Nerf was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame Friday, as the longtime fan favorite secured its legacy as one of the greatest toys of all time. Nerf blasters were the coveted toy of any 90s child, and its foam balls, originally released in the 1960s, unleashed indoor sports for countless children when the weather turned.
The Hall of Fame class of 2023 also includes baseball cards, Cabbage Patch Kids, and the Fisher-Price Corn Popper, enshrining the legacy of these toys for eternity. The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York has been inducting classes of toys into its Hall of Fame since 1998. The class of 2023 marked the 25th anniversary of the National Toy Hall of Fame, where the public is able to vote on its favorite legendary toys that deserve the seat of honor.
It’s shocking it took this long for Nerf to make it into the Toy Hall of Fame. Nerf holds the Guinness World Record for the largest toy pistol fight in history, with 2,289 people in March of 2016. The Nerf franchise was a finalist for the Toy Hall of Fame in 2022 but was defeated by He-Man, Lite-Brite, and the Spinning Top.
The National Toy Hall of Fame also inducted the Cabbage Patch Kids Friday, just two weeks ahead of the dolls’ highly anticipated movie release, Billion Dollar Babies.
Cabbage Patch Kids were poised to take the throne this year with its Hollywood debut just around the corner. Billion Dollar Babies, the documentary of the true story of Cabbage Patch Kids, is executive produced and narrated by Neil Patrick Harris and will be released on Black Friday, Nov. 24.
The Hollywood status of the Cabbage Patch Kids has many asking, did the dolls’ movie executives pull some strings to get them on this list? Gizmodo reached out to Wicked Cool Toys, the maker of the dolls, but we’ve yet to hear back.
The Cabbage Patch Kids documentary follows the craze around the dolls, originally released in 1979. The toy world was forever changed thereafter, and every toymaker craved a “riot-worthy” toy that could compare to the Cabbage Patch Kids. These plush, lumpy-faced dolls paved the way for other toy crazes like Beanie Babies, Tickle Me Elmo, and Furbie.
Baseball cards also made the list this year, however, this “toy” may owe its spot on the list to a booming Brooklyn candy company and one of its brilliant employees. An online marketplace around the toy erupted over the past decades, as collectors tried to obtain the rarest of cards with their favorite baseball players.
And last, but not least, the Fisher-Price Corn Popper was inducted as a rare fourth honoree from a group of “Forgotten Five” finalists. These five were labeled as icons that have gotten close every year but never sealed the deal. The Corn Popper has helped millions of children take their first steps, offering them a fun incentive to push that popper a few paces forward. Today, Corn Popper got its flowers.
Barbie’s Ken did not make the 2023 Hall of Fame list, though he was a finalist. Despite the billion-dollar box office performance of the Barbie movie, perhaps today’s induction signals a changing of the guard in the toy world. As the Cabbage Patch Kids ramp up for what’s bound to be a big box office debut, Mattel may be in the rearview mirror.