Total Toy Flashback: The 1980s

Total Toy Flashback: The 1980s

Dabney Frake
May 14, 2013

Any of these look familiar? Of course they do. These were the toy newsmakers of their day, the juggernauts of fun, and part of every kid's Christmas list in the 1980s. Had the Internet existed, they would have gone viral. If you grew up then, do you get a gut reaction when you see any of these toys? 

  1. Cabbage Patch Kid: Adoptable toy kids and babies of all sizes and shapes that are born in the secret cabbage patch.
  2. Rubik's Cube: A frustrating 3-D puzzle cube that you twist and turn to solve.
  3. Nintendo Game Boy: Handheld video game device from Nintendo, originally bundled with the game Tetris.
  4. Koosh Ball: A ball made from brightly-colored rubber strands, making it easy to catch and throw.
  5. Alf: Stuffed toy based on a character from a sitcom about an alien living with a human family.
  6. Garfield: Figurine of the title cat in Jim Davis' popular cartoon about a lazy feline and his owner Jon Arbuckle.
  7. My Little Pony: A line of plastic pastel-colored pony dolls, with individual "cutie marks" that were marketed to girls.
  8. Transformers: Transforming alien robots trapped in an endless struggle for dominance or eventual peace.
  9. Gumby: A green clay character from a series of stop-motion television shows. Gumby's principal sidekick is Pokey, a talking red pony. 
  10. Snoopy Sno Cone: A machine that transforms ice cubes into a slushy flavored dessert.

Of course, their popularity meant a lot of stolen thunder from other toys on the market. For instance, do you recall Pocket Rockers? Nope, I didn't either. Just for fun, keep reading about ten other toys from the decade that you might have owned...and maybe forgotten. 
  1. Tiny Tots Family Treehouse: A tree that, at the push of a button, revealed a house of Tiny Tots. Although discontinued in 1980, I remember these being around well into the 80s.
  2. Pocket Rockers: A personal stereo from Fisher Price that played miniature cassettes and was aimed at elementary school-aged children.
  3. Intellivision: The Betamax of game consoles. Its sounds and graphics were considered superior to the rival Atari 2600.
  4. Teddy Ruxpin: A talking bear that would move his mouth and eyes while "reading" stories played on an audio tape cassette deck built into his back.
  5. Omnibot 2000: Toy robot with a built-in cassette recorder. You could record and play back sequences of commands, as well as regular audio recordings.
  6. Scratch & Sniff Stickers: When you scratched these novelty stickers, they released various smells, such as popcorn, pizza and grape jelly.
  7. Waterful Ring Toss: An underwater game of ring toss where you press a button to maneuver the rings around.
  8. Bed Bugs Game: Players race to collect the most bed bugs as they jump around a motorized bed. (Not, as some might think, a hotel stay in NYC.)
  9. Gloworm: Introduced in 1982, the plush worm body contained a battery-powered device that, when squeezed, would light up the toy's head, creating a soft glow.
  10. Polly Pocket: A toy line of dolls, which originally came in pocket-size cases. The original Polly was described as very confident, cool, friendly, optimistic, adventurous, resourceful, and loyal. 
Did this bring you back to your childhood? What was your favorite 80s toy? 

(Lead Image: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10; Second Image, as linked above)

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