National Toy Hall of Fame announces its inductees each year, after the toys are selected by a committee of curators and historians.

The hall, in Rochester, N.Y., has an annual celebration of toys and has named a handful as Hall of Famers every year since 1998. The hall has resided in its current location, the Strong, since 2002.

Criteria for induction include:

  • being widely recognized enduring in popularity for many years
  • fostering learning and/or creativity through play.

The Toy Hall of Fame first inducted toys in 1998, when the list included Barbie®, LEGO®, the Frisbee®, and marbles.

To nominate a toy, click here.

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David White