16 Nostalgic Toys That Are Back For A New Generation (You’re Welcome, New Generation)
The toys of the ’80s and ’90s were the best toys ever made and I’m not interested in hearing any arguments to the contrary.
Tanner Greenring · 8 months ago
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I know, I know … every generation thinks that the toys they came up with are the best toys. But the toys of the ’80s and ’90s really were the best toys ever made and I’m not interested in hearing any arguments to the contrary.
Modern day parents had a lot of really great toy options when they were kids. So great, in fact, that they’re actually being reproduced for modern kids, ’cuz why should they miss out on all the fun? Share in the good times together with these classic toys and games that have been reproduced for the modern age.
1. Tiger Electronics Handheld Games
We didn’t have the Nintendo Switch back in 1992 — we had Tiger Electronics. These things were cutting edge back then, featuring tiny little LCD screens that technically had every single game sprite and level baked right into the display. If you had a paperclip handy, all you needed to do was push in the reset button and get a preview of the entire game.
2. Masters of the Universe Action Figures
Okay let’s ignore the pretty aggressive displays of masculinity for a moment and focus instead on how TOTALLY AWESOME ALL THESE ACTION FIGURES ARE. Mattel is bringing back He-Man, Skeletor, and the rest of the Masters Of The Universe exclusively with Walmart, and they haven’t changed a thing about their classic ’80s designs. Now we just need to wait for them to bring back Castle Grayskull and we’ll be all set.
3. Lite Brite
Such a simple concept, and so capable of absorbing us for hours on end when we were kids. Lite Brite came with templates you could follow to light up some classic designs, but you could also go off-book and make your own creations, which more often than not just ended up doing double duty as a nightlight for most of us.
Ah, yes. Finally the next generation can experience the torment of waking up in the middle of the night to clean up virtual poop just to wake up the next morning to discover that despite your best intentions, your Tamagotchi has passed away, leaving behind a tiny little gravemarker. Truly a formative experience for everyone that went through it, and we ALL went through it back when Tamagotchis first came out.
5. Tonka Steel Trucks
The iconic Tonka truck isn’t technically a product of the ’80s or ’90s — it actually first came out in 1964, so they’ve been going strong for three entire generations at this point. These trucks are timeless, and they’re built from stainless steel so they’re incredibly durable. You can leave one of these things outside for the winter and pick up right where you left off in the spring once the ice thaws. (I’m speaking from personal experience.)
6. Pound Puppies
Pound Puppies are more than just adorable toys with big sad eyes that made you fall in love the moment you saw them, they were a part of the family. Truly an innovator in the unboxing space, Pound Puppies came with a certificate of adoption that you were encouraged to fill out and probably frame and display proudly like I chose to when I was four.
7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles never really went away, but they’ve changed quite a bit over the years. Parents these days probably wouldn’t even recognize Leo, Mike, Raph, and Don if they saw them. These reproductions are meant more for serious collectors, and they’re certainly not the cheap $10 figurines we grew up with. The quality of these toys is truly remarkable, so you might find a way to justify the pretty hefty expense.
8. Fisher Price Farmer Says See 'N Say
Fisher-Price Toys / Basic Fun
For a lot of us, the See ’N Say was our first foray into the world of DJing. You were meant to pull the lever to hear a somewhat fuzzy recording of whatever animal the arrow happened to be pointing at, but most manipulated the arm to scratch and warp the audio track and make some pretty sick remixes. Who knows, maybe it’ll inspire a whole new generation of Soundcloud rappers?
9. M.U.S.C.L.E. Figurines
Thinking back on my own M.U.S.C.L.E. obsession as a kid, I couldn’t tell you what was so appealing about these weird little fleshy figurines. They didn’t do anything, they weren’t poseable … heck they weren’t even painted. But there were A TON of them, so they certainly appealed to that instinct we all have to collect — the same impulse that’s made blind packs and Funko Pops so popular today.
10. Polly Pocket
Polly Pocket (and her counterpart Mighty Max) took the concept of the dollhouse and shrunk it down into portable little compacts, often designed to look like make-up containers or purses. The true genius behind these toys, however, was how incredibly easy it was to lose all the little dolls and pieces, which meant you just needed to buy more to restock your supplies. Genius.
11. Care Bears
Care Bears / Basic Fun
Caring is what counts. It was true back in the ’80s, and it’s still true today. The Care Bears have been reimagined and updated for modern audiences. They’re a little less cutesy and precious these days, but they’re all still pretty open about their feelings. They probably had something to do with our entire generation being so open about mental health, so here’s hoping they have the same impact on the next generation.
12. Nickelodeon Slime
Every kid in the ’80s and ’90s dreamed of being slimed on Nickelodeon. Nobody knew what the stuff was or why it was so appealing, but it was core to the network’s identity back then. Slime (and its cousins, Gak and Floam) were packaged up for home use in the ’90s, but fell off the radar for a while (probably because parents got sick of it constantly getting embedded in rugs). But now it’s triumphantly returned once again! Rugs be warned!
13. Playstation Classic
When the Sony PlayStation first came out in 1995, it blew us all away. We had never seen graphics so crisp and detailed, or 3D environments so lush, or character models with so many polygons that you could sometimes almost make out their faces. We felt truly blessed by the huge step forward back then, and now you can recreate that feeling with the Playstation Classic, which comes with 20 iconic games from the ’90s.
14. Fisher Price Chatter Phone
Fisher-Price Toys / Basic Fun
For some reason, every kid in America seemed to have one of these things in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. It’s gone through a few redesigns since then and lost a bit of its creepy charm, but Fisher Price has brought back the classic design again (even though phones like this are essentially nonexistent at this point). Its shifty little eyeballs are ALWAYS watching.
15. Playskool Lullaby Gloworm
Gloworms were like nightlights you could bring right into bed with you. They were soft like stuffed animals, but when you squeezed them, their heads would light up with the most soft and soothing light you’d ever seen. Later versions would also play music and stories, which is a bit more like the modern incarnation of the toy.
16. Strawberry Shortcake
Strawberry Shortcake is another one of those properties that has never truly gone away but has changed so much that it’s just not the same as the character we all grew up with. The classic designs are all being reproduced again, though, complete with scented hair. That smell will be burned into my memory for the rest of my life.
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