I always thought my Big Trak was the most awesome toy. I sort of learned how to program starting with this, since it had simple loops. I loved to be in my room, and try and program it to go out the door, down the hall, aim at my parents, shoot them 10 times, then come back to my room. I'm not sure if i ever succeeded, but I LOVED doing it.
Another favorite toy was a gun/target set. the gun had a lightbulb in it, and a pair of lenses. you had to slide the 'bolt' (a little piece of plastic) that would move one lens back about 2 inches. when you pulled the trigger, the little 3volt lamp would come on, then the slide would release. the lens would move and go through the focus point, effectively shooting a little pulse of light.
The target had 5 little plastic missiles on it on a rotating top you wound up. if you shot the light sensitive target, the missile would be popped off the top, and it would wind around to the next.
Another cool feature was that the gun had a detachable stock, so with it on you had a rifle, and with it off, you had a pistol (with a VERY long barrel, but what did I know, I was eight).
What are some of your favorite childhood toys?
There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Like all of my nephews and nieces today, with their gameboys in their pockets, video game system under their tvs, and fully loaded computer system in their room, I had the same thing back then.... except mine were the Mattel Football handheld, an Atari 2600 followed by a NES, and a fully loaded Commodore 64 system as my computer gaming system!!