The Top Toys When Gen-Xers Were Kids

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Every year, a new crop of cutting edge children’s toys hits the market. Of course, what seems technologically advanced changes every year. While 2022 saw mini foam drones, Star Wars Lola robots, and toddler gaming chairs, earlier decades saw a game originally deemed to racy to sell, action figures that could stretch over a yard long, and baby dolls that could eat and dirty their diapers. (These were the biggest fads of the last 100 years.)

To compile a list of 15 of the most popular toys when Gen-Xers – those born between 1965 and 1980 – were kids, 24/7 Tempo consulted the archives of companies such as Hasbro; data curated by The Strong National Museum of Play; encyclopedia sources such as Britannica; and media outlets including Reader’s Digest, The New York Times, Time, Good Housekeeping, and Smithsonian. 24/7 Tempo exercised editorial discretion in making the final selection where appropriate.  

Generation X saw the first home gaming consoles, including Atari’s seminal Pong. They were also the first to play with many electronic toys and board games that are still popular today, including Simon and Operation. Other best-selling non-electronic toys from the late ‘60s and ‘70s include Twister, Battleship, and Hot Wheels cars.

Some of these games and toys were released by Milton Bradley, which was acquired by Hasbro in 1984, and are now sold under the Hasbro label. Others were distributed by big names like Louis Marx, Mattel, and Parker Brothers. While many are still available today, a few are no longer in production, and have become valuable collectors’ items. Here are 25 discontinued classic toys you can probably still find.

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