ROCHESTER, NY – Matchbox Cars, the coloring book and the Magic: The Gathering trading card game were introduced Thursday at the National Toy Hall of Fame, recognized for a lasting appeal that keeps them on store shelves today.
A panel of experts selected the 2019 Class from the nominated finalists, which also included Care Bears, Fisher-Price Corn Popper, Jenga, Masters of the Universe, My Little Pony, Nerf Blaster, Risk, the smartphone and the top.
The honorees were installed during a ceremony in the hall, located inside The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester. They will be permanently displayed alongside 68 previous winners that include Alphabet Blocks, the Big Wheel, G.I. Joe and others recognized for their innovation, longevity and ability to foster creativity or discovery through play.
Matchbox cars follow competitor Hot Wheels, class 2011, down the aisle. Lesney Products debuted Matchbox Cars in England in 1953 and in the United States a year later, where it was selling at a rate of over 100 million a year until 1960, the show said.
When Hot Wheels entered the market in 1968, Matchbox Cars responded with a "super fast" line. Both brands now belong to Mattel.
"Matchbox Cars revolutionized the toy car industry after its introduction, and the name Matchbox has become synonymous with miniature cars," chief curator Christopher Bensch said in a press release. "It's only fair that they join Toy Hall of Fame to sit in the winner's circle next to Hot Wheels, the other titan on the field."
Wizards of the Coast introduced Magic: The Gathering in 1993 and quickly had trouble meeting demand, the show said. A series of Netflix books, arcades, and series followed. The fantasy game employs chance and skill as players continually collect new cards and refine their deck and strategies.
"Continuing to maintain popularity is proof of its revolutionary gameplay and constant evolution, making it appealing to both beginners and experts," said curator Shannon Symonds.
The New York-based McLoughlin Brothers printing company is credited with producing the first coloring books in the 1880s. In recent years, the appeal of activity has shifted to adults as a way to reduce stress and increase creativity.
Anyone can name a toy using an online form, but to enter the salon, the toys must have lasted several generations, be innovative and promote learning, creativity or discovery through play.
Winners are chosen by boards of historians, educators, and others whose lives or careers are focused on learning, creativity, and discovery, according to the Hall.