However many or however few toys you had, you know there was one that stood out.
Either you had it and it was awesome, or another kid had it and you coveted it on a profound, spiritual level. Maybe it was something very personal, maybe it was something very popular, but there was one toy when you were a kid that was, objectively, The Best Toy.
For me, it was a space rifle from Radio Shack. First, it was awesome because lots of folks sell ray pistols, but a ray rifle, that’s some serious alien-killing hardware. There’s a bunch of toy ray guns that make different sounds when you pull the trigger, but they mostly rotate between sounds with each pull, and I put it to you, gentlemen, that that makes no damn sense. No, MY ray gun had a three-position sound effect switch, allowing me to set it to different kinds of rays depending on what sort of dastardly aliens were menacing my neighborhood. Exactly which rays went with which sounds varied: you had your basic laser blasts a la Star Wars, naturally, but some aliens were laserproof. For them, I had heat rays, freeze rays, sonic rays, disintegrator rays, and a particularly esoteric one that never had a name, but destroyed their flesh instantly, leaving only a curious alien skeleton to hang startled in the air for a moment before collapsing into a heap of bones. (Video game designers take note: if you give me the startled-skeleton ray again, I will drown you in money.)
All of this, of course, was just in my overactive imagination as I charged around outside, taking cover around the corner of the house, leaping out from behind my mom’s Toyota to ambush a raiding party of evil aliens that nobody else could see. All Radio Shack actually gave me was a three-sound selector switch and some flashing lights; I took over from there.
A couple years later, the thing I wanted was a Nintendo Entertainment System, but that was only because everyone else had one. The NES was great, no lie, but it wasn’t The Best Toy, at least not for me.
What was yours? What was your absolute favorite recreational item when your age was a single-digit number?