Growing Up In the 1990’s: The Best Toys

by Reception Chronicles


I am not sure if there were strict rules to Pogs but at the end of the day whoever had the most, the coolest slammer and the craziest carrying tube was considered the coolest in the group.  The fun came crashing down when schools deemed Pogs as a form of gambling and just plain old sucked the fun out of life.  I never forgot the commercial because it was perfect for kids.  An epileptic extravaganza of flashing images and obvious subliminal messages that made us all jump up and down in ecstasy and in need of more Pogs immediately.


One of the creepiest addictive toys of the time.  They looked like spaced out gremlins and were somewhat fun until you realize all they do is constantly complain. Can’t sit in the dark, they would snore, start screaming if you spun it too fast and just overall never shut up.  I remember a time where me and my sister were in the backseat of the car and my dad went so crazy at the Furbys and their constant noises that he grabbed them and threw them in the trunk and then continued home.  Of course it didn’t solve anything because the sound of the Furbys filtered through and just freaked out about being in the dark and rolling around the trunk.  We put our parents through so much pain as kids.


Yo-Yo’s made a fierce comeback in the 1990s.  They lit up, sold instructional books and videos on how to do tricks and a surge of competitions arose around the country.  I am guilty of buying an instructional video.  One attempt at an “around the world” combined with the thing slipping off my finger resulted in me not finding it.  The official end of my Yo Yo career.


In my opinion, this console ranks first.  It had great games, awkward remotes and game cartridges that you constantly had to blow into as a way to fix any problem with it.  The best game out of them all? Mario Party!  Even though it ended in fights, welts and blisters, it was worth it!


These seemed to be the biggest epidemic of toys in the 1990s.  It came to a point where your popularity was determined by the number of Beanie Babys you owned.  If you wrinkled, folded or ripped off the heart tag, you were shunned from society.  This prompted the selling of tag protectors and special casings for the precious bags of beans.  They went from being worth a fortune to absolutely nothing and to this day I know most of us have bags of Beanie Babys stacked somewhere in the attic hoping that one day these toys will make a comeback. Until then, we shower ourselves with regret and shame.


Polly Pocket allows a kid to carry the doll and her home in a pocket sized case.  It is a travel scrabble version of dolls and even though it was a limited world within the Polly Pocket case, we never seemed to get bored of it.  The only downside is Polly would continuously plummet from her second story home into the garden or become lost in the real world.


These were handheld digital pets that could hang off a key chain or smuggle into the classroom.  Once again, they were banned from school due to the fact that the pets died so quickly without constant care and our pets well-being became priority to our education.  In the end, I still have to use a calculator for basic math so I don’t know what the fuss was all about.


Stickers, binders, posters, notebooks and so much more.  They featured animals, rainbows and anything else you could imagine in bright colors.  I’m not sure if it was nerdy or cool to be decked out in Lisa Frank but oh well I did it anyway and probably would still today.


Knex came in a huge box full of rods and connectors that you could form into an architectural masterpiece.  You could make roller coasters, Ferris wheels, carousels, ball towers and so much more.  The common danger is if you connected it wrong or had some mistake in the track, it misfires a ball into the assemblers or an irritated mother who has asked you to move the contraption for days.  The nice thing about it was even if you didn’t finish it, you could always sucker your dad into “helping out” and letting him take on the project.


Bop it! Twist it! Pull it!….Awww. One of the most frustrating and intense toys of the decade.  The aim of the game is to follow the commands as fast as you can because any hesitation, wrong maneuver or if your like me your sweat covered hands slip, it ends with an awww.  The inner rage and insanity comes flying out of you if you get so far or nearly beat the high score so don’t stand close to anyone.


I have come to a realization that maybe kids are heavier today because the toys are so simple.  Everything is electronic and requires no movement while us kids in the 90s had to haul our butts around the room picking up plastic balls and throwing them into Mr Bucket.  We had to work for our title as winner even though most of the time I wanted to kick Mr Bucket out of frustration.


Their slogan was gotta catch em all and boy did we try.  I didn’t know how to play or what the cards meant but every other kid had them so I had to have them.  The only use they had in the end was propping up an uneven table leg.  In the end, it was not us that caught them all,  it was a smart marketing ploy that had us all.