Meet Your 2016 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductees: Dungeons & Dragons, Fisher-Price Little People, And The Swing

If you’re a Dungeons & Dragons fan who was miffed that now everyone knows what a demogorgon is just because of Stranger Things, cheer up: your beloved role-playing game has earned itself a spot in the National Toy Hall of Fame, along with fellow inductees Fisher-Price Little People and that classic playground favorite, the swing.

The Strong Museum’s National Toy Hall of Fame announced the three inductees today, noting that they beat out fellow finalists bubble wrap, Care Bears, Clue, coloring book, Nerf, pinball, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Transformers, and Uno.

Better luck next year, guys. On to the winners! The final inductees were chosen on the advice of a national selection advisory committee, which considered criteria like the toy’s icon status, its staying power over multiple generations, whether it fosters learning or creativity through play, and innovation.

Dungeons & Dragons: Forty-two years after two war game players added role-playing to the strategy games they liked playing to create D&D, the game that lets players assume the rules of fantastical characters inhabiting a magical world narrated by a Dungeon Master has earned itself a spot in the Hall.

“More than any other game, Dungeons & Dragons paved the way for older children and adults to experience imaginative play,” says Curator Nic Ricketts. “It was groundbreaking. And it opened the door for other kinds of table games that borrow many of its unique mechanics. But most importantly, Dungeons & Dragons’ mechanics lent themselves to computer applications, and it had a direct impact on hugely successful electronic games like World of Warcraft.”

Fisher-Price Little People: Fisher-Price first offered its round, colorful little folks in a 1959 Safety School Bus pull toy. More play sets followed, giving the figures farms to work on, gas stations to pump gas, and zoos to visit. The first Little People were wood and lithographed paper, followed by solid, single-colored wooden bodies and then, eventually, hard plastic.

“Little People have been a fixture—albeit a small one—in many American playrooms for more than 50 years,” Chris Bensch, The Strong’s vice president for collections, says. “More than two billion Little People have been sold since 1959, and they have helped generations of small children imagine big adventures in play sets representing farms, schools, airports, and other fascinating places in their worlds.”

Swings: The Hall notes that even the art of our ancient ancestors showed people enjoying swings. In the 1700s, swings were seen as an amusement of the French nobility. The Industrial Revolution brought swings made by ropes and metal chains to the masses, and the playground movement of the early 1900s found swings popping up in public spaces for kids.

“Though the equipment has evolved with the centuries, the pleasure children and adults find in swinging has hardly changed at all,” says Curator Patricia Hogan. “Swinging requires physical exertion, muscle coordination, and a rudimentary instinct for, if not understanding of, kinetic energy, inertia, and gravity. It’s the perfect vehicle for outdoor play.”

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