Games of the 60s

If you’re a child of the 60s, you’ll remember the golden era of playtime toys like G.I. Joe, Wacky Windups, Troll Dolls, and Die-Cast Model Cars. Unlike generations before, the 60s opened up an exciting world of 100-piece toy car sets for $9.98 and replicas of the U.S. Space Team moon landing. Did you own a Johnny Ringo Western Frontier Playset? What’s more, a large percentage of toys from the 60s lasted long into the future. If you’ve ever played Twister or Operation, be sure to thank the 60s.

Joel-Magee-Twister

One of the newest addition to toys of the 60s was the ability to make them electronic. If a toy was automatic, lit up, or said hello, it immediately flew off the shelves. Electric trains and race cars were Christmas sensations alongside Chatty Cathy dolls and kitchen sets. Remember those green Army Men figures? The 60s also ushered in the concept of licensing. Batman-themed action figures and accessories were all the rave. Manufacturing companies were rushing to produce Batman toys for children of all ages and in the process realized the right license would gross prime profits. Batman and Secret Agents also gave way to the spy and espionage niche.

Board games were also popular in the 60s families indulging in game night, playing both classic and new games. The introduction of Hoopla, Leap Frog, Shenanigans, and the Ouija Board were huge! The Game of Life (LIFE) reached the height of its popularity in the 60s when Milton Bradley added a large number of adjustments to the game, catering to modern life.

The popularity of skateboards started to rise, approaching $100 million in sales while doll makers gushed over how popular the G. I. Joe doll had become. Young boys hadn’t been excited for a doll since Raggedy Andy, the 1920s companion of Raggedy Ann.

In a time when a Twister board game set only cost $3.84, children and adults alike were having a blast playing 1960s games.

Board Game Mania

Nothing quite captures a childhood of the 60s, 70s, and 80s quite like board games. While many board games are now brushed aside, reserved only for the occasional family game night or dinner party, these cardboard fun factories used to be the talk of the town not too long ago. Before they were replaced by video games and the latest technology, children would gather round the kitchen table on a Friday or Saturday evening spending some quality time together solving puzzles, mysteries, or ways to accrue the most funds. To this day, online retailers like eBay and Etsy continue to sell vintage board games. Here are 3 of the most popular games to date.

Monopoly-Logo

Monopoly: Still immensely popular today, Monopoly has been licensed in more than 103 countries and printed in more than 37 languages. The game was originally built upon the economic principals of Henry George, an American journalist, philosopher, and political economist. His most influential work extended to areas of land value tax and the value capture of lang and natural resources. The current Parker Brothers edition was released in 1935 fused with fast property trade, negotiations, and resource management.

Life-logo

The Game of Life (LIFE): LIFE is a board game originally released in the 1860s by Milton Bradley; however, the height of its popularity occurred later in the 1960s when major adjustments were made to fit modern times. The game simulates the life of an average American as they progress through various education and career paths, life and family choices, eventually leading to old age and retirement. The game is currently featured in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

chutes-ladders

Chutes and Ladders: Originally an ancient Indian board game called “Snakes and Ladders” in which two or more players navigate the game according to the roll of a die, hindered or helped by snakes and ladders respectively, Milton Bradley created their own rendition in 1952. The overarching theme is fairly similar with the added element of moral rewards; depictions of good deeds such as planting flowers are accompanied by a ladder while bad deeds, ergo playing a trick, is accompanied by a chute.

What were some of your favorite games growing up?

What’s the Deal With Army Men?

These small, plastic pieces of fun, usually sold by the bag or barrel, have been around since the late 1930s. These traditional American toys came in green, tan, or grey representing opposing forces. Equipped with an array of World War II error weapons, Army Men are a true blast to the past.

Bergen Toy & Novelty Company were the original manufacturers in 1938. The standard green color represented the United States Army uniforms at the time. In the early 1950s, Louis Marx and Company began selling boxed set of figurines and accessories called playsets. These sets were labeled “US Army Training Center” and “Battleground.” Later, in the 1960, the Multiple Plastics Corporation began color coordinating figures to reflect enemy and alliance lines during the second world war.

Army Men sales gradually started to decline in the 1970s in conjunction with the unpopularity of the Vietnam War. Additionally, the higher prices of plastic from the 1973 oil crisis made the toys even more expensive to purchase.

