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Old-School Toys vs. Your Kids': Who Had It Best? 

05/02/2014 04:20PM

As loyal readers may know, humans just can't stop aging.

But we don't often think about the other kind of aging, the aging of inanimate objects. Though the physical plastic itself doesn't change much – give or take the occasional melting or dismemberment – the passage of time works its magic on beloved toys in different ways.

Some toys become brighter and flashier in their newer models. Others stay basically the same, while making a few concessions to modern trends. And more still change their entire image completely. Check out the iconic toys alongside their modern versions below. Which ones would you prefer to play with?

All photo illustrations by Tiffany Hagler-Geard for PEOPLE.com.



Mr. Potato Head, 1950 (L) and 2011

Old-School Toys vs. Your Kids': Who Had It Best? | G.I. Joe: Retaliation, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Transformers, Bruce Willis

An original Mr. Potato Head (left) and the Active Adventures Mr. Potato Head

Hasbro; Photo Illustration by Tiffany Hagler-Geard

Did you know that old Mr. Potato Head dolls used to be made with an actual potato? He was the healthiest toy around, if only by default.

Barbie, 1959 (L) and 2014

Old-School Toys vs. Your Kids': Who Had It Best? | G.I. Joe: Retaliation, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Transformers, Bruce Willis

Original Barbie (left) and Entrepreneur Barbie

Mattel; Photo Illustration by Tiffany Hagler-Geard

Barbara Millicent Roberts has always had an uneasy relationship with the feminist movement, but her modern versions are "leaning in" more and more.

G.I. Joe, 1964 (L) and 2013

Old-School Toys vs. Your Kids': Who Had It Best? | G.I. Joe: Retaliation, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Transformers, Bruce Willis

A 1964 G.I. Joe doll (left) and a Joe Colton action figure produced for G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Hasbro; Photo Illustration by Tiffany Hagler-Geard

In some sort of weird semiotic loop, G.I. Joe action figures now resemble the actors (ahem, Bruce Willis) who star in the action-movie franchise based upon the toy line.

Strawberry Shortcake, 2014 (L) and 1980

Old-School Toys vs. Your Kids': Who Had It Best? | G.I. Joe: Retaliation, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Transformers, Bruce Willis

Kenner Toys's Strawberry Shortcake (right) and The Bridge Direct's Strawberry Shortcake Singing Doll

Hasbro; Photo Illustration by Tiffany Hagler-Geard

Besides her redesign, Strawberry Shortcake has also made a major life change since she was introduced. While her original version lived in a strawberry, today's version lives in a shortcake.

My Little Pony, 1982 (L) and 2013

Old-School Toys vs. Your Kids': Who Had It Best? | G.I. Joe: Retaliation, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Transformers, Bruce Willis

My Little Ponies Cotton Candy (left) and Pinkie Pie

Hasbro; Photo Illustration by Tiffany Hagler-Geard

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has given these pint-sized neon thoroughbreds a whole new fan base, and correspondingly a brighter cartoon-inspired redesign.

Cabbage Patch Kids, 1983 (L) and 2010

Old-School Toys vs. Your Kids': Who Had It Best? | G.I. Joe: Retaliation, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Transformers, Bruce Willis

An original Cabbage Patch Kid (left) and a Cabbage Patch Fashionality doll

Appalachian Artworks Inc; Photo Illustration by Tiffany Hagler-Geard

The hair may be different, but those cherubic cheeks remain.

Optimus Prime, 2014 (L) and 1983

Old-School Toys vs. Your Kids': Who Had It Best? | G.I. Joe: Retaliation, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Transformers, Bruce Willis

An original Optimus Prime (right) and the Generations Leader Optimus Prime

Hasbro; Photo Illustration by Tiffany Hagler-Geard

He's still a robot in disguise; that disguise is now just a lot less truck-looking.

Care Bears, 2014 (L) and 1983

Old-School Toys vs. Your Kids': Who Had It Best? | G.I. Joe: Retaliation, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Transformers, Bruce Willis

A classic Kenner Toys Cheer Bear (right) and a modern version from Just Play

Hasbro; Photo Illustration by Tiffany Hagler-Geard

Turning 30 hasn't cost Cheer Bear any of her youthful charm.

American Girl Dolls, 1986 (L) and 2014

Old-School Toys vs. Your Kids': Who Had It Best? | G.I. Joe: Retaliation, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Transformers, Bruce Willis

American Girl dolls Samantha (left) and Isabelle

Mattel; Photo Illustration by Tiffany Hagler-Geard

American Girls still teach their owners about the past, but starting in 2001, the company has also produced a line of Girl of the Year dolls whose lives are set in modern times.


Old-School Toys vs. Your Kids': Who Had It Best? | G.I. Joe: Retaliation, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Transformers, Bruce Willis, DVDs, Home Video Products

Lindsay Lohan in 1998 and 2014

Photos Provided by Getty and REX USA; Photo Illustration by Tiffany Hagler-Geard



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