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Old School Toys For The Depression

posted by Chris Valentine

Source: Time Magazine

With parents facing a deteriorating economy, tried-and-true toys are being embraced by parents and toy makers alike. “‘Retro’ or ‘nostalgia’ toys can be viewed as the ‘comfort food’ of the toy industry and I do think folks naturally gravitate to what made them happy when they were young, or what is familiar to them,” said Anita Frazier, a toy analyst at NPD Group, a market research firm.

<em>Tinker Toys</em>

Tinker Toys

Ken Moe, general manager of Backtobasics.com, a Web site owned by Scholastic Corp. that offers classic toys like “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots,” Slinky and Colorforms, said sales so far this season indicate a rising interest in old favorites. Though most sales will occur over the next few weeks, Moe said Junior TinkerToys, Lincoln Logs and toy instruments have been among the big sellers in the past few months. “It’s instinctive in tough times to reach back to a happier, simpler time,” he said. “Parents remember how much they loved those toys, and want that same happiness for their children.”

<em>Smurf Colorforms</em>

Smurf Colorforms

Lauren Horsley, who has 5- and 1-year old boys and a 3-year-old girl, plans to buy TinkerToys, a Cabbage Patch Kid doll and classic board games Sorry! and Hungry Hungry Hippos this holiday season. “We just bought our first house this fall, and with the economy so unstable we need to be as conservative as possible to ensure that we pay our bills,” she said. “A lot of pricey, faddish toys aren’t going to do our children much good if we don’t keep a roof over their heads.”

<em>Slinky</em>

Slinky

Hasbro has found success revitalizing names such as the 40-year-old Nerf brand and Transformers, which first hit the U.S. in the early ’80s and are selling well again after last year’s “Transformers” movie. The company also debuted revamped versions of classic board games like Clue, Operation and Monopoly this year.

<em>Rock Em Sock Em Robots</em>

Rock Em Sock Em Robots

Jakks Pacific Inc. has brought back several classic brands this year, including a 25th-anniversary Cabbage Patch Kid doll that is the replica of the original version and a new Smurfs plush toy and DVD.

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