Today, most Army Men are manufactured in China. They are roughly one inch high and don fewer accessories than before. Because of their popularity, they were featured in the 1995 film Toy Story and even received a 1998 video game series appropriately titled Army Men.

Pokémon TCG Live Action!

In light of the most recent post, here’s some live action Pokémon TCG footage. The cards featured in this video are of a newer design than the original early 2000s packs. The Pokémon TCG continues to grow and evolve.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

The year was 1999 and children all across North America finally got their hands on the very first Base Set of Pokémon cards. The Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) was originally published in Japan in 1996 featuring illustrations by Ken Sugimori, Mitsuhiro Arita and Keiji Kinebuchi. Taking inspiration from the release of the Red, Green, and Blue Game Boy video games, the Pokémon TCG mirrored characters from the extremely popular television show. As of today, almost 15 billion Pokémon cards have been produced worldwide.

Joel Magee Pokemon

Rare Holograhic Pokémon Cards

The Pokémon TCG is a two-player game in which each player builds a deck of 60 cards. These cards are comprised of a combination of “Pokémon cards”, “Trainer cards”, and “Energy cards”. A player may hold no more than 7 cards in their hands at any time. Only 5 Pokémon cards may actively be in play on the “Bench”.

Pokémon cards feature a particular Pokémon character with their name, type, and skill/attack details. Pokémon all have a particular “Hit Point” (HP) number that ranges from 30 to 250. Also printed on the cards are rarity, expansion set, set number, and Pokédex entry number. This information corresponds with how valuable a card may be.

Energy cards power Pokémon attacks. A Pokémon cannot use an attack unless is has the required energy cards.  There are 9 basic energy cards in the form of fighting, fire, grass, lightening, psychic, water, darkness, metal, and fairy. Special energy cards provide more than one type of energy or have additional effects such as healing, extra damage, or colorless energy.

Trainer cards can be used in conjunction with Pokémon and Energy cards. Although they do not have direct attacking power, they allow the player to do useful things like draw new cards, search through their deck, or other special effects. The main types of Trainer cards are: Item, Stadium, Supporter, Rocket’s Secret Machine, Pokémon Tool, Goldenrod Game Corner, Ace Spec, and Technical Machine.

Joel-Magee-JPCardbackJoel-Magee-Cardback

At the end of the game, a winner is determined by whomever can reduce their opponent’s Pokémon HP to to zero, exhaust their opponent’s resources, and prevent their opponent from drawing from their deck at the beginning of their turn. Since games may last quite a while, half-deck games are sometimes recommended. Brand new Pokémon cards and expansions sets are constantly being released for an exciting and ever changing game.

Chatty Cathy

Chatty Cathy, the pull-string talking doll, was a huge sensation in the 60’s and early 70’s. Originally produced by Mattel in 1959, she became the second most popular doll on the market next to Barbie. She featured a string with a plastic circle pull-piece, or “chatty-string”, on her back that allowed her to speak. The original model came with 11 present sayings such as “I love You,” and “Let’s play school!” Since her inception, the doll’s popularity has prompted a fanclub, book, and hundreds of collectors worldwide. Her wardrobe expanded from a simple blue dress to a playtime set, Sunday dress, and pajamas. Chatty Cathy was one of the first talking dolls on the market, boosting the Mattel company more than it already was as the creator of the Barbie doll.

Chatty Cathy was designed to compliment Barbie. She was the child-like doll juxtaposed to Barbie’s adult form; small girls could relate to her in real time while Barbie was what they aspired to be. According to June Foray, the voice of Chatty Cathy, she was inspired by a the image of a “sweet little girl” who had “sensitivity and loving qualities.” Although she was a mass production doll, there were multiple versions ranging from blonde hair with blues eyes to brown hair with brown eyes. Rarer combinations were blonde hair and brown eyes and vice versa due to stock availability. Vintage Chatty Cathy dolls continue to be sold today. Collectors pay close attention to details like the dolls skin tone, eye placement, freckle pattern, eye color, hair color, lip color, and packaging. These features sometimes vary from doll to doll driving collectors prices up or down. At the turn of Cathy’s 40th anniversary, Mattel recreated a collectors Chatty Cathy replica. The original dolls are currently being sold on eBay for upwards of $500, and even more worldwide.

For more information on Chatty Cathy, check out the video by Mattel below: