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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...

British Comics of the 50s, 60s and 70s

World War II, cowboys and soccer were the tripod on which boys' comics were built in the 50s and 60s. DC Thomson and Fleetway were in tough competition with comics, although Thomsons were clear winners with...

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 ....

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....

Cabbage Patch Kids

The most popular kids of the 1980s had ugly fat squished faces, stumpy arms and chubby little hands . . . They were The Cabbage Patch Kids. No two dolls were alike as the computer-controlled production...

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...

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...

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...

Captain Action

With a change of clothes and mask, Captain Action could alter his identity into some of the mightiest heroes on the planet. The basic 12" Captain Action figure - introduced by the Ideal Toy Company at...

Care Bears

It was 1981 when the first ten Care Bears were designed for greeting cards. Just two years later, the toy line was rolled out, which is when children really began to fall in love with...

Cascade

Battery-powered thing from Matchbox which launched ball-bearings onto three bouncy drums in succession and then onto a scoring receptacle at the other end. The ball would then (in theory) return to the electric elevator via a...

Catapult/Slingshot

Young boys have always been fascinated with war toys, but most were just that: toys. No matter how fancy that cap gun got, it still only shot caps. BB guns and air rifles were a step...

Chatty Cathy

Dolls were always good for lending a listening ear after a tough day at preschool, but Chatty Cathy actually talked back. Tired of having to carry on the entire conversation by yourself at tea parties? Let...

Cluedo/Clue

The inventor of this British board game was a Birmingham munitions worker named Anthony Pratt. For him, it was a way of passing the time during air raid blackouts during WWII. While other families were...

Colorform Aliens

In 1968, the Colorform company made a bold attempt at cracking the action figure market with a set of seven bendable rubber "Outer Space Men," each named after a different planet in Earth's solar system. Although...

Colorforms

In the early 1950s, a company called Colorforms hit the educational toy market with their eponymous products which "stick like magic". The original sets contained basic shapes or letter and number decals, all in bright prime...

Commando (comic)

Launched in 1961, Commando was a product of the Dundee-based publisher DC Thomson & Co, a company that already had a strong presence in the British comics market having created such evergreen classics as The Beano, The...

Computacar (Amaze-A-Matic)

"Computacar - the amazing car with a 'memory' you control!" The revolutionary battery-powered Computacar from Mettoy was driven by an electric motor which was activated by calibrated cards. There were 17 with every Computacar - 4...

Computer Space

The history of coin-operated video arcade games began not with a whimper, but with several explosive bangs, rendered in simple black-and-white graphics by a young tech whiz named Nolan Bushnell. Introduced in 1971, Computer Space was...

Conkers

Conkers are the hard fruit of the Horse Chestnut tree. These are collected in autumn (we used to throw sticks up the trees to knock down the Horse Chestnuts), removed from their spiky casing and...

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12-Inch Remixes

In the 1980s, if you liked a song you went out and bought the single on 7-inch vinyl. If you loved it you went out and bought the 12-inch version instead. This was an exciting innovation in popular...

16 Magazine

Founded in late 1958 by George Winters, 16 magazine set the standard for all teen magazines. many imitators popped up over the years, and 16 withstood some pretty stiff competition but always remained true to its beginnings. 16 was never the...

2-XL

The 2-XL was a "robot with a personality" manufactured and released by Mego Corp. in 1978. This small 'talking' robot came complete with an 8-track cartridge and a voice that sounded like Lou Costello. On the box,...

3-D Movies

Stereoscopic films had been around since the 1920s, but the 1950s was unquestionably the golden age of 3-D, with excited teenagers flocking to the cinema to see such classic fare as The House Of Wax (1953),...

60s Speak

THE BAWL GAME Baby-sitting. Self explanatory really. BOSS We know who the boss is.... Bruce Springsteen, of course. And as a verb, it means to order someone around - But in the early 60s "boss" was an adjective....