What is it about the 1990s that puts everyone into a nostalgic frenzy? You’ve probably always heard your parents or grandparents talk about “the good ol’ days”, but it wasn’t until the 90s babies became adults that it really dawned on us just how epic that decade was. The hours of excitement roaming around Blockbuster on a Friday night to choose the perfect movie was such an adventure compared to the scrolling through Netflix we partake in today. We spent the school day sniffing “Mr. Sketch” markers trying to trade for anything but the black licorice one. Our chewing gum wrappers were actually temporary tattoos, and if you pulled Dunkaroos out of your lunch box you were the king of the cafeteria.
The 90s were great, and anyone from that generation cannot be convinced otherwise. We were the last generation to actually go up and ring doorbells rather than texting our friends that we were outside, and had competitions to see who could eat the most Warhead candies. With all that being said, nothing hypes up a 90s kid quite like the mention of one of their favorite childhood toys. You’d think that after a certain age, one would grow out of the desire to play with toys. Nope, not this generation! Give me an Easy Bake Oven and a box of my favorite childhood toys, and I’ll give you the best weekend you’ve had in years. Although some toys we played with during the 1990s had earlier models that debuted in prior decades, here we are talking about the versions we played with as kids. And while some of those toys are better left in the past (I’m looking at you, Furby), here is a list of 15 toys from that decade that we, as adults, would still love to get our hands on today.
15. Nintendo 64
How could you forget the long hours spent miraculously fixing your faulty gaming system by blowing into dusty cartridges? Ahh, memories. These days, gaming is taken pretty seriously. Each new console that is released is aimed more toward adults, and the technology used is incredible. Though consoles today have a whole slew of features and the newest technology, even the most avid gamers tend to revert back to their childhood at times for some good old fashioned N64 games. The first step is to make sure you set up your younger sibling as Player 2, and then let the fun begin. Video games have come such a long way, but nothing can quite compare to the good memories that come rushing back when you throw on some Mario Kart and destroying every single kid that lived on your block. Sure, you get some pleasure out of your Call of Duty kill streaks, but you can never quite replicate the satisfaction of getting a blue shell just in the nick of time.
14. Pokemon Cards
Not only do many kids who grew up in the 90s want to play with Pokémon cards again, many of us still do! Pokemon never really went away, but in the past couple of years the phenomenon made a huge comeback. Pokemon Go had people outside walking around their neighborhoods, interacting with others, getting exercise and fresh air. Although the game came on the scene with a bang and has since fizzled out, there are still plenty out there who still cherish and continue to add to their Pokemon card collections. If you were a collector back in the day, you may be shocked to find out how much your dusty old cards are worth today. You can still find tons of Pokemon gear and accessories in most stores, and it really brings back memories of the days when the kid with the biggest binder of cards was the coolest kid on the block. It wasn’t quite as popular to actually play the card game, but get a group of 90s kids together and listen to them go on about their collection that they still have somewhere in their mom’s attic.
13. Bop It
Bop It has certainly come a long way since it’s release in 1996. The original that we grew up with had three functions – Twist, Pull, and of course, Bop it! The battery operated game would shout out instructions for you to either twist, pull, or bop it and then hand it off to a friend. If you couldn’t do it fast enough, you lose! The game supposedly had a method to its madness, saying that it could improve cognitive skills like multitasking and teamwork. Sure, that may be true, but most of us would just frantically twist, pull, bop, and pass until we were laughing so hard our belly ached. The latest models of BopIt are more advanced, and include a few more challenges in which you had to flick one and spin another. The more complicated versions look like one of the faux steering wheels you’d use to play Mario Kart on the Wii. The new and improved models are great, and add a new level of challenges. That being said, 90s kids will always remember the handle-shaped game that we’d pass around in our bedrooms, or if you were lucky enough, in the school cafeteria.
