Toys & Games

Billy Blastoff

He may not have looked as space-ready as Major Matt Mason, but don’t let Billy Blastoff’s cherubic little face fool you. This kid packed the skills and the power for some serious interstellar action. With a battery-powered jet pack on his back, Billy Blastoff was all juiced up and ready to activate the many electric(…)

Bionic Woman

The Bionic Woman was a spin-off of another bionic-themed prime time hit, The Six Million Dollar Man. In the dramatic opening credits of the show, Jaime Sommers paraded her newly acquired bionics while sporting a track top, jeans, and white sneakers. It figures, then, that Kenner’s original 1976 Bionic Woman doll was outfitted in the(…)

Blow Football

Blow Football was extremely simple. Each player had a straw and used it to blow the lightweight ball into the other person’s goal. It required little skill except dodging your opponents spittle. A patent for Blow Football was applied for in 1890 by T. D. Dales. Part of the description outlined the game as follows:(…)

BMX

The BMX Burner from Raleigh (pictured below) was the action bike of 1982 in the UK. It was capable of stunt tricks and riders were encouraged to wear protective clothes and head gear.

Board Games

 

Boggle

The world has its share of word games, but perhaps none as hyperactive as Boggle, which was first released in 1973. Sixteen letters, three minutes, two or more frantically scribbling players – for more than 40 years, that’s been the formula for Boggle’s speed-writing success. Each game started innocently enough: Someone put the 16 letter(…)

Bonanza Action Figures

Life was good at the Ponderosa Ranch in the mid-60’s. Bonanza was the most-watched program in the USA, the Nevada mountains were still pristine and beautiful, and Little Joe was still a handsome little heartbreaker. And somewhere up in the mountains (or a company boardroom – we always get our legends confused) somebody looked around the(…)

Breakout

Designed by future Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs (though Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak reportedly did the bulk of the work), Breakout turned the video game world on its ear and cemented Atari’s spot at the top of the arcade game food chain. It had been four years since the groundbreaking Pong, and players were hungry(…)

Buck-a-roo!

Buck-a-roo! came from Milton Bradley. The idea was to load the buck-a-roo mule with picks, shovels and all kinds of stuff. But if it got too heavy he would kick it all off and, er . . . you would have to start again. Like Ker-Plunk! and Mousetrap, Buck-a-roo! was one of those games which used(…)

Bump ‘n’ Jump

You just had to love a game whose entire philosophy on life was summed up in its three-syllable title: Bump ‘n’ Jump. That’s all there was to it. Bump cars and jump over obstacles. Smash things. Don’t get smashed. Nothing but primal, destructive fun from beginning to end. Us like. Us like big good. Oh,(…)

Bunty

How come the Four Marys are still in the Third Form at St Elmo’s? Have they really been kept down for thirty odd years. How thick do you have to be to achieve that? A-ha. The truth is more sinister. It all goes back to the Fifth Mary scandal of the late sixties, when Mary(…)

Cabbage Patch Kids

The most popular kids of the 80s had ugly squished faces, stumpy arms and chubby little hands . . . They were The Cabbage Patch Kids. No two dolls were alike as the computer-controlled production line process ensured subtle differences during manufacture. Each doll came with an adoption certificate (so not only were they ugly(…)

Candy Land

Imagine that the Brothers Grimm invented a board game. Now take out the witches. Welcome to Candy Land. Eleanor Abbott was recovering from polio when she decided to create a board game for similarly-afflicted youngsters forced to spend time in a cold, boring hospital. The fruits of her work came to life in 1949 as(…)

Canyon Bomber

Part of the beauty of early arcade games was the preponderance of “truth in advertising”. What you read was what you got. So when Atari released a game called Canyon Bomber, there was no doubt what it was about. For some never-explained reason a large canyon had been filled with numbered balls, and for another(…)

Cap Guns

The first cap guns were born out of economic necessity. After the American Civil War ended in 1865, several gun manufacturers found themselves with too many factories and too little demand for weaponry. To keep the factory doors open, some gun makers turned their instruments of destruction into toys, loading them with loud but harmless(…)