Ohio Arts Company is back in the spotlight — and not for a re-release of their famous drawing toy Etch A Sketch.
The toy, created in the 1960s, garnered a lot of media attention over the weekend when Eric Fehrnstrom, an aide for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney (R-Mass.), used the toy as a metaphor for the ever-changing landscape of the general election.
“Everything changes,” Fehrnstrom said on CNN. “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”
The toy’s mini-resurgence has made many voters (myself included) reminiscent for some of the toys that defined their childhoods. In lieu of the reference, here’s a top-six list of toys that defined the childhood of college students.
They spoke their own language and it did not matter how far back in your closet or how deep under your bed you buried those creatures, you would still hear a faint gibberish coming from the gremlin-like robotic fur balls.
2. Beanie Baby
If you were a child of the ’90s, you had at least one of Ty’s collectible Beanie Babies. Who could forget those rare collectibles like Princess the bear (in commemoration of Princess Diana of Wales) and the McDonalds Happy Meal toys?
“Beanie Babies were awesome because they were the social trend of my childhood. You weren’t cool unless you collected Beanie Babies,” said Kasey Richardson, a senior exercise science major at University of North Carolina — Wilmington. “There was an expectation that they could be worth something in the future, and collecting certain types (all of the bears or the cats) gave you a goal of something to accomplish.”
Hawaii has been known for some pretty great things in American culture, such as the hula and Spam, but nothing will ever compare to their game of Pogs. Whether your little cardboard discs were black and white or had a hologram, the cheap collectibles kept kids occupied for hours. A kid’s indestructible slammer spoke for itself on the playground, back in those days.
No 1990’s childhood toy list is ever complete without the mention of Pokèmon. If you had every trainer card and every version for Game Boy Color (or if you just loved how cute Charmander was) you could not escape the Japanese phenomenon.
“It’s a way for you to go on a huge adventure and see amazing creatures while becoming the best at something,” said Michael McKeon, a senior physics major at Temple University. “That’s really all I want to do in life. Have a great adventure and be the very best, like no one ever was.”
5. Bop it
As crazy as the new Bop It Extreme and Bop It Extreme 2 were, nothing compared to the original. You would hear the catchphrases “Bop it,” “Twist it” and “Pull it” down the halls during recess and immediately envy the kid whose parents bought it for him or her for their birthday.
6. Tamagotchi and DigiPets
These toys were more addicting than Facebook — so much so that schools were banning them left and right to keep kids focused in class. They had a tendency of breaking and dying, but feeding them and playing with them felt like having your own pet.
“I loved the four Tamgachis I had as a kid,” said Diana Cole, a senior international studies major at Virginia Tech. “It was pretty much having a pet in your pocket. I feel like they’re the equivalent of Farmville or Petshop apps now.”
Here’s to hoping some of our favorite childhood toys make their way into the political spotlight.
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