Dominoes: A 2012 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductee

Many of us grew up playing domino games. And once the game was over, we carefully lined the dominoes up on end, just to watch them topple in a chain reaction. With a history stretching back more than 700 years, dominoes today look the same as they did two centuries ago. Dominoes are devices, like cards and dice, which provide hundreds of different games. And like playing cards, a 2010 inductee to the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong, you can find dominoes in electronic versions just about anywhere today.

General gaming websites such as Pogo.com include multiple domino games and encourage people to play with friends, against a computer, or with an online opponent. Specialized domino game-playing websites range from basic to elaborate and feature all kinds of graphics, from basic and rudimentary to incredibly realistic, with audible clicks as players place tiles. Dominoes-only websites include both simple and complex games, as well as sharing domino statistics and domino history. And of course, domino apps are now available for your mobile device of choice.

But virtual domino games don’t begin to hint at the toppling extravaganzas you can find online. If you think only kids like domino toppling or that nobody really takes it seriously, then fasten your seatbelts. Since the appearance of YouTube in 2005, independent domino topplers began posting incredible videos  of their otherwise ephemeral toppling events. Now you can view world record domino topples, fantastic domino toppling tricks and special effects, and spectacular staged events. But why limit yourself to just toppling domino tiles? People make their own dominoes out of nearly anything rectangular, from tissue packages to books to mattresses. But I warn you: these domino-toppling videos are mesmerizing. You can’t stop after watching just one. So my congratulations go to dominoes for their place in the National Toy Hall of Fame. With centuries of history behind them, domino games and domino toppling are both finding new life, and new players, through the wonders of the Internet.