Forget Xbox One, Call of Duty, Emojis and picking the perfect filter on Instagram.. Kids these days don’t know how to be kids.
I would know – I was a ’90s Kid, and everybody knows that we did being young best. To prove it, here are ten awesome ’90s kids toys that everybody who grew up in the Nineties will remember playing with at some time during their illustrious childhood:
An annoying little Gremlin-like creature that took the young world by storm due to their perceived intelligence. They could learn to talk, sleep, communicate with other Furbys and display emotions. In reality, it was just a few cleverly placed infrared sensors and some good programming. Nevertheless, the Furby was about as close to a real pet as you could get, without actually getting a real pet.
It didn’t take long for everybody to get fed up with the constant cries for attention and noises in the dead of the night, before the batteries were removed and our furry little friends were sent to live out their days in the darkness of the attic.
If you fancy turning back the clock, you’ll be happy to know that Furbys have made a bit of a comeback in recent years!
Super Soaker (1989)
As console gaming began to grow in popularity, a toy that got children out of the house during the summer holidays was much welcomed. Sun, exercise and a bit of water.. What could go wrong?
Anybody that has come under fire from one of these things will know that it is so much more than a bit of water. It’s a bit of water that has been forced towards you at high speed by air pressure. Injury-related rumours ranged from bruising to eyes popping out of their sockets – I can’t confirm whether those rumours are true, but I can confirm that getting hit with a Super Soaker CPS 2000 hurts. A lot.
The GameBoy for those born early on in the decade and the GameBoy Colour for those that came later, Nintendo’s hit handheld was part of every ’90s Kid’s arsenal, and it was almost guaranteed to be carrying a copy of Pokémon. Red and Blue, Gold and Silver, Ruby and Sapphire.. Those were the days.
The Super Nintendo or the N64 were great, but a console that you could carry around in your pocket? Awesome.
Towards the back-end of the decades these things began to pop up in every decent corner shop, and they quickly became the talk of the playground. A squishy alien covered in goo, these things would get stuck everywhere and anywhere, from the ceiling to your trouser pocket.
Everybody will remember that one guy who managed to create an alien baby, as well as the disappointment when you tried it yourself and nothing happened. Legend said was putting two of these things back-to-back in the fridge overnight would create an alien baby that would have to be squeezed out of one of their heads. However, after countless alien dissections we all eventually realised that the creation of life was asking just a little too much from these £2 toys.
The place to look if you wanted to know what the next coolest thing was going to be was the television. Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel and the now defunct Fox Kids (later Jetix), were influential. Whatever product was being shoved in our face in-between episodes of Keenan and Kel, Pokémon, Goosebumps, Saved By The Bell and all the rest, we had to have.
One such product was Floam, manufactured and pushed by Nickelodeon from 1994 onwards. The gooey substance was mixed with beads to create a moldable material that could be shaped in to just about anything. Unfortunately, it was more likely to end up trodden into the carpet.
No cool party was complete without a home-made Slush Puppy straight out of Mr Frosty. Just put some ice in his head, crank the crank and drink up.
Although, what seemed at the time to be the coolest thing ever invented turned out to be pretty anti-climatic, given the amount of effort that it took to make the smallest amount of slush. Crushing ice always proved to be a much harder task than it sounded, but it beat getting shot with a Super Soaker on a hot day, I suppose.
Koosh Ball (1989)
A rubber ball with lots of little strands of rubber coming off of it.. If given to a kid nowadays chances are that it wouldn’t be appreciated for more than a couple of minutes, but back in the day it was the pillar of every child’s bedroom.
Nothing beats the sensation of watching a Koosh Ball bouncing up and down by a single strand, or seeing your perfectly placed throw hit your older brother right in the face.
If you thought the Furby was hard work, the Tamagotchi definitely wasn’t the toy for you. A little virtual pet which you was tasked with cleaning, feeding, teaching, entertaining and caring for when they were unwell – it was like being throw into the realm of parenthood before we were old enough to look after ourselves, and boy did we take on the challenge, in pursuit of the best possible pixelated monster available.
These things consumed every moment of our lives. We all began setting our alarms for middle of the night feeds, or risking the wrath of the teacher to exercise our virtual child during class. Aside from a lack of sleep, they also caused plenty of tears. I’ll never forget the day that I left mine inside my bag at school overnight, only to find it dead by the following morning.
Like the Furby, the Tamagotchi hasn’t been consigned to history. The original model is now available as an app on iOS and Android, or if you would prefer the full experience, newer models are still in production, with a number of new features to explore.
Despite being the cheapest item on this list, these yo-yo-esque water-filled balls consumed a large portion of every ’90s Kid’s childhood. They seemed to really bring out our destructive side, whether we were swinging it around our heads to see how much tension the cord could take, or smashing it against a brick wall to try and make it pop. It’s quite surprising how much of a beating this 99p toy could take.
If you’re dreaming of reliving those days, stop. Yo-Balls are notoriously difficult to get hold of now, as they have been banned in many parts of the world. Playground rumours would have you believe that it was due to the liquid filling, which supposedly contained acid, which had caused one kid to go blind. While these things were dangerous, the ban was actually put in place due to a number of cases in which the cord had wrapped around the user’s neck, posing a potential risk of strangulation.
Pokémon Cards (1998)
The currency of every ’90s playground everywhere. Given the popularity of the cartoon and video games, Pokémon cards were collected and traded by everybody, both male and female, throughout the vast majority of my primary school days.
Nobody actually knew how to play the game, but we were all in pursuit of our favourite Pokémon, or even better, that shiny Charizard card, now worth a figure in the thousands if you were lucky enough to get a first edition.
The Pokémon trading card game is still very much alive, with championships held around the world annually. I’ve often had the urge to buy a pack for nostalgic purposes, but if it isn’t the original 150, then I’m not interesting.