The World Altered with Toys

New toys go back and forth consistently and most are scarcely seen as they blur into history. In any case, after some time, some toys have been popular to the point that they have actually changed our way of life, while others have without a doubt left their permanent imprint on our general public. In this article we will investigate the main 5 toys that changed the world.

The Teddy Bear

A German teddy bear from around 1954. The Teddy Bear was first introduced in 1903 and has been a staple of childhood ever since. The Teddy Bear gets its name from President Theodore Roosevelt, whose nickname was “Teddy.” The name originated from an incident on a bear-hunting trip in Mississippi in November 1902, in which Roosevelt refused to kill a badly beaten and bound Black Bear. The bear had been set up for Roosevelt to shoot by his fellow hunters because he had been the only one who had not killed anything so far during the trip. When Roosevelt saw the bear he refused to shoot it himself, deeming it unsportsmanlike, and ordered his fellow hunters to have the bear killed and put it out of its misery. Later that month a political cartoonist caught wind of the story and printed a drawing of the incident in the Washington Post. A man named Morris Michtom saw the cartoon and was inspired to create a new toy called “Teddy’s Bear”. Strangely enough, at almost the exact same time in Germany, a woman named Margarete Steiff also began creating a stuffed bear as well. To this day no one knows who created the very first teddy bear. What we do know is that because of this adorable stuffed bear the world has never been the same. Tens upon tens of millions of children worldwide have grown up with a teddy bear over the last 100 year plus years. In 2006 alone, sales of Teddy Bears generated over $1.3 billion dollars.

MONOPOLY

All twelve tokens from the U.S. Deluxe Edition Monopoly. Introduced in 1935 MONOPOLY is the world’s most popular board game. Over the last 76 years 200 million MONOPOLY games have been sold worldwide and over half a billion people have played the game. The MONOPOLY┬« game is published in 27 languages and licensed in more than 81 countries. When it comes right down to it, there is no bigger board game in history than MONOPOLY. But, did you know that it almost never made it into stores? Parker Brothers rejected the game when it was first presented to them in 1933, citing 52 fundamental playing flaws. Creator Charles B. Darrow decided to create and sell it himself. In 1934 Mr. Darrow sold 5,000 handmade sets of the MONOPOLY game to a Philadelphia department store and it became an instant success. In fact, Mr. Darrow was selling so many that he couldn’t keep up with demand. In 1935 he went back to Parker Brothers, who of course purchased the rights, and the rest is history.

G.I. Joe

The original G.I. Joe In 1964 a 12 inch doll hit the shelves and the world has never been the same since. G.I. Joe was the first doll ever marketed and sold to boys on a massive scale. However, in order to get boys to want the doll, marketing executives knew they couldn’t call it a “doll.” After throwing around a few different terms they settled on “Action Figure.” That decision launched a brand new genre of toys and made it alright for boys to play with dolls. G.I. Joe has been the star of comics, cartoons, movies and video games. If Barbie is the queen of all dolls, then G.I. Joe is the king of action figures.

Barbie

Barbie Before Barbie came around most dolls were representations of infants. Ruth Handler suggested the idea of an adult-bodied doll to her husband Elliot, a co-founder of the Mattel toy company. He loved the idea and soon after the blonde bombshell was born. Barbie was an instant hit selling over 350,000 in the first year. Today Barbie is a $1.5 billion dollar-per-year industry. Since its release in 1959 Barbie has been the best-selling doll in the world. You would be hard pressed to find any female in this country, born after 1959, who didn’t have a Barbie as a child. In fact, in 1992 the average American girl owned 7 Barbies. For all her success Barbie has also been the center of many controversies, most prominently being called a bad role model for young girls. In 1992 a talking Barbie was released that said the following phrases, “Will we ever have enough clothes?”, “I love shopping!”, “Wanna have a pizza party? and the infamous “Math class is tough!” Many people felt this was a sexist statement inferring that girls couldn’t do math. Despite a few controversies, Barbie has maintained its status as queen of the dolls.

Nintendo Entertainment System

Nintendo Entertainment System With its debut in 1985 the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) changed the world like no other toy has ever done before. The NES was the most advanced video game system of its day and completely changed the way we thought about video game systems. In fact, two years prior to its release, the video game industry had crashed and was on the verge of disappearing forever. Nintendo changed all that and ushered in an era of digital entertainment that still continues today. The NES had the longest-lasting production run of any video game system to date, lasting 20 years, from July 1983 to September 2003. Before Nintendo many retailers and adults treated electronic games as a passing fad. By 1988 video games had become a multi-billion dollar industry. Nintendo has been the catalyst for almost every other electronic gaming device created ever since. Ask yourself, does your child own a video game system? The answer is probably yes.

Does he or she play board games or card games? The answer is probably no in most cases or very rarely at best. Why should they play those old style games when they can play with an interactive and visually pleasing video game? Besides, they can play all their favorite board games and card games on their video game system! Video games are not only for kids anymore. A survey in 2008 revealed that more than half of American adults play video games and one in five play just about every day. 81 percent of respondents between 18 and 29 said they play games and even 23 percent of people 65 and older said they do as well. A Pew survey found that nearly every teenager – 97 percent – is a gamer. Those numbers are just staggering. But here is an even more startling number, in June of this year the global video game market was valued at $65 billion. There is no question that video games have changed the world and our culture more than any other toy to come before it. There is no other single toy, or perhaps even entertainment medium in the world, that bridges all generations like video games do today. It truly is amazing and that is why the Nintendo Entertainment System, which started the whole video games crazy, is number one on our list.