Tamagotchis are actually not a very good toy, however so many adults who grew up with them want to give it another go. There was nothing quite like neglecting and killing a creature that depended on you for everything before you even hit puberty. Tamagotchis are so useless, that even TIME ranked it among the 50 Worst Inventions. Yes, we all know it and yes, we are aware that in reality they are a waste of money. These facts don’t stop true former 90s kids from wanting to give it another shot now that they’re responsible adults. Surely you’d be able to keep them alive this time, right? Your inner child is challenging you to not kill your beloved “pet” this time. As simple as Tamagotchi seemed, having only three tiny buttons to control the device, they sure were difficult. You’d feed it in the morning, stick the egg-shaped toy on your nightstand, and if you didn’t make it home to feed it at just the right time, it would be dead before you could even blink. Turn your back for just a moment and you could lose it! Sure seems pretty stressful, doesn’t it? Yet it also sort of feels like we’ve got something to prove. Give me a Tamagotchi, and I’ll show you I can keep it alive this time, I swear.
11. Tech Decks
Tech Decks seem like they could be the childish equivalent of a zen garden. I mean sure, when John from marketing walks into your office and sees you doing some sick kick flips over the stack of paperwork that was due in an hour ago he may suggest a zen garden. Don’t let that ruin the fun. It is a mindless toy that takes little thought, but a heck of a lot of patience and dexterity to pull off all the best tricks. Any kid who could master them back in the day was the King of the Lunch Table. Now, most kids who used Tech Decks couldn’t even get an ollie down on a real skateboard, but that kid could pull off some moves on a tabletop. Give him a Geometry book and he’d show you a good time. If you were really cool, you had the tiny little “skate park” kit to really show off. The fingerboard phenomenon existed well before the 90s, but it wasn’t until that time that the past time began to boom. Spin Master began producing the miniature skateboards with designs and logos that helped the products really take off. The best part about Tech Decks is how easy it was to convince your parents to get them. Inexpensive, minimal damage to your house, what else could parents want in a toy? It would be nice to get your hands on a few of these bad boys to take them for a spin around the coffee table, for old times’ sake.
10. Razor Scooter
The Razor scooter is one of those things that most of us who grew up riding them have a love-hate relationship with. Many summer days were spent coasting down the biggest hills in the neighborhood, although sometimes it came with a price – the skin on your ankles. Despite the painful scrapes that came with twirling the Razor around to show off for your friends, we all happily rode around wearing Lion King band-aids on our ankles with pride. The over-hyped scooter made its debut in 1999, sending kids and parents into a frenzy trying to get their hands on one of these scooters that came with way too high a price tag. You wouldn’t think that a few hunks of aluminum and polyurethane wheels would be too costly until you walked into a Walmart circa 2000 and your jaw dropped at the sight of the price tags ranging from $99-$150. Adults who lost their Razor scooter, probably to the elements after leaving it out in the rain for two months even though your mom told you not to, would be happy to know that the average cost of a Razor scooter these days is about $30. Enjoy your nostalgic ride, and watch your ankles!
9. Easy Bake Ovens
Sure, as an adult you could easily go to the supermarket and buy some brownie mix and bake it in your oven (unsupervised) like the big bad grown up that you are. OR, to make things more interesting, we could just whip out the trusty old Easy Bake Oven from our childhood. Lately there have been a few trends of toys coming out that are in the same realm as Easy Bake Ovens. Yummy Nummies and Popin’ Cookin’ kits are all the rage right now, but sometimes it seems that adults are more enthralled by them than the children they bought them for. Even though we are more than capable of cooking real, nutritious foods in our big-kid kitchens, a small part of us is still fascinated with the idea of popping cake mix into a plastic box to be cooked with a lightbulb. Sure, it may take a solid 45 minutes for a spoonful of batter to cook thoroughly, but yet for some reason we always react with awe once we pop it out. While the batter mixes are probably made with some non-food products, the scent while they’re cooking replicates a fresh batch of homemade cookies baking in the oven. If I recall correctly, they didn’t taste all that bad either. While the design has changed a bit since the 90s, the method seems to be pretty similar. It could be fun to revisit the good old days of being allowed to bake your own desserts!
