Favorite Childhood Game – Super Mario Games

In 1987, it was a very special year in my young life. I received my first video game system and cartridge. This was the Nintendo Entertainment System and the game “Super Mario Bros.” At the time, I had no idea that this console and game would become the building block for all future games and consoles. Anyone who was born or raised in the 1980s can likely recall the first time they played Super Mario Bros. For me, it was something that I had never seen before. The only gaming console I was aware of at the time was Atari 2600, which had mediocre graphics and no real storyline to its games. But with Super Mario Bros, it changed the way I saw video games from that point forward.

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Super Mario Bros is a game about two plumbers that are brothers; Mario and Luigi. They are on a quest to rescue Princess Toadstool from the evil King Koopa, also called Bowser in the later Mario games. Koopa is a talking dinosaur that spits fireballs out of its mouth. In each stage of the game you have to get through three levels and then enter a castle level where the princess is supposed to be in. But in most of these castle levels you don’t actually find the princess. You just find a woman who says the princess is in another castle. The real princess is found in the 8th stage of the game.

As you play through the levels as Mario, you can defend yourself by jumping on enemies. Some of the enemies include goombas, turtles, hammer brothers, fish, giant bullets, and more. If you want to play as Luigi then you have to choose the 2 player option and then play as the 2nd player. Anytime you get hit by an enemy you shrink into a smaller character. If you get hit a second time then you lose a life and have to start back at the checkpoint of the level. The only way you can restore your normal size is if you get a mushroom. There are also stars you can collect to be temporarily invincible and flowers that give you the ability to shoot fireballs at enemies.

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There have been so many Super Mario Bros spinoffs and sequels over the years. According to MarioWiki.com, there are over 171 games in the Super Mario Bros franchise. But the one game that got the franchise noticed was the original Super Mario Bros for regular NES. This game still sticks in my mind to this very day whenever I think about video games of the past and from my childhood. Any child of the new generation who is interested in video game history should definitely go back and play this one because it is a classic that cannot be recreated.

Amazing Silly Putty

Silly Putty - It bounces, breaks, stretches, and bends and can even pick up newspaper print. It can flow like a liquid in the right circumstances offers hours of creative play. It’s packaged in an egg to prevent it from drying and has a rather identifiable scent that many people associate with childhood.

Silly Putty would not have been invented if it weren’t for the rubber shortages caused by World War II. During the war, rubber was so valuable that it was rationed. Rubber was needed for the war efforts to produce tires, aircraft parts, boots, gas masks and more. Because of the high value of rubber and short supply, researchers spent countless hours trying to develop a rubber alternative.

The result to these efforts was what we now know as Silly Putty. Though not quite the rubber alternative researchers were hoping for, the silicon-based substance wound up being a cheap and wonderful toy that helped lift the spirits of children at a time when it was desperately needed.

Like most inventions, there is some contention when it comes to who should receive credit for the creation. Early Warrick has been credited as the inventor, as has Dow Corning, Harvey Chin and James Wright. There is some belief that multiple people invented Silly Putty independently, and at around the same time. The substance is made by reacting boric acid with silicone oil to create a unique material that transcends traditional properties of solids, liquids and semi-solids.

Silly Putty

Silly Putty is non-toxic and will bounce when dropped. It can stretch much further than rubber, is mold-resistant and has a very high melting temperature. It can also break when struck suddenly. Because of this, the putty was not deemed a good alternative to traditional rubber as researchers had hoped.
Fortunately, an enterprising toy store owner named Ruth Fallgatter heard about Silly Putty and recognized its potential. She contacted a market consultant by the name of Peter Hodgson to help her sell the putty. It did not do well in her toy store and Fallgatter abandoned her efforts to market it. However, Hodgson didn’t give up. Already $12,000 in debt, he borrowed another $147 to buy a batch of plastic eggs and some putty. He dubbed the putty-filled eggs Silly Putty. Silly Putty was mentioned in a New Yorker article and sales skyrocketed.

Silly Putty was a best-selling toy for a while until the Korean War nearly put Hodgson out of business. Silicone was a main ingredient in silly putty and was rationed during the war. The business suffered greatly and nearly had to shut down until the restriction on silicone was lifted and production could resume.

