A survey of the global toy and game inventor community was carried out by the British Toy & Hobby Association and Mojo Nation to celebrate 70 years of Toy Fair.
The study – involving over 100 members of the global toy inventor community – was launched to celebrate 70 years of Toy Fair. As such, inventors had to choose products that were launched in the past seven decades, that they wished they had invented.
The survey results showed Jenga as the top toy or game that inventors most wished they had come up with. The game launched at Toy Fair back in 1983, from inventor Leslie Scott. Leslie commented: “To receive such an honour from fellow designers would have been beyond my wildest dreams when I launched Jenga at the 1983 London Toy Fair. In truth, to receive it 41 years later astonishes me still!”
On choosing Jenga, one voter said: “The simplest games are the hardest to create – with Jenga, you understand it immediately, can play it right out of the box, and it has endless repeat play value.” Another said: “People assume the game is much older than it is because it feels timeless.”
Others called Jenga “a masterpiece of sophisticated design” and “purity personified”, while one inventor said: “The idea that Just 54 simple blocks of wood can be configured in such a way that’s created drama and amusement for millions and millions of people… Well, it’s a 3D miracle!”
Jenga was closely followed by Mattel’s Polly Pocket in second and Asmodee’s Dobble in third.
One voter said: “I love the way Polly Pocket took a classic dolls’ house play pattern and literally put it in a girl’s pocket – it represents the holy grail of toy invention,” said one voter. Elsewhere, Dobble was described by inventors as “A modern classic”.
Polly Pocket was first launched by Bluebird Toys, founded by Sir Torquil Norman. His son, Genie Toys Founder Casey Norman, said: “It’s wonderful that so many have chosen Polly Pocket. But actually, it comes as no surprise to me. Anyone who has ever been involved on the design or invention side for Polly knows that the brand is a treasure trove for creativity and an amazing platform for innovation. My father will be so pleased to hear about the enthusiasm that still surrounds Polly Pocket.”
Commenting on making the top 3, SVP of Social Games and Head of Studio Zygomatic at Asmodee, Michaël Goncalves, said: “It’s such a unique, fun and magical game, played all over the world by families, children and friends. The success is huge – Dobble has sold over 37 million units since launch. As a publisher, to see Dobble become a toy or game that inventors would have liked to create is a real achievement and I’m very proud to be part of the list!”
The top 10 picks were as follows:
- Jenga (1983)
- Polly Pocket (1989)
- Dobble (2009)
- Twister (1966)
- Tamagotchi (1996)
- Kenner’s Star Wars Action Figures (1978)
- Rubik’s Cube (1980)
- UNO (1971)
- Bop It (1996)
- Codenames (2015)
The survey received many other fantastic nominations across a broad range of toys and games invented in the last 70 years.
Mojo Nation’s Billy Langsworthy added: “It was great that both classics and modern classics made the top 10 – and that the top three happened to be inventor items is a welcome reminder of the vital role this community plays in our industry. What a fun way to celebrate 70 years of the London Toy Fair – here’s to the next 70!”
Director General of the BTHA, Roland Earl, said: “It is wonderful to take a view from such a valued group of creative people as to toys and games they wished they had invented. Creativity is the lifeblood of our amazing industry and great products with great design and enjoyment for all ages are what we are all about. As Billy says, here’s to the next 70!”
For those visiting Toy Fair 2024, a display of the top 10 choices will be located on the Toy Trust Lounge, stand UL 161.
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Notes to Editors
About the BTHA
The British Toy & Hobby Association was established in 1944 to represent the interests of British toy manufacturers and to raise standards of practice in the industry. Today it has around 150 members ranging from international toy giants to small family-run businesses that together account for more than 80% of the UK toy market. Membership of the British Toy & Hobby Association shows the member’s commitment to adhere to the BTHA Code of Practice under the umbrella of the Lion Mark which includes rules covering ethical and safe manufacture of toys, toy safety, a ban on counterfeit goods, an assurance to market responsibly, a commitment to improving sustainability and a desire to promote the value of all play through support of the Make Time 2 Play campaign. Our members are manufacturers committed to making good quality toys in a responsible way. The BTHA also administers the Toy Trust – the industry’s charity.
About Mojo Nation
Mojo Nation is a B2B site covering the world of design, invention and creativity within the global toy and game industry. The brand is also home to the Mojo Nation 100, an annual publication celebrating the achievements of designers and inventors, as well as a suite of events. These include the Play Creators Conference, the Play Creators Awards and the Mojo Pitch.