8. Silly Putty
Let’s be real, the biggest appeal of Silly Putty is, and has always been the fart noises it makes. Is that immature? Yes, absolutely. But you can’t tell me that you didn’t spend a good portion of your childhood making them. Silly Putty was one of those toys that was simple and seemingly pointless, yet every kid wanted some. The noises and the putty’s ability to pick up ink from a newspaper and make a perfect print were really the only uses for the stuff, but that doesn’t stop us from recognizing how satisfying it still is squishing it and taking us back to our roots. While this product was introduced back in the 40s by accident due to a shortage of rubber, so many of us spent our childhoods in the 1990s playing with the seemingly ancient goo. However, there’s obviously a reason that this stuff has been around so long – it is just good old fashioned fun. It is inexpensive, easy to come by, and kids love to smash it and imprint on it, and as I mentioned above, master the epic fart noises. It brings back memories of a simple time when being handed a wad of what looked to be chewed up bubble gum brought a smile to your face.
7. Super Soakers
Super Soakers were awesome for you, but terrible for your parents or any other adult who had to deal with the aftermath of a Super Soaker battle. Not all of us were fortunate enough to have a nice, cool swimming pool in our backyards as kids. The best solution? Spending the hottest hours of a summer afternoon spraying ice-cold hose water from a water gun that was bigger than your kid brother. A prototype of the classic toy was created by a former engineer for the Air Force and NASA, Lonnie G. Johnson, in 1982. However, it wasn’t until 1991 that the Super Soaker we all know and love was released to the public after the product was sold to the Larami Corp. Back in the day, costs for a Super Soaker ranged on average between $10-$50, depending on which model you begged your parents for. Today, you can find these babies online for upwards of $400, again, depending on the model. Since its original release, and since Nerf bought the product, dozens of models have been created and released for the enjoyment of children everywhere. Though the newer versions are pretty awesome, nothing quite beats a good old fashioned green and yellow Super Soaker we all recognize from our childhood summers.
6. GameBoy Color
Of all the GameBoys that have been released over the years, to a 90s kid the GameBoy color probably stands out the most. The original Game Boy was released in Japan in 1989, you know the big clunky gray one with the green screen. Though the graphics weren’t terrific and were very limited, this new handheld game system took off. It wasn’t until 1998 that the Game Boy Color was released. If the name weren’t obvious enough, one of the main features of this product was its ability to display 56 colors, unlike the original. Along with the colored screens, the color of the devices themselves were bold and fun. Red, blue, lime green, transparent purple – you name it! Everyone who owned one can still remember what color they had, and can probably rattle off their impressive collection of games. Though several models have been released since then, in our hearts the Game Boy color will always remain #1.
5. Socker Boppers
Socker Boppers, formerly known as Sock’em Boppers to those of us who remember the originals, seemed like a terrible idea right from the start, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to get our hands on a pair even today. The red and blue inflatable wanna-be boxing gloves had to be every mom’s worst nightmare. You’d blow them up and spend the next hour or so pounding on your siblings or friends until someone cried. One would think that with a giant ball of air a hit to the face or gut wouldn’t hurt so bad, but you are oh so wrong. The plastic material, coupled with the over-inflation for maximum damage, were sometimes enough to make you forget that these things were meant to offer protection while you happily bopped away. The advertisements always shouted that these were better than a pillow fight, but I don’t remember pillows ever hurting quite as much. For a short time I felt like this was one of those Mandela Effects, as I specifically remembered the toys being called Sock’em Boppers back then. Turns out, the name really was changed when the product regained popularity to Socker Boppers for unknown reasons.
