In New England, we work hard and play hard. Especially that last part.
How else would you explain our region’s extensive toy ties? After all, Parker Brothers was famously founded and headquartered in Beverly; Milton Bradley got its start in Springfield; and both of those companies were eventually absorbed by Hasbro, the toy and game behemoth of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. That’s a lot of playing in not a lot of square mileage.
So it should probably not come as a surprise that we’re well represented in the Strong National Museum of Play’s Toy Hall of Fame. Of the 77 toys inducted since the Rochester, New York-based museum launched the hall of fame in 1998, many well-known classics from the above-mentioned local toy giants — including Risk, The Game of Life, Candyland, G.I. Joe and Mr. Potato Head — have made the cut.
And this year’s new crop is no exception: On the list of finalists for potential inclusion in 2022, you’ll find Lite-Brite (Hasbro), Nerf (Parker Brothers), and Rack-O (Milton Bradley), not to mention several toys, like Spirograph, that originated elsewhere but that Hasbro subsequently scooped up like a Hungry Hungry Hippo. (A Milton Bradley game that, interestingly, is not yet in the hall — maybe next year!)
Although this year’s voting has ended — the final inductees will be revealed on Nov. 10 — you can still respond to our own unscientific poll on this year’s toys below, and also let us know which toys would make your own personal toy hall of fame, and why. (It’s worth noting that they don’t necessarily have to be name-brand items; one of the toys inducted into the Strong National Museum of Play’s Toy Hall of Fame last year was “sand.” We kid you not.)
Respond below, or email [email protected], and we may use your answers in an upcoming article.