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Главная  Каталог  История игрушек   Выпуск 44  100 лучших игрушек 20 века. Места с 30 по 21
30
Hangman
Why play for free what you can pay a tenner for?
"Kids these days are sharp," people have always said. "You can't fool 'em. They know all the angles. Smarter than most adults, in fact." This didn't apply, necessarily, to the kids who were quizzed by the marketing department of Milton Bradley on the day Hangman was conceived. What point, we asked ourselves, is there of paying for a plastic version of a game you can easily do with two pencils and a bit of paper? Perhaps it was just us, because they sold in many and varied forms - Squares, Computer Battleship (which to be fair at least did the noises for you), any number of noughts and crosses variants, and Hangman. Advertised, weirdly, by a pair of senile bank tellers in the Old West, who thwarted a bank robber's activities by becoming engrossed in its singular charms, Hangman consisted of two Battleship-style hidey-behindey units, behind which you had a range of plastic tiles with letters on, which you could either convert into an impromptu mini-variation on Domino Rally by lining up and knocking over or, more boringly, slot into the spaces in the word as you guessed them. The progress of the hangee was advanced by successive pre-drawn pictures on a dial, thus foiling the other pleasure of pre-pubescent wits - the endowment of the luckless individual with large primary sexual characteristics. It didn't even make a choking noise when you won. We'll take imagination over plastic any day.
29
Chutes Away
Discreetly-named air war leviathan
"Chutes" be damned. This was, to all intents and purposes, Carpet Bombing For Fun, as evinced by the explosion noises made by playing kids as they dropped the "chutes" on the revolving target, curiously painted up to look like some presumably inconspicuous fictional landmass, although it did resemble a sort of pre-continental drift Africa, now we come to think of it. Anyway, the stout bomber - sorry - troop carrier was mounted on a robust gantry, and controlled by one of those initially exciting looking dial-heavy flight control consoles which on closer inspection turns out to have just two actual controls (three including the off switch), the rest being useless stickers. Ah well. As the ground span relentlessly beneath, you would position your plane fore and aft, look through the crosshairs, wait for a target to come into view, and then bo - er, chutes away! All good clean Dresden fun, brought to you by the good people of Gabriel. Gabriel?!
28
Magic Rocks
Grow-your-own underwater crystal “garden”
One of those things an overtime-weary lab researcher possibly stumbled across by accident in some multi-national petro-chemical conglomerate, we reckon (see also Silly Putty and Slime). The basic premise rested on the implicit (and flawed) expectation that any child would be interested in watching small multicoloured stalagmites form as if by “magic” over a period of hours or, indeed, days inside a large liquid-filled glass bowl (or, more realistically in the Cream era child’s household, a Nescafe jar). As if that in itself were somehow edifying or educational. At best, there was something intriguing in the packaging, which required that the “rocks” be kept separate from the powdered “solution” with which they would react once submerged (sodium silicate, if you’re interested, science fans; it stains clothes like a bastard), and which hinted at potentially explosive results should they ever come into contact whilst dry. At worst, there was the implicit (and thwarted) expectation that the crystals would somehow form a sprawling yet microscopic metropolis in the fashion of Superman’s ice-structure city hideaway from the Alexander Salkind films. But for Sea Monkeys, you see? Later versions tried to spice up the landscape with additional plastic models, including Orca Killer Whale and the Titanic. No, really.
27
Shaker Maker
Oasis-inspiring make-it-and-paint-it set
Cast very much from the mould of the parentally-approved toy, even your basic Shaker Maker knocked plaster-of-paris modelling into a cocked hat due to a) its novelty shaking method of construction, and b) its chemically imbalanced colour scheme. A Shaker Maker kit consisted of a bag of ‘magic mix’ (all too easily confused with mum’s spare Bird’s Trifle sachets, with often unpleasant results) to stir up in water, pour into a bright orange plastic mould, drop into a lemon ‘n’ lime Tic-Tac coloured cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until your arms ached so much you burst into tears. And the fun didn’t end there - the whole apparatus had to be left to set and then you could start painting! Opening the mould revealed a blancmange-like model with all the wet slickness of cold sick and a not dissimilar smell. The Cream era Shaker Makers covered the usual suspects, from farmyard animals through to horror characters and those perennial favourites, the cartoon tie-ins. However, the excitement generated when you first removed a big, fat, wet Fred Flintstone from the mould was only matched by the disappointment when you returned later, only to find that the statuette had shrunk to a third of its original size and turned from a dazzling pink to an anaemic white. If you weren’t completely jaded by the whole experience you could attempt to paint the models so that they matched the stunning but impossible-to-achieve photographs on the box. Tears of frustration were inevitable as Paddington Bear refused to look like Paddington Bear no matter how many of the tiny plastic pots were mixed, preferring to sit there in unremarkable imitation of a shrunken, crumbly knoll. Posh kids could acquire the highly prized deluxe Shaker Maker kits that came with a marvellous tombola-like device for shaking the maker without getting tendonitis but, despite this glorious amount of extra plastic, the end results were just as pitifully stunted.
