What Was The Biggest Toy The Year You Were Born?

You can learn a lot about what the world was like when you were born by examining your birth year's pop culture. The year's most popular movie, highest-rated TV show, and most famous actor or actress offer a window into the era. But do you remember the biggest toy from your birth year? The answer is most likely "no," because you probably don't remember much of anything from that year. If you did have a top toy, it was likely your blankie.

But kids older than you were going nuts for something else. Must-have toys over the years have included Cabbage Patch dolls, action figures, and even a toy invented as a fake prop for a film.

The most popular toys vary from the technologically advanced, such as the Game Boy, to the incredibly simple, such as the building-block game Jenga. If you have a birthday between 1975 and 2000, take a trip down memory lane to find the biggest toy the year you were born.

  • 1975: Pet Rock

    1975:  Pet Rock
    Photo: Pet Rock Net / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    While joking around with friends, freelance advertising writer Gary Dahl joked that he had a pet that was completely hassle-free - because it was a rock. He then turned that joke into a reality, and the Pet Rock went on sale in 1975.

    The fad quickly went away, but approximately 1.5 million rocks were sold at $4 per pet.

  • 1976: Cher Doll

    1976: Cher Doll
    Photo: Mego

    In 1976, Barbie took a backseat to Cher, known to TV audiences at the time for The Sonny & Cher Show.

    The Cher doll had a wardrobe including 35 different gowns, all modeled after her real-life clothes from designer Bob Mackie.

  • 1977: 'Star Wars' Action Figures

    The first Star Wars movie was a cultural phenomenon, and the toys associated with the film were arguably just as popular. The demand for Star Wars action figures surprised manufacturer Kenner: The toys sold out before the holidays.

    Instead of getting the actual action figures for the holidays, many kids had to settle for a "Star Wars Early Bird Certificate Package" that could be exchanged for the toys the following year.

  • 1978: Simon

    The electronic memory game Simon, in which players have to remember a series of flashing red, blue, yellow, and green lights, cost a whopping $25 when it was released in 1978. Nonetheless, it was a huge seller.

    Simon was also heavily hyped, making its formal debut that year at New York's famed disco club Studio 54. The game evolved over the years, taking advantage of newer technology. In 2017, Hasbro released a new version of the game, Simon Optix, featuring a wearable headset.

  • 1979: Atari VCS

    1979: Atari VCS
    Photo: joho345 / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Atari Video Computer System allowed people to bring a variety of video games into their homes for the first time.

    While the Atari VCS sold moderately upon release in 1977, it had become a phenomenon by 1979, selling over 1 million units that year.

  • 1980: Rubik's Cube

    Created by Hungarian architecture professor Ernõ Rubik as a way to help his students explore 3-D concepts, the Rubik's Cube launched worldwide in 1980. Originally called the "Magic Cube," the colorful puzzle became a global phenomenon.

    Over 100 million cubes were sold globally from 1980 to 1982. Today, the 3-D puzzle remains one of the all-time top-selling toys.