Looking back, this is actually a terrible, terrible idea as a toy for children. If you were ever lucky enough to snag a pack of these toxic experiments, then you know that just the smell alone should have raised an enormous red flag. All the more reason to add it to this list! Bubbles have evolved quite a bit since the original soap and plastic wand that we all still love, and none of them have been particularly smart decisions. We had bubbles that were flavored and scented, and kids were encouraged to catch them on their tongues. We had bubbles that were colored, and when they pop the dye will stain everything it lands on. Yet the best is the toxic liquid plastic that we exhaled (and sometimes inhaled) into and bounced around on our hands. By the end of a long day blowing these bubbles, you were guaranteed to have a headache for two reasons: the amount of breath necessary to actually created a bubble, and the incredible fumes that were in dangerous proximity to your nose. The end result of all your hard work and sacrifice was usually an oblong, bulging bubble-like shape that served no further purpose. They were fun to deflate, though, and I’m sure as an adult most of us would still get some satisfaction out of trying these out again.
3. Moon Shoes
First of all, I think everyone is in agreement in wanting to know who decided that this was a suitable toy for children. Anyone in their right mind can look at these contraptions and know that you should not let a small child use them, but hey, this was the 90s and we must have been a bunch of daredevils. Moon Shoes were created to supposedly mimic the feeling of walking on the moon. Basically they were comprised of two giant, clunky plastic ovals with elastic bands stretched across the hole in the middle. Each step you took was supposed to be bouncy and weightless. However, children don’t always like to follow safety precautions and they would hop, skip, jump and horse around with these things strapped to their feet. Needless to say, a huge concern came up about the actual safety of Moon Shoes and parents began to fear broken ankles among other threats to their child’s safety. Too add on to the lack of safety, the device itself that was meant to lock a child’s foot in place was simply a strap of Velcro. Yes, the only thing protecting your legs and ankles was a plastic shoe-shaped piece on top of the elastic bands, and two Velcro straps. Okay, so maybe Moon Shoes wouldn’t work quite as well with a 150 lb adult hopping about in them, but what we wouldn’t give for an adult-friendly version of these ankle death traps.
2. Sit n’ Spin
Hey, you know what would make a great toy for children? A way to recreate the feeling of a massive hangover on a Sunday morning after a night of throwing back shots of Fireball into the wee hours of the morning. The room will spin, you’ll feel so nauseous your face may actually turn green, and you’ll for sure want to lay down in the middle of your living room and await certain death. Oh, we’ll call it the Sit ‘n Spin! I don’t know what it is about children, but nothing throws them off kilter. You put a five-year-old on one of these bad boys, and he’ll stand up and race up a hill and roll back down like it’s nothing. Although we know that nowadays we would absolutely lose our lunch after a few rounds, something about this toy makes us want to jump on and see how long we can go at full speed with adult-sized muscles. Now technically, these things have been around since the 1970s, but I don’t know many kids from the 90s who didn’t have a brand new 1990s model of the original Sit n’ Spin. While the intelligent side of your brain tells you that you don’t need a hunk of plastic to bring on the spins (adults just use alcohol for that), the other half of our brains tell us we just want to try it one more time. A decision that would probably bring about a bit a regret, but it would be so worth it to fling yourself off one of these babies again.
1. Nickelodeon’s Gak
Remember as a kid in the 90s, coming home from school and putting on Nickelodeon’s “Slime Time Live”? Only 90s kids would give anything to sit up on a stage and voluntarily have green slime dumped over their heads, smiling and waving as the icky slime globbed over their faces. Yet we said, “Hey, I want to try that!” The 90s were all about goop and slime, so they introduced Gak. It serves no real purpose – you can’t mold it, shape it, or use it in any other way than allowing it to run through your fingers. These days, it seems less like fun, but more like just purely satisfying. There are all sorts of stress relief tactics out there, but I think that you put a glob of Gak in anyone’s hand, and you’ve got instant relief. “Satisfying Videos” are pretty popular on YouTube right now, and there’s bound to be a video or two including someone playing with this stuff. Gross, cool, relaxing – definitely something our inner child would love to get their hands on. Gak just brings back all of our memories of slime and goo that are so often related to the 1990s. Just don’t let your parents find out that some of it got smashed on your bedroom carpet.
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