Silly Putty Toys

Today, Silly Putty is a pop culture icon. It is a toy that nearly every child has played with and it still only costs about $1 for 1 plastic egg. There is no right or wrong way to play with the putty and that flexibility is part of the product’s appeal. Silly Putty is sold worldwide and has even gone to space with the 1968 Apollo 8 mission. After the death of Peter Hodgson, the rights to Silly Putty were acquired by Crayola. Annual sales exceed 6 million eggs. Silly Putty also enjoys a place of honor in the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Why I love Monopoly

Monopoly is one board game that never makes you bored. The simple reason is that it is a game that teaches you about business strategy that will help you achieve great things in the real world. It quickens your thinking and analyzing abilities and leads you to up your game with each move.

Littlest Pet Shop Monopoly Marvel Monopoly

The basic impression anyone who is new to the game or who watches the game being played gets is that it is a fantastical situation of being a real estate tycoon. One might say that it is about making money and creating a monopoly. While both of these are true, it is important to understand that there is much more to the game than making money or buying real estate. There are ways for you to develop and think out of the box, which differentiates it from other games.

  • You always have options. You can enter into partnerships, give commissions, earn commissions and work your way towards building your empire and gaining control.
  • You do not always have to play alone. You have plenty of chances to socialize with players unlike in a game like chess where you will be a lone player fighting to keep his place.
  • While there are many options to create partnerships with other players, there is always the ongoing competition among players. It is the competition itself which induces you to enter into a business deal with your biggest enemy sometimes so that the rivalry is negated and your positions are made equal in the market.
  • The importance of cash is always highlighted throughout the game. While you may want to invest in big pieces of land you will always need to have cash in your business.
  • It is more or less a real world investment situation and it hones your skills. It teaches you how to think and how to find the easiest and most efficient ways to grow and how to make clever investment decisions.
  • You will learn about your negotiation skills and how to negotiate with others from different backgrounds, possessing different real estate.

A certain part of it may actually depend on the luck of the player but once you start focusing on your investments and how to best utilize them, you would be hooked on Monopoly.

While there is an element of complexity in the game, mainly the decision-making process, there is a level of simplicity as well. Any new user can understand the game easily as long as they are of a business mind and possesses common sense.

By the end of one game a player would know what made him lose and the winner win. This realization is important and is not seen in other board games. The players will know where they went wrong and what they could have done to be more successful. This realization which makes them prepare better for future games and even life decisions is invaluable and most useful from a board game like Monopoly.

American Girl Dolls


American Girl Dolls The Game Wiz

The line was first introduced in 1986 by the Pleasant Company and incorporates a variety of ethnicities.

 

American Girl dolls are some of the most coveted baby dolls on the market. Girls from 6 to 13 years old, and even some adults, aspire to collect as many of the dolls, accessories and stories as possible. The dolls are thought by some to have become the new Barbie. However, the American Girl craze does come with a steep price tag, with dolls retailing for well over $100 each.

 

Features

What makes the American Doll so special that it should warrant such a steep price tag? Nothing. No, you read that right. There really isn’t anything special about the American Girl doll except for its brand label. The underlying popularity of the doll is a mystery. The main driving force behind the brand’s sales seems to be the desire by the tween crowd to “be cool”by having the right clothes and of course, the right American Dolls.

Because American Girl is far from a fly-by-night operation, their dolls are fully equipped with a variety of clothes and accessories. From outfits to shoes to horses, beds and more, there is no shortage of ways to accessorize your doll. Parents can spend a small fortune buying tiny clothes for the dolls.

Of course the brand totes the educational stories and historical background of the dolls as the main value of the product. American Girl dolls are available in a variety of ethnicities and are a great way to start a conversation with young children about diversity, respect and other cultures. The books aid in the conversation. The early dolls were all modeled after historical figures, adding another opportunity to learn through play.

American Girl Doll The Game Wiz

 

Resale Value

Anyone that looks at an American Doll for what it is can see that being able to recoup some of the hefty $120 investment (not including accessories!) would be an important factor for parents deciding whether or not to buy the doll. Fortunately, the resale market for American Girl Dolls is strong and parents can often get 50 percent or more of their money back. The resale value of an American Girl doll is much higher than with other toys.

If your daughter isn’t ready to give up her doll just yet, fear not – the box has value too! Sites like eBay let people sell their American Girl doll boxes to parents that have purchased second hand dolls in an effort to make them appear new.

