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Toy and Game Designers


Toys and games date back to early times. Dice is among the oldest games and ancient cultures played a variety of games with dice. Games such as hopscotch and chess are also old; games were used as entertainment, exercise, and to also teach children specific skills.

The first toy and game designers were parents and craftworkers. They made dolls and wooden soldiers from materials that were easy to access at the time, such as clay, wood, and straw. In the 1600s, games were created as part of school instruction. For instance, the precursor to jigsaw puzzles were geographical games made from wood, with countries cut into separate pieces that students had to put together correctly.

The toy manufacturing industry grew in the 1800s, with Germany at the forefront for toy-making, especially known for its wooden and papier-mâché dolls. France became known for its luxury porcelain dolls. England started mass-producing dolls also in the mid-1800s, including Raggedy Ann and Kewpie dolls. By the 1900s, board games for adults and children had grown in popularity. These included Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry!, Candyland, among many others. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Barbie, Ken, and G.I. Joe dolls became popular around the world.

Toys and games eventually became more mechanized. Dolls could talk, walk, and move their heads either through battery power or remote controls. Electronic board games enabled people to play without needing a partner.

Computers first appeared in the 1970s, and companies started developing computer games such as Atari's Pong, which was based on an arcade game with the same name. Others that became popular included Space Invaders, Road Race, and Pac-Man, to name only a few. Computer and video games have evolved over the decades to be a major, growing segment of the game and toy industry with high-powered gaming consoles such as Xbox One, Playstation, Wii, and others. But simple and easy-to-use toys, such as balls, hoops, dolls, and yo-yos, continue to be popular.