Last week, they announced a Furby reboot for 2012. In case you were living in a cave in 1998, Furbies were the “it” toy of the season – little robot owl-hamster-things who start out speaking Furbish and “learn” English the longer you own them. I actually never had a Furby (or a Tamagotchi, despite my begging), but here are some of the awesome toys I did have that could also use a reboot:
As you can see from the awesomely early ’90s picture, Skip-Its were a ball attached to a ring that went around your ankle. Then, when you skipped, the ball would swing around and you’d jump over it. The “newer” versions had a counter on them that would tell you how many skips you’d made. Needless to say, I was the Skip-It champion of my group of friends. How much does the girl in the picture look like My Girl‘s Anna Chlumsky, by the way? I mean, I wish.
And Floam of course. Apparently, they have reissued these amazingly pointless toys, but obviously the’ 90s version was so much more legit than whatever gussied up facsimile they’re hawking now. Gak was basically a squishy slimey substance that made a farting noise when you pushed it into its star-shaped holder. I was just into playing with it and pretending I was on a Nickelodeon game show about to get slimed (my deepest, darkest fantasy to this day). Floam was similarly mushy but had a more foamy texture and was filled with weird little microbeads. It also stained like a mofo – totally part of the fun.
Developed as a competitor for the more expensive (and likely more popular) TalkBoy made famous in Home Alone, the Yak Bak was a simple recording toy where the user could speak a word into the recorder and play it back. Later versions had lots of bells and whistles like an alarm (so theoretically you could attach it to a drawer and know when someone was trespassing) and voice-warping capabilities. I just liked the funky colors.
To this day, I have no idea how to actually play with Pogs, but, boy, did I collect them. I’m pretty sure the game involved slamming down on a pile of pogs and seeing which ones land face up. Thrilling, I know. What we really got into as kids were trying to get as many with cool designs and colors as possible. I’m not sure why kids love the sheer act of collecting so much, but Pogs definitely cashed in on that. In the ultimate grownups-are-lame move ever, many schools banned them because the game was too similar to gambling. Of course, that only made Pogs all the more precious and exciting.
These were actually a little too masculine for my taste, but I definitely had friends who were into them and I’d play along. Okay, let’s admit it, they were pretty fun. The whole thing involved pouring a colored liquid called Plastigoop into molds shaped like bugs and then cooking them in the oven pictured above. Like a really gross, non-edible E-Z Bake Oven. I’m still amazed that they thought it was a good idea to let children stick their hands into ovens, but who’s complaining? Later, they started making glittery Plastigoop and I got a lot more into the concept.
Handheld Electronic Games
Most often produced by Tiger Electronics, these were a total pre-cursor to the iPad-and-iPhone-toting children of today. At the time, these were the ultimate in technological advancements, and probably a huge relief for parents who didn’t want to shell out for a Gameboy but also didn’t want to deal with screaming kids on every car and plane ride. Each device held only one game and the commands were extremely basic. I had the Little Mermaid version, pictured above. Basically, these were my perfect video games and I miss them to this day.
This game literally consisted of putting dirty, ugly rocks into a tumbling machine and emerging with gorgeous, dazzling jewels. Which is to say, THIS GAME “ROCKS”! I loved accumulating a pile of sparkly jewels to toss into the air like my own, feminine version of Scrooge McDuck. They could also be used to adorn jewelry or trade with friends or just to look at anytime you wanted to feel deliriously happy.