Toys and Board Games of the 1980s

The decade of the 1980s followed a 30-year period of great progress in the toy and games industry. However, the industry was experiencing a snowballing effect with success generating more success. The 1980s was going to prove to be as popular as the previous decades. The year of 1982 will be remembered for when then most popular board game in the world was introduced, Trivia Pursuits. It has now old more than 90 million copies world-wide and has produced many followers who have attained great knowledge of the subjects that are included in the game.

Trivial Pursuit branching out into World Cup Soccer

There are now several different versions of the game including Trivial Pursuits for Kids and Trivial Pursuits: Lord of the Rings. The game has also branched out into television, video games, computer games and arcade games. Another board game that was founded in the 1980’s was Pictionary. This was basically a game when one player had to predict what his opponent was trying to draw. It was from this point where a player, once he got his prediction correct, would make his way onto the game board.

The Christmas of 1983 saw parents camped outside department stores in order to purchase a Cabbage Patch Doll. Created by 21-year-old art student Xavier Roberts in 1976 the dolls didn’t find fame until they appeared on the television show Real People in 1980. The sales frenzy of the dolls, with the large shaped head, reached a peak in 1983 with 3 million being sold between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Care bears were originally multi coloured cartoon bears drawn by artist Elena Kucharik in 1981, but by 1983 they had been turned into plush teddy bears. Each bear came in a different colour and on its belly, was an insignia that explained the bear’s duty and personality. The bear was a great success and from this point they went on to find more success in a television series and three feature films.

Children’s imaginations were inspired by the Transformers

In 1984 the American toy company Hasbro and Takara from Japan started to produce the Transformer toy.  These magical alien machines could be transformed from a vehicle, a device, to a robot figure and then back again. The models were either the heroic Autobots or their opponents the evil Decepticons. The collections of these models became a craze and led to a comic book series, an animated television series plus five films.

The Teddy Ruxpin was a bear that could read stories to the children at bed time. Ken Forsse the Disney engineer used the same technology that he had used in creating talking creatures at Disney, to make the bears come alive and with the aid of cassettes tell stories to the children. Snoopy the pet dog, had been appearing in Peanuts cartoons since the 1950s, but in the early 1980’s Hasbro developed the Snoopy Sno Cone Machine. The machine in the shape of Snoopy’s dog house ground hunks of ice and mixed it with fruit juice to produce a “slushie”. No batteries were needed as the power came from those who were willing to crank the machine to produce the snow-like mixture.

Generally, the toys that were produced in the 1980’s were a development of ideas that were first introduced in previous decades. The beauty was that now with advanced technology the toys were really becoming more and more consumer friendly. Still education and imagination were at the forefront of each toy and this decade was a fine time for children to play before they would all be lost to computer games and mobile phones.

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