26
Johnny Seven
Multi-purpose rifle with unexplained TV21-sounding name
Some of the toys that didn't make it onto our list were ruled out on the basis that, like designer sunglasses, their excessive cost always seemed inversely proportional to their possible uses. A toy would always score highly on a kid's appreciation index if it was adaptable enough to be played with in different ways and in different circumstances (we're thinking about the True Lies-inspiring double life of military-combat-versus-domestic-bliss which characterised the relationship of Action Man and Barbie, depending on whose turn it was to play with them) or, in the case of Johnny Seven and the many lower budget copies that followed in its wake, simply had enough adjustable component parts to keep you interested. Much desired in the late Sixties and early Seventies, this multi-part-assembly rifle-cum-rocket-launcher wasn't exactly armed forces-issue accurate but, by ignoring the realities of ballistic hardware, the Seven could pack in more widgets, attachments and add-ons, thus making it equally serviceable in a variety - viz "Seven" - of imaginary conflict scenarios and ensuring its lasting popularity. The fact that it could actually fire real (plastic) rounds of bullets didn't hurt much either (unless you were on the receiving end of a particularly close-range shot). Even unloaded, its pull-back ratchet trigger could simulate the sound of rapid fire with pleasing simplicity. For lying-belly-down-in-the-long-grass fans there was one of those bipods to rest the barrel on, plus it also came with a big enough assortment of cartridges and magazines to turn John Rambo polysyllabic with jealousy. In short, a must have. In the ever-escalating arms race of playing fields and army games, bringing out the Johnny Seven had the hostile impact of an ICBM; talk about shock and awe!
25
Tin Can Alley
Electronic hillbilly outfit
Ideal's Tin Can Alley reeked of the trans-Atlantically exotic. Everything about it was 100% American and alien to these shores. Rifles were still largely the preserve of farmers and the SAS, and rugged, homesteading types like the game's TV patron, Chuck Connors, were similarly absent from your average Kettering cul-de-sac. As, indeed, were the "targets" in the game - empty cans of that nefarious industrial sealant that got lucky, Dr Pepper, a brew so intrinsically bound to the States that even one of the mightiest multinationals in the world still hasn't persuaded anyone else to drink the stuff. The game itself is a simple affair. A sawn-off plastic gun containing about ninety batteries fired a beam of red light at light-sensitive pads in holes on a plastic representation of the top of a rickety fence, which then flipped up little platforms upon which were balanced said tin cans. Of course, the advertising wisely omitted the mundane mechanical explanation, so impressionable kids did, for a brief while, really believe that a toy company was selling a high tech James bond-style laser weapon as a children's toy - a misconception that Ideal would not be the last company to exploit. A Colt 45-style handgun edition was also launched, though purists prefer the original "Rifleman" version. The inevitable copies abounded, such as Marksman, which featured an owl-shaped target that made a noise and lit up when you hit it - not the same, really. And the awkward side-effect of training a generation of would-be soldiers to always aim three inches below the target might explain why Western coalitions take so long to finish wars these days.
24
Computer Battleship
Battery-operated “find the square” military tactics game
Milton Bradley (which we're still not sure wasn't the name of that alien bloke in Fast Forward) had tried before with a plastic push-peg version of the pen and paper grid-based classic but it was with the addition of flashing LEDs and whistle-boom! sound effects that they hit upon the deluxe, truly sought-after edition. For some reason as rare as hen’s teeth in your actual Christmas stocking (was it overpriced, we can’t remember?), it was memorably marketed (although we rather suspect that whoever it was that came up with the “You’ve sunk my battleship!” dialogue for those Oxbridgean Navy-ponce themed telly ads wasn’t exactly bordering on genius), seemingly during every commercial break of our childhood. The set up? A plastic grid - a Siamese variation on the original analogue cases with flip-top lids - split vertically and separated into two playing areas (grid-squared maps of an un-named ocean manufactured in the regulation “James Bond film” transparent plastic) plus assorted miniature gunships, boats, aircraft carriers, etc. Batteries, natch, were not included and, at any rate, would have only lasted until Boxing Day. MB later re-christened the game Electronic Battleship and, later still, it was joined by the less-successful refurbished version, Talking Battleship. Its enduring playability did not go unnoticed by BBC bosses, however, who adapted the game for the Stilgoe-fronted children’s programme, Finders Keepers.
