The other day I stumbled upon a site that archives those wonderful old Read-Along adventure books and makes them available for download. It made me nostalgic for other toys I remember fondly from childhood, and I went on somewhat of a quest to see how many virtual versions of old toys I could find.

If you’re feeling up for a bit of retrotainment and have some time to kill, these virtual toys are as close as you can get to the real thing.


» Play with Simon
Possibly the greatest toy from the 1980s, Simon was like an audio/visual assault on your basic memory recall skills. It frequently made us feel inferior, but those flashy lights and synthesizer sounds kept us happy in our button-mashing comas. And who didn’t want to be that bad-ass Johnny kid from this commercial? WARNING: This is addictive!

Speak & Spell

» Play with Speak & Spell
The original hand-held electronic learning toy that paved the way for decades of imitations. What child of the late 70s/early 80s didn’t have one of these things? Plus, according to E.T. you could hack this baby to phone home the mothership.


» Play with Etch-a-Sketch
My skill at virtual Etch-a-Sketch is only slightly less sucky than my skill at actual Etch-a-Sketch.

This one lets you print out your creations, but sadly lacks a shake-to-erase feature. Still, it’s a fun time-waster.

Rubik’s Cube

» Play with Rubik’s Cube
I was never able to solve one of these stupid things, let alone do it in 8 seconds. If you had a cheaply-made Rubik’s like I did, you could try to cheat and rearrange the stickers. This virtual one has realistic twisty-turny action! (And all the frustration of the real thing.)

Lite Brite

» Play with Lite Brite
There’s no telling how much damage we did to our retinas staring into these things. Lite Brites were a relaxing way for artistic kids to spend a rainy Saturday. Personally, I never had the patience to finish my designs, or I’d accidentally shake the thing and little plastic pegs would go flying.

I’m still holding out hope for virtual Magna-Doodle. Now go have fun reliving your childhood!