Future Classics: 9 Toys Your Kids Will Wish They Had Kept in 20 Years

by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck

When we launched this site two years ago it was built on two things: humor and nostalgia. While we failed extraordinarily at the former, focus on the latter was what fostered our relationships with so many of you via the podcast and the various social networks.

As much as we treasure memories of our beloved 80s toys and cartoons, don’t you wish you’d thought ahead a little? I realize some of you are lucky enough to have your entire childhood intact in a basement, attic, or currently on display somewhere, but for those that do not- don’t you wish you knew back then what you know now?

Here’s your chance- not to save your own childhood, but to avoid making the same mistake so many of our parents made: getting rid of those precious toys and the memories attached. Here are the 9 current toys that your kids will wish they’d kept 20 years from now:

 

Ben 10

As student of the toy game Will West put it: “Ben 10 has turned into quite the formidable franchise. Very few modern concepts begin to rival it, and we’ve already got 3 series and corresponding toy lines. The only smash success of the past 10 years.”

image: Ben10Toys.net

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Today’s 30 year-olds who collected the 90s version of TMNT are going bonkers trying to re-collect items from the original Playmates line. The current TMNT figures are superior in construction and design to their predecessors, and if the Nickelodeon cartoon the toys are based on stays strong for 1-2 more years these guys will be hot in 2 decades.

 

LEGO

Primarily the minifigures. Most of us had LEGOs as kids, but not many of us are waxing nostalgic about our long-lost bricks. The big change over the last decade+ has been the emergence of the LEGO Minifigure as the identifying staple of an entire LEGO set. In 20 years, your kid won’t miss his bricks anymore than we miss ours, but you can bet he’ll miss his Spider-Man, Darth Vader and Toy Story LEGO Minifigures.

Deadpool cosplaying as Darth Vader at LEGO-Con 2013

 

Imaginext

How cool were Fisher-Price Adventure People? Slightly smaller than the standard 3 3/4″ figures that we were used to, these guys made for hours of fun. FP has a current hit on their hands with the Imaginext line, and unless you have kids born since 2007, you probably don’t appreciate their range. Besides Castle, Dinosaur, Pirate and Samurai lines, Imaginext has licenses for DC superheroes, PIXAR characters, and Spongebob Squarepants. Yes, this means Batman and Buzz Lightyear can battle dragons and raptors together, and do frequently in our house.

 

Power Rangers

Power Rangers don’t get nearly the amount of credit they deserve. Nostalgically, they reside in that post-80s No Mans’ Land that TMNT and Transformers: Beast Wars fans have laid claim to. Thing is, the Power Rangers don’t need to exist in a nostalgic realm, because they are a currently relevant and lucrative property. My 4 year-old wants nothing to do with any version of the Ninja Turtles besides the current one, but pop in a Power Rangers ep from 1993 and he is LOCKED in.

image: Megazord.net

 

Skylanders

image: IGN

 

WWE figures

Whereas TMNT came full circle with a reboot, kids these days collect WWE figures because they never left. Impressive, really, when you think about it- what other property can lay claim to 30 consecutive years of market presence? Even Star Wars left the game for a while.

image: Kootation

Our generation’s WWF figures were made by LJN and were 100% less articulated, but my guess is in 20 years your grown-up kids will be calling their CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler figures “classics”.

 

Battle Force 5

Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 is one of those lines that doesn’t fly off shelves like others, but could be wildly popular in 20 years, a la The Silverhawks or Inhumanoids toy lines of the 80s.

image: Parry Game Preserve

 

Your iPad

In 2013, your kids are just as happy (probably more) to play with your (or their own) mobile device than their toys (one more parenthesis for the hell of it). There are some electronic devices that we remember fondly, but none with the firepower of today’s tablets and phones.

image: Joystiq

It’s possible that the current generation of toy “collectors” will lack the future nostalgic passion we harbor for the items of our youth, but that’s not entirely their fault. We just happen to have been lucky enough to come of age in the best decade in history to grow up in.

 

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