23
Speak And Spell
Hawking-voiced alphabet tutor
Calculators became something of a school obsession in our early teens, although even the most maths-obsessed pubescent would've found it hard to justify a requirement for logarithmic polynomial functions to parents already sceptical that the damn things could be taken into the classroom. We were probably the first generation for whom electronic aids were encouraged and, in some cases, compulsory, as long as the battery compartments of same weren't used to conceal various useful formulae in maths exams. (If you attended Grange Hill, of course, you were required to raise the bar on even this illicit behaviour by attempting to smuggle class A drugs into your mock 'O' levels.) However, we doubt even the most liberal of junior school teachers would've been happy to allow Texas Instruments' Speak And Spell into English lessons. Replete with an array of bleeps, parps, toots and tics that would put G-Force's Keyop to shame, this most vocal of educational toys came fully equipped to instruct and comment in a gentlemanly American way on the user's ability to spell. Fashioned in Fisher-Price-friendly yellow plastic, with no sharp edges (you get an idea of the target-age range) and a built in carry handle, the Speak And Spell displayed design cues that could inform some of today's "ergonomic" laptops. Certain versions sported a ZX81-style touchpad keyboards, others the clicky button type, but all shared the primitive speech cell of a Star Wars droid with Tourettes (similarly duff speech synthesis was later also popularised by the Currah Microspeech for the Sinclair Spectrum and Mathew Broderick's nemesis, WOPR, in War Games). However, this fella makes it onto the list because the most fun could be had by making him "laugh" by repeatedly pressing the "e" key (or the "o" key if it was Christmas) and even though the educational value of spelling what sounded like "smershwells" or "sinflaps" was suspect to say the least, some of the words did seem a bit rude. Joining the TI range shortly after, Stalin look-alike the Little Professor tried to pull off a similar trick by making numbers seem sexy or fun but, as noted, by this time we'd tired of LED-based arithmetic and moved on to the charms of the slimline calculator in its plastic wallet and a solar-powered liquid crystal display.
22
Dr Who TARDIS
Long-running children’s TV series spin-offs
Although the 1960s had seen impressionable young viewers bombarded with all manner of Dalek merchandise, it was not until 1977 that a toy manufacturer realised that there was mileage in producing an entire range of action figures based on children's programme, Doctor Who. At this time, The Doctor was of course at the height of his full-on bohemian eccentric incarnation, and the corresponding Tom Baker figure came complete with the expected wide-brimmed floppy hat, burgundy coat, knee-length boots and non-functioning Sonic Screwdriver. However, despite being in possession of all the right accoutrements, The Doctor did not exactly bear an overwhelmingly strong resemblance to Tom Baker and in fact looked far more similar to avenging coffee-shaker Gareth Hunt. Nonetheless, the figure was a cut above most cash-in plastic renditions, particularly useful for either shoving in the fridge for the purposes of conducting an "ice world" adventure, or for the judicious addition, in 1981, of question marks to his shirt collar with the aid of a red felt tip. Others in the range included Leela (complete with a knife, wild hair and suspiciously prominent frontage), K9 (with that all-important pull-back motor action), a Dalek, Cyberman and, somewhat perplexingly, The Giant Robot. The only real playset was the inevitable TARDIS, which came with an imaginative special feature - when The Doctor was placed inside its doors, pressing a button on the top would cause the "time space column" (i.e. a plastic cylinder covered in a sticker bearing artwork that vaguely recalled the Baker-era title sequence) to rotate, and The Doctor to "dematerialise" into the other side. Pressing an adjacent button would cause him to return, although more astute owners realised the value in using this to fashion a story in which The Doctor entered the TARDIS and a Cyberman came out (or maybe this was just something we saw on Crackerjack). Also available around this time were a talking Dalek and K9 from Palitoy, who incessantly repeated their catchphrases with the aid of one of those plastic records also found inside vintage talking dolls and the average "bag-o-laffs".
21
Escape from Colditz
Teutonic incarceration fun for two or more players
We have no anecdotes about the Second World War - we never lived through it. When we at TV Cream are old, the most exciting stories we'll be able to tell our grandchildren will be about when there were different ITV regions. The single most traumatic experience our generation has shared is News At Ten being moved around the schedules. Similarly, much of what we know about the Battle Of Britain we've learned from the telly. We know that Kenneth More lost his legs by crashing a plane whilst trying to impress a girl. We know that Richard Todd blew up the Ruhr dam with bouncing bombs and once had a dog called Nigger (until his name was cut out of the film by PC censors). And we know that John Mills escaped from Colditz during a Hot Mum style amateur dramatics revue by climbing down a rope made of blankets. It's ironic therefore that, in an effort to recapture one of our own shared childhood experiences, this is the game we actually sourced and purchased (from eBay, natch) as part of our research for this Top 100. Thankfully, no familiarity with Nazi-distracting Ents Corp stage business is required but that's just as well as it's otherwise a hellishly complicated game. Essentially a move-counters-along-the-squares-and-collect-objects-and-cards board game (in the same vein as Ghost Castle, Monopoly and many others), the difference here is that one team must play the part of the baddies (Colditz guards) and can block off your escape routes, "discover" tunnels and, by landing on your counters, banish them to solitary confinement. As a goodie (in charge of a team of POWs), your sworn duty is to escape (and, if we recall correctly, cause as much bally trouble for the Bosch as you can in the process). There's no option to just keep your nose clean, do your bird and sit out the war in relative comfort. Seemingly the odds are in favour of the three teams of escapees but, although there are few guards, there are even fewer legitimate ways to evade them. Frankly, we think it was foolish of the Krauts to allow us free run of their so-called top security prison in the first place but we imagine, like so many German waiters, zey ver only taking orders.


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Авторские мастер-классыАвторские мастер-классы
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И смех, и грехИ смех, и грех
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От теории к практикеОт теории к практике
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Фам. Автор Анастасия Резникова

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