Better than all other presents because it was Big and it had traks.
Star date 1979-80-81 ish, back when colours were yellowy and saturated, and Christmases were mysterious and magical, and carpets were more colourful than the lego that was played on it, there was one toy that stood above the rest. A toy that looked a bit like Buck Roger's moon buggy, that had extremely cool spacey stripes down the side, which in hindsight looked a bit like (West) Germany's football kit colours, a toy which would take up to *drum-roll* 16 instructions from its master (me) and then act them out in front of me, a toy that beeped like the seventies and fired photon torpedoes! That toy is of course the Bigtrak.
First up, move the furniture around into a position that's a bit more tricky to negotiate than yesterday. Second, get your mum to name the starting position for Bigtrak. Third, place a couple of your least favourite, slightly damaged Star Wars figures some distance away from the starting position to give a number of attack/defense opportunities during Bigtrak's excursion and then, finally, sit down and figure out how to get Bigtrak around the room and safely back to its starting position, having patrolled the room, killing all visible enemies and not run out of instructions. Tricky? yes. Fun? absolutely. Expensive? yes, i got through quite a few batteries. Iconic? Truly.
I can't really remember the interface when programming it, but looking at the picture above the first thing i noticed was that there wasn't a screen. No way, other than trial and error, to check where Bigtrak was going. Maybe that was part of its charm?
A monolith of a toy, which i really wanted that Christmas, and was my favourite Christmas present ever.
If I'm honest the Star Wars Death Star Play Centre ( http://www.retrobabble.com/content/babbles/models/star-wars-death-star-play-centre ) came a very close second. Toys were so cool back then...