Were the best toys ever from the early 80s? I think so, but every kid at any age probably thinks theirs were cool. But for those of us who actually played Atari when it first came out.....come on.

ATARI - Many an hour was spent after school playing Atari. (Full disclosure: my folks even gave me an Intellivision System before the Atari but nobody else had one so it instantly wasn't cool to play at my house.)

I ended up having to play with the boys mostly, as I only had one girl friend who thought that video games were cool. Never understood that. Added bonus: Atari console had a switch that you could change from "Color" to "Black & White"....not everybody had a color TV yet.


MAD LIBS - Kinda sorta educational but really easy to make into filthy mini-stories too. The were a necessity for road trips for swim meets and soccer tournaments.

A half created story was fresh on every page and you "played" with a friend asking for verbs, adjectives, nouns and everybody's favorite: adverbs. Not sure I use them properly to this day.

Although they had their heyday in the 80s, Mad Libs were created in the 50s and you can still get them today apparently. See, cool games never go out of style. Unless you're Atari.

According to Wikipedia : "One player asks the other players, in turn, to contribute some word for the specified type for each blank, but without revealing the context for that word. Finally, the completed story is read aloud." Simple enough for anyone who can read.

Speak & Spell - Texas Instruments ROCKED it with this one. Man, I loved my speak and spell. If I remember correctly there was a headphone jack because I DON'T remember my mother going insane while I was playing it incessantly. Good, wholesome, educational fun....and everybody had one. Wasn't there a different version for math too?

FASHION PLATES - This was simply a MUST HAVE for all young girls. It was your first venture into "wanting to become a designer"....and you WERE a designer. Many an additional sets of colored pencils needed to be purchased during the lifetime of my Fashion Plates.  What I wouldn't give to have one today to decorate the walls of my office....


SHRINKY DINKS - I actually was on a search for these this past Fall for a special Spruce Moose Festival project. Way more difficult to find than I thought. Finally found a knock-off brand at Michael's crafts that did the trick. HOWEVER, it appears that you can still order them online. In bulk, even.