Part 2 – My Top 10 List of Games and Toys in History (6 through 10)

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n my last posting, I began my list of the Top 10 Games and Toys in History by listing numbers 1-5.  Today we continue with numbers 6-10.Again, they are in no particular order.  Please give us your feedback.  What have I missed and what should I have left out?  So here you go:

6.   Ping Pong Diplomacy

ImagesCADU1QIJMost of the world today knows China as an economic powerhouse.  Prior to 1971, however, it was a country that was cut off to much of the rest of the world and recovering from the Cultural Revolution, a student movement that had created several years of havoc for its citizens.  It was, however, a series of ping pong games between China, a ping pong power (I like the way that sounds don’t you?) and the US that softened relations and set the stage for former President Nixon’s famous trip to China and the subsequent normalization of relations. 

7.   “Aces and Eights” aka the “Dead Man’s Hand”

11049-004-D36DBF3AWild Bill Hickok was one tough gunslinger.  He was also, at times a scout, lawman and apparently a serious poker player.  Hickok’s exploits were popularized by the Eastern press so when he was killed in Deadwood, the Dakota Territory during a gunfight (he was shot from behind) the hand he was holding became famous; a pair of Aces and a pair of Eights.  It was said that they were in Clubs and Spades so the all black hand became known as a “Dead Man’s Hand.”

8.   The Ace becomes the high card

125px-Playing_card_spade_A_svgWhy is it that the Ace is valued as the most powerful card in the deck when it is really the One of Hearts, Spades, Clubs and Diamonds?  Shouldn’t the King be the highest card?  Well it was until the French Revolution.  The leaders made a great effort to turn the world upside down and even renamed the months of the year.  That didn’t last but their making the one (the people) more powerful than the King they made a statement about political power that is still with us today.

9.   “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen

51PWANYVT5L__SL500_AA300_This play by the Norwegian Henrik Ibsen is considered one of the greatest dramatic works of the 19th century.  Still popular today, its historic credentials come from its being an important and influential call for improving the rights of women in marriage. 

10.  War Games

DSC03635War Games like Avalon-Hill’s “Tactics II” and “Panzer Blitz” involve strategy, tactics and the element of risk via roles of dice to recreate the feel of leading armies.  These games, however, arose from the need to train military officers.  Some actually credit the Prussian Army’s victory over France in the Franco-Prussian war to the playing of a game called “Kriegspiel.”  This along with the Duke of Wellington’s crediting of play as the incubator for victory in war certainly makes a major statement of the importance of gaming. 



5 thoughts

  1. Thanks for clearing this up for me. I read it as events in toy history, certainly not how certain toys had an impact on society.
    Could you ‘splain a little more what you mean. For example Barbie invented three dimensional paper doll fashion play which only existed with toddler dolls.
    Hot Wheels created a brand new play pattern.
    Also, Video games introduced by Mattel, Atari and Coleco created a huge shift from traditional toys to a brand new play pattern.
    I don’t think you mean that. Honestly, I really don’t know what you mean.

  2. This might be over-ambitious but it is my goal to get the Culica into lists like this! 🙂
    That’s fascinating about the Ace- I didn’t know that! The Ace is definitely a great paradox, the smallest number, but perhaps signifying the importance of the individual, something totalitarianism and most politicians suppress. There you go, I managed to get politics into the discussion 😉

  3. Fred,
    Thank you for the comment and your belief in the historical importance of Mattel is right on.
    The purpose of the posting, however, was not to track the most important moments in toy history but to look at moments in history in which toys played a part.

  4. Very interesting. Leaving out the monumental event that took the toy industry from a momma poppa back woods nothing industry to a huge multi billion dollar famous one.
    Ruth Handler of Mattel bets the company’s net worth. In 1955 yearly sales reached $5 million and the Handlers decided to take a risk that would forever change the toy business: sponsorship of a 15-minute segment of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club on the ABC television network. The 52-week $500,000 contract was equal to Mattel’s net worth at the time. The payoff was immediate. The company’s television commercials brought in mail sacks full of orders and made their brand name well known among their viewing audience. In another television link, Mattel introduced toy replicas of classic guns and holsters, exploiting the popularity of television Westerns.
    A bit more significant than what I have seen so far. Fred Held Former Global VP Marketing Mattel

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