TOYS NOIZEApril 9, 2013
Ah, to be young. When Christmas meant everything, and the presents defined your following year (or week depending), going to bed was the worst thing ever and Saturday morning television was more than just a morning, it was an event.
Take a walk with us down memory lane as we shuffle through the dusty attics of our minds and pay homage to some of the must-have, strange and just plain memorable retro toys of the past.
Action Man truly was the greatest hero of them all and Barbie is Barbie (shout out to Ken). Many came and went and they came in all different kinds, but the doll industry is something of a beast.
For the child or grown child at heart (who has probably been a part of a few interventions), they more than did the job of creating stories for our pre-pubescent worlds. The word “doll” was actually banned for the man-toy range before going on sale, where it faced “controversy” from parents asking whether boys should be playing with them. Yo mums, boys will be boys and if you have to tell him he can’t play with his doll then it’s likely he’s playing with himself instead. Or so we’ve been told.
Type Trolls into any search engine in the one-three and you’ll have a completely different definition of what once was a strange product available in many shapes and sizes. The naked big haired little guys had a real presence in the 90s, whether they were strangely placed at the end of pencils or your perfectly square TV screens on a Saturday morning – they cornered the Smurfs-esque market in terms of straight weirdness and strength in numbers.
Oh look, a stretchy spring that bounces. Listed in the “how does someone even come up with this?” category, the Slinky’s science was all in the momentum and gravitational pull. If you say you’re too old to not be in awe at its motion down the flight of stairs, you’re a liar.
Movie dropped. Toys of said movie dropped. That has and always will be the money making notion friends. You know what they say “you haven’t made it until they make a toy of you”…well, they don’t, but they should! It seems as though every celebrity and their mama has been hand crafted into 6-inch wax form building a billion dollar pre & post-movie industry and keeping cinema alive, even if actual cinema isn’t. Toy merchandise has become a popular past time amongst the nerd society, with every passing year, “still in box” merch equaling to more monies.
Nintendo vs. Sega
A legendary time in gaming history, the Sega vs. Nintendo beef of the 90s was something dreams were made of, whether you had a console or not. At the end of it all, sales were in the millions, thanks to unique advertising campaigns at a time when the internet was non-existent, in addition to the huge number of games available on any given platform. If you had a Game Gear, there was the Game Boy for that, SNES was matched with Mega Drive – it didn’t matter what team you were on, everybody was winning (Sega and Nintendo were winning more though). Head honchos Sonic & Mario had a formidable rivalry which was marketed cleverly – the latter is winning more these days however as Mario and Nintendo alike continue to push out celebrated games and consoles, but lest not forget the times that were built by our gaming forefathers.
Cabbage Patch Kid
In the late ‘70s to ‘80s these chubby cheek chaps took over the entire “adopt-a-child” market and blew the minds and imagination of children everywhere with a unique selling point of including of a unique birth certificate in each box. The phenomenon fell victim to the early days of parody, Garbage Pale Kids – a series of cards filled with ‘wrong side of the tracks’ putrid characters with names like Starin’ Darren – an interesting individual with eyes all over his body and Valerie Vomit: which, well is pretty self explanatory. Following on from this oh so financially high ride of success, the Cabbage Patch range was later expanded to a doll line called ‘Preemie!’ (Exclamation point included) – premature baby dolls designed 3 inches smaller than their predecessor. Not cool bro.
Ask yourself, when did you last walk the dog or go around the world? If like us you’re too broke to think we dare to talk literally, then you already know we’re speaking yo-yo. Dating back to the Ancient Greek period, well according to Wikipedia anyway, this was one of those toys we thought looked cool to operate, a babe magnet even, but never was. Don’t let its mention in this nostalgic post fool you, a simple YouTube search will show you amongst (very, very small) circles the yo-yo is far from dead. Grown folks popping a yo-yo trick or two in hi-definition? We’ve come so far.
My Little Pony
My Little Pony gets much respect in the toy community for its longevity and worldwide success, and don’t get us wrong, we love them as much as the next person, but any 4 legged creature with a full head of hair and mascara was slightly questionable. Still, they maintained the cute factor and the franchise is still as strong as ever touching almost every media format and becoming a staple for comedic references, spin-offs and imitations.
The original virtual pet, Tamagotchi’s were the perfect gift for the lonely child in us all, and pleased the parent who refused to get a real life furry friend for the household. The concept was simple: maintain those things or they die, and boy how they died; we think they took “here today, gone the next” too literal.
Lego have been building their brand for 60 years strong, influencing each and every one of us throughout. A simple block opened the minds of our imagination, which is why artists and designers use its simplicity to create Lego-based projects of genius to this day. And if that doesn’t impress you, then there’s Legoland…a land of Lego, I mean c’mon!
Now check out our nostalgic toy collection dropping online at Urban Outfitters… Oscar The Grouch
Bert and Ernie
We know we forgot a good amount of toys and games from yesteryear! So let us know of any worthy mentions below…