The term “toys” has changed drastically in the past 10-15 years thanks to the rise of technology. While many of us that grew up in the ’90s think that we were living in the peak of toy creations, looking back on our beloved pasttime games makes us now feel like we were in the 1800’s compared to “toys” today. Kids now turn to their gaming system, phone, computer or iPad when in need of a toy but the ’90s combined the best of being active and only a bit of technology resulting in some pretty amazing toys and games.
Yup, at one point our parents were spending money on round pieces of cardboard to make sure their children had the latest and greatest in toys. While that may have angered them at the time, I bet parents now wish they could go back to that without having to dish out hundreds or thousands for an iPad or newest tech to give their children something to play with. The nature of the game was simple but also introduced children to risk-taking and bets as they had to decide whether to play “for keeps” or not prior to the game. Oh the good ol’ days.
8. Easy Bake Oven
Cooking food with an incandescent light bulb? Yes! And it was awesome, thank you very much. The Easy Bake Oven is still around today but it definitely rose to fame in the ’90s. You could make your own brownie, although it took four hours, and was a little discriminatory with its pink design but nonetheless, if you didn’t have an Easy Bake Oven, you just weren’t with it.
7. Bop It
Simon Says goes interactive landed us with Bop It. Although it was a hit in the ’90s we would still totally play with this game now, like many games it is equally addictive and frustrating trying to beat the Bop It. Of course, the three commands, “Bop It,” “Twist It,” and “Pull It,” got old quick so it didn’t long before The Bop It Extreme came on to the scene in 1998 with the additions of 4 game modes and two new commands “Flick It” and “Spin It.” This game’s popularity carried in to the 2000s when it was declared one of the top games on the market.
6. Skip It
With today’s overly sensitive parents and children the Skip It would probably be deemed “too dangerous” but in all actuality it was the perfect toy as it got kids outside being active. The concept was simple, one end goes around your ankle and you jump over the rolling ball on the other end as it goes around in circles while it counted your number of skips. Obviously it kind of was dangerous, it only worked on hard surfaces and you were bound to trip at least a couple of times but that was also back in the day when kids could fall without neglectful parenting questions being raised.
5. Moon Shoes
Moon shoes were again, somewhat dangerous but mostly awesome when it came to ’90s toys, especially given the fact that they were advertised as “mini-trampolines for your feet.” If there was any toy designed to teach you discipline and self control and disguise itself as merely a toy, this was it. Every child knew full well you could not just bounce around absent mindedly on these things, you had to concentrate, focus and try not to snap your ankle. But they were really fun once you got the hang of all that.
4. Walkie Talkies/The Talkboy
First of all The Talkboy wasn’t even a functioning toy when it was featured in Home Alone but after massive demand the product was made and kids everywhere were happy. Of course once they realized they were only talking to themselves and not fooling dim-witted criminals the novelty wore off. Meanwhile, Walkie Talkies are still fun but since we all have cell-phones there is absolutely no use for them, oh the things kids of the future will never know they missed out on.
Social media and technology has created the term FOMO (fear of missing out) which means anxiety one experiences from not being constantly up to date with what is happening on social media or being separated from their device. I argue this all began with the Tamagotchi. Not only was it addictive but if you left it alone to go to school or something, your Tamagotchi pet/baby would die! While the digital toy seems archaic by today’s standards, there was nothing better back in 1996.
2. Game Boy Color
The Game Boy Color wasn’t released until the late ’90s in 1998 but it was without a doubt THE must have device. Of course handheld devices now blow the Game Boy out of the water, but to ’90s kids, this thing will always be the pinnacle of interactive fun and of course official cool status. A handheld game device seemed groundbreaking, shows what little we knew, this thing didn’t even have a back light, but you could buy cool clip on lights! Those were the days.
1. Nintendo 64
Last but certainly not least is the gaming unit every kid wanted to find under their tree come Christmas morning. Again, kids today wouldn’t even know what they are looking at with the graphics they are now used to, but the N64 was only the launching point for the extravagant game consoles of today. We all remember the anticipation and anxiousness playing “Goldeneye 007” while “The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Time” is still considered one of the greatest games ever made.