Christmas is just around the corner so we have decided to take a nostalgic look back at what it was like growing up in the 1990s around this exciting time of the year. Remember going to school with heaps of Christmas cards for your class-mates on the run up to the big day and then rushing to tell people what Christmas presents you received? Things have certainly changed since then – we wonder if people even bother sending Christmas cards these days, seeing as people seem permanently connected to each other via the likes of Facebook and other social networking services.
Anyway, in this post we will look at some of the must have toys from the 1990s. If you grew up during this decade we are sure there will be examples here that you will remember putting on your Christmas list. Some readers you may recall buying these toys for their kids in the 1990s. For those of you were born after this time, you may laugh at the type of things that were popular at the time. The 1990s were a time when toys were becoming more and more advanced, especially electronic toys – but it was still a far cry from what we have on offer today! This decade will be particularly remembered for rapid improvements in game console technology but there are many other iconic, less advanced toys that people will have fond memories.
We hope you enjoy this post – if this was a bit after your time, check out our article about 12 Toys you wanted for Christmas if you grew up in the 1980s.
Tamagotchi / Digimon
This hand-held, digital pet from Japan was all the rage in 1996 and there have been over 80million sales worldwide to date.
Created by Japanese toy and video game manufacturer Bandai, the Tamagotchi was originally designed for teenage girls to give them an idea of what it would be like to raise a child – although the toy was popular amongst boys and girls.
The idea was to look after your ‘pet’ by pressing buttons at regular intervals to ensure its survival. Tasks included feeding it, putting it to sleep, playing games with it and tidying up after it so it lived in a hygienic environment.
A year later, the company released the ‘Digimon’ virtual pet toy, which followed the same concept as the Tamagotchi but was aimed more at boys than girls. The main difference between the two was that with the ‘Digimon’ you could fight other ‘Digimon’ virtual pets.
Each user would being with a baby ‘Digimon’ and then train to have fights with other owners of the toy. The result of the battle would depend on how you cared for and trained your pet.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Although the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys were released at the very end of 1980s, it was during the 1990s where they really took off in terms of popularity. The demand for merchandise related to the Turtles remained strong until around 1996, which was when the popular TV cartoon series came to an end. It was the popularity of the cartoon show along with three blockbuster movies during the 1990s that made Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys the must-have action figures for may kids during this time.
Ok, perhaps these would not have been considered as a main Christmas present (they would have been more of a stocking filler), but there is no denying the popularity of Pogs during the 90s.
The general rules were as follows (you may remember playing this a countless number of times at school during your break):
- Players would have their own collection of Pogs and one or more slammer disc
- Each player would put an equal number of Pogs down to build a stack, with the Pogs being faced downwards
- Players take it in turn to throw their slammer disc onto the top of the stack, causing the Pogs in the stack to scatter
- Any Pogs that land face-up are kept by the throwing player after they throw the slammer
- Pogs that land face-down are put back in the stack for the next player to have a go
- The winner is the player with the most Pogs when there is no stack left is the winner
- Sometimes the winner would take all the Pogs, depending if you were playing ‘for keeps’ or not.
Bring back any memories?! As with many collectable games, it was very addictive! Pog discs came in all kinds of different designs and some rare ones were sold for quite a bit of money after the Pog craze ended and they became a collectors item. However, the majority of the designs were mass produced so if you have any lying about they will probably have more personal nostalgic value than anything else!
A very popular toy for girls throughout the 1990s, ‘Polly Pocket’ was a range of dolls and accessories that evolved from one father’s idea to fashion a small doll-house from a powder compact. We can assume he is pretty rich now!
As is often the case, the manufacture of ‘Polly Pocket’ was relentless in terms of continually adding new collections, themes and accessories, which has resulted in this particular brand still being strong in today’s toy market.
Another toy that is still alive and kicking today, but it was in the 1990s when it really took off in terms of popularity. To date, the Super Soaker has generated more than $ 1 billion in revenue. One sign of its huge popularity was that people often referred to any type of water gun as a ‘Super Soaker’, regardless of its actual brand name.
We could have just done a general section on video game machines in the 1990s, but as this was a pivotal decade in the evolution of the console, we thought it was important to mention a few of them individually.
Today it is a constant battle between Xbox and Sony to develop the most popular games console, but back in the early 90s it was all about Nintendo and SEGA.
The Super Nintendo (SNES) was realised in the UK in 1992 as a replacement for the NES and a rival of the SEGA Megadrive and usually you were either a SNES fan or a Megadive fan – although some lucky kids had both!
Some legendary games on the SNES included Super Mario, Street Fighter, Zelda, Donkey Kong Country, Mario Kart and Mega Man to name just a few. The graphics on these 16-bit consoles might be poor compared to today’s standards but at the time they were truly something special!