Magic 8 Ball, Uno, pin­ball picked for stay­ing power

Tri-City Herald (Sunday) - - Depth - BY CAROLYN THOMP­SON

Magic 8 Ball and Uno fans can count on in­fin­itely more fun, along with pin­ball play­ers whose quar­ters have pow­ered the ar­cade clas­sic through the rise of gam­ing apps. The three make up the Na­tional Toy Hall of Fame’s class of 2018, rec­og­nized Thurs­day for their stay­ing power and in­flu­ence.

The hon­orees were cho­sen from a field of 12 fi­nal­ists that also in­cluded Amer­i­can Girl Dolls, chalk, Chutes and Lad­ders, the Fisher-Price Corn Popper, Masters of the Uni­verse, sled, tic-tac-toe, Tickle Me Elmo and Tu­dor Elec­tric Foot­ball.

The lat­est in­ductees will be on per­ma­nent dis­play at the Hall of Fame, lo­cated in The Strong mu­seum in Rochester, along­side 65 pre­vi­ous hon­orees that in­clude play­things rang­ing from the stick and card­board box to Bar­bie and Li­onel Trains.

The Magic 8 Ball was a fi­nal­ist seven times be­fore the judges fi­nally de­cided “signs point to yes” for the honor. The liq­uid-filled orb that tells such for­tunes by way of a float­ing 20sided die was in­tro­duced in 1946 and ranks in sur­veys among the most pop­u­lar toys of the 20th cen­tury, the Hall of Fame said.

“Mil­lions of peo­ple have pur­chased a Magic 8 Ball in the last seven decades, and its wide ap­peal and quirky na­ture have helped it main­tain pop­u­lar­ity,” cu­ra­tor Michelle Par­net­tDwyer said.

The card game Uno was in­vented by bar­ber Merle Rob­bins nearly 50 years ago and proved to be sim­ple enough for chil­dren and var­ied enough for adults. Mat­tel now owns it and has re­leased nu­mer­ous edi­tions, in­clud­ing Elvis and “Star Trek.”

Coin-op­er­ated pin­ball ma­chines have been around for decades, but the game is in the midst of a re­vival. The In­ter­na­tional Flip­per Pin­ball As­so­ci­a­tion says there were 500 play­ers in 50 com­pe­ti­tions world­wide in 2006. In 2017, more than 55,000 play­ers com­peted in 4,500 com­pe­ti­tions.

“Pin­ball has been en­joy­ing a re­newed in­ter­est as a new gen­er­a­tion of dig­i­tal na­tives dis­cov­ers the fast­paced kinetic game play that’s easy to learn but tough to mas­ter,” chief cu­ra­tor Christo­pher Ben­sch said.

VIC­TO­RIA GRAY The Strong Mu­seum

The Na­tional Toy Hall of Fame class of 2018 was hon­ored Thurs­day. The in­ductees in­cludes, from left, the Magic 8 Ball, pin­ball and the card game Uno.

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