Though the dolls seem to lack anything unique or special, the brand shows no sign of wavering in popularity. American Girl dolls will remain to be the “it”toy for years to come, so indulge your little girl in her favorite doll today and reap the rewards of a high resale value tomorrow. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Raggedy Ann and Andy

The design for Raggedy Ann was patented on September 7, 1915. The doll design was turned into a series of stories in 1918 and in 1920, Raggedy Ann was joined by her male counterpart, Raggedy Andy.

 

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There are few people alive today that can’t recognize the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. Though today’s youth haven’t grown up with the stories the same way that their parents did, they still know the red yard hair and triangle nose as being one of the Raggedy Ann siblings. The dolls are often given as toys and special edition dolls are collected by fans of the red-haired siblings.
The story of Raggedy Ann’s creation is about as glamorous as her dress. The doll was created when the designer drew a simple face on an old hand-made rag doll. The name inspiration for the doll was complete chance as well. The designer pulled a book of poems from his bookshelf and flipped to “The Raggedy Man”followed by “Little Orphan Annie”. He combined the names to come up with Raggedy Ann.

 

The designer’s daughter succumbed to what was believed to be a side effect of the smallpox vaccine shortly after receiving the doll. The Raggedy Ann doll then became a symbol of the original anti-vaccination movement, which is gaining traction once again today.

Even though Raggedy Ann lacks a glamorous past and is associated with one of the most highly controversial movements of modern times, parents and grandparents continue to give Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls to their children and grandchildren to play with. Today’s children see the dolls as nothing more than a toy as the popularity of the books have diminished.
Raggedy Ann and Andy don’t do anything special. They are simply rag dolls. Their lack of flare is part of what makes them appealing to parents and kids. They beg to be used during imaginative play and because they aren’t battery operated, they’re great for bringing in the car or for playing with quietly in the evenings. The twin red heads can attend tea parties, visit the beach, go to grandmas and come back for a movie all without breaking a sweat.

Unfortunately, it is becoming difficult to find the doll in stores as the tainted association of the doll to the anti-vaccination movement grows stronger. Stores are hesitant to sell the dolls as to not align themselves with a cause. Many parents that disagree with the movement have removed the dolls from their homes.

There are few toys as inadvertently controversial as Ragged Ann and Andy. The dolls may look harmless on the outside, but once parents start looking into their history, they soon find there’s more to Raggedy Ann than meets the eye. Despite their lack of bells and whistles, Raggedy Ann and Andy are two of the most interesting and longstanding toys on the market.

Play-Doh

 Play-Doh comes in a rainbow of colors and is inexpensive to buy. Since it was first marketed to kids, Play-Doh has enjoyed immense popularity.

 

Play-Doh has an interesting history. The compound was originally created in the 1930s and was marketed as a wallpaper cleaner. The semi-tacky surface of play dough easily removed dirt, dust and grease from wallpaper without leaving any residue behind. The original recipe used flour, water, salt, boric acid and mineral oil. However, children soon got hold of the cleaning mixture and began using it for imaginative play. Parents liked that it was non-messy, inexpensive and fun for kids. The makers of Play-Doh realized the potential, added color and began selling to children. By the mid-1950s, Play-Doh found its way into the Cincinnati school system and was being used as an educational toy.

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Play-Doh has an interesting market niche. It’s nostalgic, but modern. It’s collectible, yet disposable. For less than a buck you can get a tub of the colorful compound and create anything you can imagine. There are play sets that go with Play-Doh so you can create ice cream or hair or just about anything else you can think of. The people that collect Play-Doh (as strange as they may seem), will pay a lot of money on auction sites like eBay for the original accessory sets or even some of the more modern limited edition sets.

Regardless of how you classify Play-Doh in terms of modern or nostalgic or anything in between, the doughy mixture remains one of the most popular toys in the world. Not only is it a toy that parents buy for their kids, it’s also a toy that schools buy by the ton. Play-Doh can be used to foster imaginative play or to teach lessons about everything from fractions to fine art. Play-Doh is obviously non-electric, but more impressively, so are the play sets that go along with it. For parents that try and force their kids to unplug from time to time, Play-Doh is a top contender in the toy aisle.

 

Of course, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Almost every kid knows the crushing heartbreak of opening a tub of Play-Doh that wasn’t quite sealed right and finding a dry brick of crushed dreams. You see, if Play-Doh isn’t sealed perfectly, it quickly dries out and becomes an unusable (and quite sharp) mass of color. For parents, it’s wise to keep a couple backup tubs of it handy for such an emergency.

