Pogs beat hi-tech rivals to be year's top toy

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The Independent Online
Pogs, a sort of tiddly-winks on steroids, has been named Toy of the Year, just 12 months after its arrival in the UK. The low-tech game, which became a craze among schoolchildren last summer, beat the best that Nintendo and Sega could offer.

Pogs - described by its makers Waddington as a "milk-cap slamming game"- sells for as little as 99p. The Pog itself is a brightly coloured cardboard disc which children collect or use in a playground game.

The discs originated in Hawaii in the 1930s when children there collected the coloured cardboard tops of milk and other drinks bottles, a bit like football or cigarette cards. The discs are named after an acronym for passion fruit, orange juice and guava.

The game was introduced to the UK by the toy manufacturer Waddington after it became a best-seller in the US. So far, the resultant mania has yielded the company pounds 25m.

The British Association of Toy Retailers, which organises the Toy of the Year award, announced Waddington's win at the International Toy and Hobby Fair in London. Power Rangers was voted boys' toy of the year; Barbie was named best girls' toy; and the construction game K'nex best new toy.

Toy manufacturers are now searching for the next big thing as they vie for a bigger share of the pounds 1.6bn British toy market.According to the British Toy and Hobby Association, parents spent an average pounds 112 on each child last Christmas.