Happy Father’s Day! Cary’s Toy Stories

I know that most gamers’ minds are filled with news and anticipations about E3 right now. But it’s more important not to forget what special day happens right after E3. That’s right, Father’s Day! Last year around Father’s Day, I listed video games my dad likes on my blog. So, this year I decided to take a different approach to my Father’s Day blog. This weekend, I’m going to take my dad and the rest of his family to see Toy Story 3 (since I have five little brothers on my dad’s side, that’ll be an expensive outing, but it’s worth it to do something fun with them). I’m really excited about seeing the movie with my family, so in honor of that, this blog is all about my top five favorite toys from my childhood. And each one is associated with my dad somehow.

5. Star Wars

Back in the early 80’s, Star Wars was HUGE! Even bigger than it is now. You folks who were not born yet have no idea. We had Ewok Saturday Morning cartoons and even a breakfast cereal called C-3POs (really). I had a lot of Star Wars toys back then, even a few big playsets like the Millennium Falcon, the AT-AT Walker (that big four legged thing that got tripped up in the snow) and the Ewok Village. I don’t have those toys anymore; I think we got rid of them in a garage sale a long time ago. But you know what? I really don’t feel too bad about that. You can’t save EVERYTHING!

I’m trying to associate each of my favorite toys to my dad somehow, but Star Wars is stretching it a bit. He didn’t really ‘play’ the toys with me, but we did enjoy watching the movies together when I was little. I think my favorite Star Wars toy I had was the floating speed cycle that they rode in the forest of the third (last) movie with the Ewoks. It would break apart with a push of a button, or if it hit something really hard. So I would spin around and around and throw the cycle against the wall so it would break apart, just how it did in the movie when they would run into a tree. Then I would get my mom or dad to help me put it back together and the process started all over again. Pretty soon there was a new rule in the house: no throwing toys against the wall!

4. Transformers

There were lots of cool action toys in the 80’s, but I didn’t get into a lot of them. Never was into G.I. Joe or He-Man (though my mom thought She-Ra was cool after a neighbor kid mistakenly said her name “Sheilah” wrong). I loved the Ghostbusters movie and cartoon, but didn’t really get into the toys. And while I loved the arcade game and cartoon, I was a bit too old for action figures by the time Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out.

But there was one 80’s toy I really got into, and that was Transformers. I had a ton of the toys and watched the cartoon all the time (it was one big 30 minute commercial for the toys, really). And it was my dad who inadvertently got me into them. When Transformers first came out, I didn’t have any of the toys so I wasn’t really interested. But one day after coming home from a business trip, my dad brought home a Transformer toy for me. It was a red van that turned into Ironhide, which ended up being my favorite Transformer. Soon after that, I used my own money to buy a little green UFO Transformer, and started watching the cartoon, and the rest is history. I was into Transformers right up until the first animated movie came out and they killed off Optimus Prime. Then the cartoon started to suck and the toys weren’t as interesting, so I got out of that loop.

3. Model Cars and Rockets

Now this was a toy that my dad and I really played with together. Actually, models were more my dad’s thing. He did most of the building because I wasn’t dexterous enough to do that. But I did get to pick out the vehicles we (he) would build and I would later play with. My favorites were the Dukes of Hazzard car model, and an army tank. Since my dad was in the military before I was born, he would tell me stories about how he drove tanks in the army when we were building models. I think the only time I ever got a G.I. Joe action figure was when we built the tank so I could have a guy to go in it and drive it! We would also build and launch model rockets, too. This is a good activity I would recommend any parent and kid can do. It gets everyone outside and everyone can maybe learn a thing or two about science as well.

2. Puzzle Books and Magazines

I don’t know if you can count those as toys, but I really enjoyed those kinds of things when I was a kid. I wasn’t so big into word searches, but I enjoyed other word puzzles, rebuses (?), and other thinking games in activity books. That even carries over into today as I enjoy casual puzzle video games like Picross 3-D and Bookworm. And solving puzzles in those books and magazines was something me and my dad did together a lot. When I was younger, we would try and find all the hidden pictures in Highlights Magazine. And when I got older, we would solve more complicated puzzles together in Games Magazine. And when our brains needed to relax, sometimes we’d pick up MAD Magazine, although we usually just went straight to the Spy vs. Spy comics. Yeah, when I was a kid, I was really into Spy vs. Spy. I played the NES game and had a board game of it, too, but I never figured out how to play it right!

1. Video Games

Now, there were other toys I played with as a kid, too. I just don’t have any interesting stories about them. I enjoyed LEGOs, and one time at a sleepover, my best friend and I spent all night making a three-story LEGO space station. And I also enjoyed playing with toy cars like Hot Wheels and I had a gas station playset to go with them.

The funny thing is that while I was into all the toys listed here in this blog, I wasn’t into them for very long. Because, as soon as I got my first taste of home video gaming with the Apple][+, the Atari 5200, and the NES, I decided that video games were way more fun and worth more of my time, money, and energy. And I’ve been that way since and never looked back. Plus, you don’t have to pick up after playing video games! And as I said in last year’s Father’s Day blog, I’ve played lots of video games with my dad. And many other friends and family as well. For me, video games are the best toys around!


If you are lucky enough to have a father in your life or a father figure, don’t let the excitement of E3 make you forget to do something nice for your dad on Father’s Day. And make sure to do something special for other father figures in your life as well, be they brothers or friends or anyone else. I decided to take my dad to see Toy Story 3 for Father’s Day because it will be a relaxing and fun family activity. And since most dads don’t have much time for playtime and fun, I wanted to make sure to do that for my dad. In the comments section, let me know what you’re doing for Father’s Day, and what your favorite toys to play with as a kid were.

As soon as I get back from seeing Toy Story 3 with my dad and the family this weekend, I’ll probably post a blog about what E3 news interested me most. I bet you can guess what that was! So until next time, later! –Cary

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