 

Because Play-Doh is so cheap to buy and so much fun to play with for kids of all ages, it’s likely that it will continue to be one of the top selling toys of all time. Kids growing up today will likely look back and tell their own kids about how they used to shape the dough into fake hamburgers, loch ness monsters and more. It’s remarkable to think that what was once a wallpaper cleaner has become such an iconic part of childhood.

 

Mall Madness Board Game

Mall Madness is a shopping-themed game that has undergone several releases in its nearly 30 years of existence. The game is designed for teenagers and can be played with 2 to 4 people. The object of the game is to navigate a shopping mall, purchase 6 items and be the first to make it back to the parking lot.

 

Everything I know about shopping at a mall, I learned from Mall Madness. Like a finely-tuned machine of war, the game taught about strategy, prioritizing, budgeting and more in one of the most brutal ways possible. Spend too much money on the first item and you wont have enough to buy the last item, ensuring your demise. Spend too much time heading to a trendy store rather than a nearby utilitarian store and you will fall behind the pack, getting eaten up with the hype of the mall display.

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While some may say Mall Madness teaches bad habits like overconsumption and indebtedness, I say it teaches survival. No 90′s Mall Madness champion can ever walk into a shopping mall as an adult without going into offense-mode. Get in. Find a bargain. Get out. Race to your car and leave as quickly as possible. Those that linger will perish.

Okay, so maybe its not that dramatic, but its pretty close. As an adult, I look back on Mall Madness with a sense of nostalgia. The fun game I used to play with my friends is now a teaching tool that I play with my kids. There are so many learning opportunities built into the game that its easy to see why it was one my parents readily let us have. The game teaches kids to count money, budget, create a prioritized shopping list and stick to it. It doesnt teach indebtedness, it teaches smart spending.

The lessons taught in Mall Madness can be applied to other areas of life too. Every problem can be solved by creating a plan of attack and persevering through it, even if you keep rolling 1s and all you really need is a 6.

 

Of course, like any good game, Mall Madness has gone through several updates. One of the best (or worst, depending on your point of view) parts of the most up-to-date version of the game is the electronic voice of the mall. It announces sales, bargains and other useful information. Smart players can listen to the announcements to get the best deals at stores near them so they can leave the mall faster and get to the finish line first.

 

The key to winning Mall Madness is to have a strong sense of resolve and little to no vanity. Once you have created your plan of attack, the game will entice you to abandon it at every turn. Stay strong, follow your original plan, collect your items and leave to go stand in the winners circle.

 

For anyone that grew up playing Mall Madness, the slow demise of the American Shopping Mall is even more bittersweet. Grab a copy of the game, sit down with your kids and relive a simpler, more adventurous time when shopping malls were the place to be for teenagers.

Mr. Potato Head

Mr. Potato Head is a plastic toy that is shaped to look like a potato. It includes several pre-made holes where plastic eyes, ears, shoes, hats, noses, mouths and arms can be attached. The customizable toy was invented by George Lerner in 1949 and began production by Hasbro in 1952. Over the years, several versions have been released with varying accessories.

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There are few people that have been born in the last 50 years that don’t know what Mr. Potato Head is. The childhood staple has been released dozens of times in standard and limited edition kits. The kits contain eyes, noses, mouths, shoes, hats and more. By mixing and matching pieces, kids can create limitless combinations for imaginative play.
I remember spending countless hours playing with Mr. Potato Head. My parents loved it and they encouraged me to play with it. At the time, I thought they liked seeing the combinations I could come up with. Looking back, I know they just liked because it didn’t light up or make noise.

One of the selling features of Mr. Potato Head was that you could store the parts in the back. There was a trap door in the rump that would open for easy access. Unfortunately, the hinges weren’t of great quality and I can remember the door popping off almost constantly. The idea was that kids could put their own toys away because the trap door was easy to open. That would teach them responsibility. In reality, it was just one more thing mom had to constantly fix for me.

 

Mr. Potato Head came in a variety of styles over the years. There was a regular version with generic accessories, a Toy Story edition and even a Mrs. Potato Head. You could purchase boat trailers, cars and other embellishments to give your potato a luxurious life. Mr. Potato Head even made a cameo in several movies. There was a brief television show called The Mr. Potato Head Show that debuted in 1998, but the pilot season was never picked up. Mr. Potato Head is still a quasi-celebrity and enjoys a balloon in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

 

Mr. Potato Head also enjoys great popularity in preschool classrooms. The toy makes a great first lesson on anatomy. Kids can learn through play by naming the parts as they put them on the toy. The convenient in-doll storage makes Mr. Potato Head hard to pass up for a lot of teachers.

