Star Wars figures, dominoes join U.S. Toy Hall of Fame

Star Wars action figures and the game of dominoes were inducted today into the U.S. National Toy Hall of Fame.

47 other toys and games part of 14-year-old hall

Star Wars action figures Darth Vader, right, and Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi, left, were inducted into the U.S. National Toy Hall of Fame on Thursday. (Victoria Arocho/Associated Press)

Star Wars action figures and the game of dominoes are the latest inductees into the U.S. National Toy Hall of Fame.

The figures based on the epic movie series and the centuries-old game beat out other 2012 inductee finalists, including:

  • Twister.
  • Clue.
  • Magic 8 Ball.
  • Lite-Brite.
  • The pogo stick.
  • Little green army men.

The Hall of Fame, based in Rochester, N.Y., said Star Wars toys revolutionized the industry by linking toys to successful movies and TV programs. The first action figures were made available in 1977 after the release of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

The figures of Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and others were sold until 1985 and again from the mid-1990s to today.

Museum officials said Star Wars toys give kids a departure point for their own stories of make-believe and fantasy.

Dominoes originated in China in the 1300s and later became popular in Europe. The multi-purpose domino tiles can either be played as a game or lined up to topple in a sequence.  

The Hall of Fame said dominoes encourage children to combine and develop math skills and dexterity.

Hall of Fame officials said anyone can nominate a toy, and thousands of suggestions come in every year. An internal committee of curators, educators and historians chooses the finalists, and then a national selection committee votes for the winners.

Longevity is a key criterion for getting into the 14-year-old hall.

Monopoly, Barbie and Lego were among some of the first inductees in 1998, and there are now 49.

With files from The Associated Press