ROCHESTER, New York — A deck of playing cards and The Game of Life are the two newest toys inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
The two honorees were selected from among 12 toy finalists that included: Cabbage Patch Kids, Chess, Dollhouse, Dominoes, Dungeons and Dragons, Hot Wheels, Lite Brite, Magic 8 Ball, the Pogo Stick and Rubik’s Cube.
From Go Fish to Texas Hold‘em, playing cards offer more game variations than any other single gaming device.
With earliest origins in China, India and Egypt, playing cards were widely known in Europe after the 1600s.
The first American card decks came directly from England after the Revolution, when printers in the United States started to print their own playing cards. From then onward, card decks became a fixture in many households.
Some small innovations developed over the years: two-sided face cards meant players didn’t have to turn their cards to see a Jack or a King’s face, and indices allowed players to hold their cards closer in a fan, so other players couldn’t see their hands.
For generations, The Game of Life has invited players to journey through life. In 1860, Milton Bradley, founder of the company, originally printed and sold the game as The Checkered Game of Life. In 1960, a new version was commissioned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company, and was very loosely based on the earlier game.
Designed by Reuben Klamer, The Game of Life quickly became one of the nation’s most popular board games. Since then, it has been updated several times and both electronic and themed versions are now widely available.
One of the best-selling games of all time, The Game of Life has been translated into at least 20 languages.
The National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong recognizes toys that have engaged and delighted multiple generations, inspiring them to learn, create and discover through play.
Criteria for induction include: Icon-status (the toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered); longevity (the toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations); discovery (the toy fosters learning, creativity, or discovery through play); and innovation (the toy profoundly changed play or toy design).
For more information on the National Toy Hall of Fame, visit www.toyhalloffame.org
To date, 46 toys have made it into the National Toy Hall of Fame:
Atari 2600 Game System
Etch A Sketch
The Game of Life
Mr. Potato Head
Nintendo Game Boy
Radio Flyer Wagon
Raggedy Ann & Andy
Source: National Toy Hall of Fame.