 

Despite the lack of electronics and the length of time that Mr. Potato Head has been on the market, the toy continues to demand top dollar. Sets frequently retail for $20 or more and parents readily pay as a way to connect with their own childhoods and give their kids a little bit of the carefree childhoods they remember.

The Power Rangers

Power Rangers is an American TV/film and merchandise franchise. It is essentially an entertainment franchise based on the live-action TV series, which features heroes and villains in costume.

The series was first produced by Saban Entertainment before later being produced by BVS Entertainment. The first instalment of the series made its debut on August 28, 1993 and was titled: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. This series was essential in launching Fox Kids in the 1990s. Its popularity saw it grow and eventually produce a line of action figures among other toys—by Bandai.

Since the show’s target audience was children, it received a little criticism at first for its violent nature. However, this did not deter it from becoming ever more popular among the kids. It has currently spanned over 22 seasons of 19 series of different themes.

Power Rangers differs from other super hero series as it bases a great deal of its footage from the Japanese series, Super Sentai. The basic story of each series is that a team of youthful boys and girls are recruited by a would-be mentor and then trained to eventually morph into the Power Rangers. The Power Rangers are obviously the main protagonists of these series. Once they morph, they acquire special abilities, which they utilize along with incredible machines and devices (called Zords) as they look to battle their foes. This is essentially the story of the entire franchise.

When they morph, the Power Rangers, now powerful, don their (mostly) brightly coloured super hero gear. This gear is colour-coded, and made of the tightest spandex you will ever see. It also includes helmets which have opaque visors. All gear is identical (each ranger sports his/her own colour), though there are some variations in the design of the helmets.

The Rangers’ abilities in general consist of superhuman strength, superhuman speed and in some cases, invisibility. Each one also possesses his/her own exclusive weapon while there are also other common weapons they utilise when they are in combat.

The vast majority of antagonists (for whatever reason) can grow to enormous size. This forces the Power Rangers to combine each of their individual Zords to battle the assailant with their now-single Megazord (this tends to be when they are at their most powerful and often results in victory).

 

The Power Rangers Legacy Megazord Action Figure

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This is an original “Mighty Morphin’” Dino Megazord. It is made up of five different Zords that combine to form the one Megazord. This action figure takes us back to the vintage years of the Power Rangers. This is the Dino Megazord that played such a big role in launching the morphenomenon (in the fall of 2013).

It has partially die-cast metallic paint. It is a combination of the Legacy Titanus and the Legacy Dragonzord. The 20th anniversary packaging includes a battle gear addition. They say it is not meant for anyone under the age of 15. It goes for $144.44.

Lightning McQueen Power Wheels: Great Car Toy for Kids

The Lightning McQueen Power Wheels is a small car specifically designed for kids and modeled from the famous character Lightning McQueen that makes a great gift for children 2½ years old and up. These Power Wheels run at speeds slow enough to pacify worried parents yet fast enough to elicit delighted squeals from children. The rides have buttons on the steering wheel that play popular phrases from the movie when pressed. Another button will emit race car sounds that will make your child feel as if he is really speeding on the tracks.

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Great Features

The design is made easy to comprehend. Most children learn the car’s ropes after 30 minutes of fiddling on the wheel. Parents can lock the speed and control the pace of their kid’s driving. The Fisher-Price version can go as fast as 5 miles per hour when the speed lock is disengaged. However if you are uncomfortable with this speed set it at 2 to 2.5 miles an hour. The locks are child-proof so you don’t have to worry about them racing off without your permission.

You can also upgrade the car’s battery from 6v to 12v to 24v. This also affects the speed of the car. The car can go faster as the battery voltage goes higher. You can make these adjustments as your child gets older and as they learn to maneuver more skillfully. It’s advisable to go with more expensive brands if you want the car to last and to grow with your kids.

If you think your child is ready for a 24v battery make sure to add some fans to avoid the car from overheating. You can make it a gift from the entire family if you think the price is too steep. This is certainly a ride on toy worth having even if your child isn’t a big Lightning McQueen fan.

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