#4. Pedal Cars
Just as a baby goose is born with the genetic desire to pack up and head south each winter, young children are born with the same intrinsic desire to be on the open road, in a car (also like baby geese, children are sticky and annoying; but that's an issue for a separate article).
Take one part bicycle, two pages out of the Flintstones automobile design book and one hard-spoiled child and you have a pedal car. It seems like a really fun idea in theory but, in actuality, the single-speed gearing of a bike mixed with the weight of the metal shell, seats and wheels meant operation of the thing bordered on child labor. Still, the pedal car remained very sought after for generations to come.
Somewhere along the line, the pedal car needed an update. Something that addressed modern childrens' growing resentment of physical activity. What it needed was a motor.
Toymaker Fischer Price was the knight in shining armor on this one with the creation of their Power Wheels line. At first, Power Wheels vehicles were very basic with small electric motors and rudimentary Jeep-like styling. Now, Fischer Price has unleashed a car that says "When I grow up, I want to be too rich to care about the environment." This giant bastard comes with tinted windows, a set of dubs and even a fully functional FM transmitter which, no doubt, blasts shitty radio static through its real-live rear subwoofers.
The icing on the cake? It has to be the "LVNLG" ("Living Large" for the non-license plate slang savvy) vanity plate. It's a subtle little message that tells your classmates precisely how you're living (large, with the implication that you are also in charge).
#3. G.I. Joe
The G.I. Joe line of toys has always been the definition of "action figures," featuring moving joints, changeable outfits and ripped man-bodies underneath. If this all sounds a bit gay on paper than it should be noted that G.I. Joe figures are all armed with a vast array of weaponry. Also, if you ever suggest that Snake Eyes might be gay, make no mistake, you will be dead before you even see the movement in the darkness.
Back in the 60s, Hasbro was commissioned to play down the negative stigma surrounding US soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War. The result was four, 12-inch tall dress-up dolls featuring realistic camouflage fatigues and weapons of the time. The figurines represented the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. There was no real storyline at the time which limited the allure of the toys.
Somewhere along the line, G.I. Joe picked up the familiar storyline that we all best associate with the toys: G.I. Joe Team vs. the Evil Cobra Organization. A classic tale of good vs. evil. Well guess what. Somewhere else along the line the franchise picked up a very different storyline and a new look to boot, highlighted by the newest figurine: The DARK NINJA MASTER.
The Hasbro website explains it best: "The rogue DARK NINJA MASTER was exiled to a cave beneath Arashikage Mountain for betraying the ninja clans. After finding the Moon's Blood, a mystical stone of great power, he was able to channel the energy of dead ninjas, making him almost unstoppable. Seeking revenge, he has emerged from his subterranean prison to destroy all ninjas. Only two people can stop him: STORM SHADOW and SNAKE EYES. The two adversaries must join forces, for only by working together will they be strong enough to defeat this evil super-ninja."
Long before the internet came along and ruined life as we knew it, Children amused themselves with the most primitive of toys. At the top of the food chain was the yo-yo. Believed to date back to around 500 B.C. in Greece, and even believed to have been used as a crude weapon in the Philippines, the yo-yo (pronounced yo-yo) made a roaring comeback in the 1920s as a toy, and to a lesser extent as a weapon.
The first commercialized yo-yos in America were sold in vast majority by entrepreneur Donald Duncan and children couldn't get enough of them. The design was elementary: two wooden or plastic discs, connected by an axle with a string tied to it. To keep the user from flinging the yo-yo comically through the nearest window pane, the string featured a tiny finger loop at the opposite end. A loop that, as we all remember, tightens relentlessly with each toss until the finger tip is a healthy shade of purple.
After each throw, physics would prevail and the yo-yo would wind itself back up, right into the user's hand. That is, unless, the string has been twisted in any way, in which case the yo-yo proceeds to just fucking hover above the ground, spinning around mockingly. What fun!
In the past 80 or so years, the yo-yo has seen some pretty mundane innovations, such as a ball bearing axle for better spin efficiency and the addition of flashing lights, to name a few. But finally, someone has rolled up their sleeves and is ready to fuck shit up all over the yo-yo world. Meet the ReGEN; half yo-yo, half MP3 player and just a pinch retarded.
The most groundbreaking aspect of the design is the fact that apparently just 10-12 throws an hour will provide more than enough juice. Which is good news if you have a long drive to work, or have to take the crowded subway in your daily grind. It also holds up to 200 songs to ensure that your wrist gives out way before your music does.
"But," we wondered, "How do you listen to music if you're constantly throwing this little robot?" The answer is wireless Bluetooth headphones. Here's a thought: When the music-listening technology that comes with today's yo-yos is cooler and more advanced than the music-listening technology that came with portable CD players in our day, the youth of today officially rescinds its right to ever complain about anything. Ever.
#1. Toy Airplanes
For whatever reason, young boys are all drawn to the same passions in youth: cars, guns and airplanes. Mark our words: The toy company that designs some kind of all-terrain falcon with a built-in flamethrower is the company that is going to crush the competition.
Ah yes, the balsa wood toy airplane. This timeless piece of aeronautical simplicity came in a thin little paper bag containing five or six pieces that were easily assembled into a painfully fragile, questionably airworthy, model plane.
A descent throw might yield 8 seconds of shit-your-pants excitement until the inevitable crash landing sheared a wing off. If you were the rich kid on the block, your plane might have come with a faux propeller that basically A) provided some serious, flight hindering drag and B) made all your poor friends hate you.
If there was one thing the toy planes of yonder were lacking, it was controllability. Guaranteed crash landings and the subsequent walks of shame to go pick up the pieces started to wear a little thin. The advent of radio-control provided an answer for that. But for model builders Aviation Design, that was child's play. Hense, the birth of the FALCON 7X business jet.
We still can't decide what the craziest aspect of this "toy" is. Perhaps it's the retractable landing gear. Perhaps it's the fully furnished interior complete with automatic stairway (for the new CEO Barbie?). Perhaps it's the actual, working jet engines, all three of them. Or maybe it's the ridiculous fucking size of the thing.
Yeah, that's definitely it. It's actually big enough to show up on radar. Too bad one crash would set you back a cool four grand.
Still, we want one. Please send this giant toy plane monster to the Cracked Headquarters for Christmas, please. Or, at the very least, send us one of these...
...to shoot other people's planes down with.
To see people who loved these toys a little too much, check out The 7 Most Impressive (And Depressing) Geek Collections. Or put your children to sleep tonight with a Cracked lullaby in 'Twas the Night Before Christmas 2: Christmasturbation.
And be sure to visit Cracked.com's Top Picks because we see you when you're sleeping, and know when you're awake.