EDITOR'S COMMENT: The power of nostalgia

This week, the results of the Inventors Workshop survey conjures up some cherished memories of the toys Robert Hutchins played with as a child.
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It will probably come as no surprise to you that I have never managed to complete a Rubik’s Cube.

I have watched others around me solve them time and again, move on to new tasks and accomplish great things, so I do recognise the elation that getting all those coloured squares lined up delivers.

I have just never managed to achieve such enlightenment myself.

I have also never managed to partake in a round of Scalextric without putting the pedal to the metal, firing the racing car from the track and slamming it into my Nan’s newly mended shin.

What’s more, when it comes to Subbuteo, I can’t remember scoring a single goal against my Dad, who always seemed to employ the offside rule just as I had Klinsmann lined up for a blinder.

And when it comes to Scrabble, I have always been left baffled as to why the game ends with the threat of a ‘clip ‘round the earhole’ from a parent after attempting to play the taboo F-word.

What’s more, the only memory I have of playing with a Barbie when I was a child is cutting her hair off with the help of my chuckling sister. It turns out we were a sadistic pair of youngsters.

But when it came to LEGO, I enjoyed a great deal more success, and to this day pride myself on being able to occupy hours of my day constructing a habitat for my ever-growing collection of Minifigures.

But why am I telling you all this? I think essentially, it’s because despite my inability to employ the phrase I heard so often as a child and ‘play properly’ with these iconic toys, they have cemented themselves in some of my fondest childhood memories.

It was no surprise in that case to see them all feature in this week’s big reveal, the Inventors Workshop survey.

In a questionnaire that asked 2,000 toy inventors and toy industry experts to vote for what they believed to be the greatest toy of all time, it was the little plastic brick from Denmark that emerged on top.

And considering it was up against tough competition from established brand names, blockbusting products and some of the biggest technological advancements in the toy industry of the last 58 years, that’s no mean feat.

But more than championing the products themselves - many of which hark back as far as the 70s and 80s - this survey also highlights the power of nostalgia and how the efforts of the toy inventor can impact on the lives, stories and memories of those who played with their creations as a child.

Personally, I will always cherish the memory of watching my sister's Sylvanian Families Otter Family sink to the bottom of our garden pond in a boat made of paper.


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