Vintage Toys!

11 Apr

So when I was a wee tot, there were certain toys that I would have begged, borrowed, and stolen for (yes, I’d have shanked another second grader for their material goods, what’s your problem?). I insisted to my poor mother that I would surely DIE if I didn’t get these toys, and if she loved me and didn’t want to feed me to a pack of rabid dogs (which in our household would have been a pack of these):

Ferocious Flesh-Eating Bassets

She’d punch people out at Child World and get me the AWESOMEST TOYS IN THE UNIVERSE. To quote dear old ma I had to “get over it” and instead, wound up with only HALF of the toys I’d SURELY DIE WITHOUT, which meant I was doing pretty good – way better than some other kids were, anyway.

Without further ado, here’s the list of “Hillary’s Awesomest 80’s Toys”.

Fireball Island


I loved this game. I loved it so much I think I made everyone play it with me, up to and including the mailman and that creepy guy that used to walk his springer spaniels down the street (I think his name was Jay, and my grandmother insisted he was a weirdo and probably killed children). Not only did this game have an EPIC VOLCANO GOD HEAD at the top, but you got to knock dudes over with a little red marble, which was the highlight of the game. Who cared about capturing the stupid gem? You got to stick your finger in the death head mouth and FIREBALL THE SHIT OUT OF YOUR FRIENDS.

Snoopy Snow Cone Machine

I never actually got this, but Lord, I wanted one. I wanted one so bad. I envisioned myself making multiple layer snowcones with various colors. They’d be delicious, and I’d sell them for bologne sandwiches and souls. I know exactly why my mother didn’t get this for me: one, I was round enough without adding MORE SUGARY TREATS to my diet, and two this was a mess waiting to happen. You squirted red and purple dye all over ice. That’d look lovely on your walls, rug, floor, and in your hair. That shit woulda gotten everywhere, and with all that sugar in it? Yeah, it’d be sticky. Gross.

My Little Pony

Okay, every girl I knew had My Little Ponies. They had this really sweet smell, and great pony hair, and tattoos which were likely pony gang signs on their ass flanks. The thing that cracks me up about the ponies? There isn’t a whole lot they do. They aren’t a game, you can’t win with them. You can’t dress them up like Barbie, or make their joints bend to put them in spectacular pony poses. The only purpose of My Little Ponies is to get more ponies. You want them all, leagues of them, scores of plastic ponies to sic upon your enemies. This predated Pokemon by a lot, but the concept was the same: gotta catch ’em all. Ponies with flowers on them, ponies with gems, ponies with hearts, ponies with tramp stamps. And if you think the pink plastic ponies were all girl ponies? You’re wrong. My Little Ponies were metro before there was metro. The queerest looking sparkle pony you could find was probably equipped with a little pony wang that – conveniently for parents everywhere – just so happened to be magically invisible.

Mouse Trap

I don’t remember much about Mouse Trap other than the four trillion hours it took to assemble the fucking game board before you even got to play. There was the mouse trap itself and a man in a tub and a lever thing and all sorts of other random bullshit, and if you ever lost a piece the whole operation went tits up and you might as well play Go Fish. That didn’t deter me, though – I was a stubborn little shit, and goddamnit, WE WERE GONNA PLAY MOUSETRAP – so I’d go about setting it up, anal retentive in my assembly. Eventually, a year after the idea of playing mouse trap actually set in, I’d have it ready to go. I’d sit down, roll the dice or do whatever it was Mouse Trap required, and for all of my set-up labors, it’d be over in like fifteen minutes. The only way to justify your initial investment? Play it over and over, until your eyes went dry and your bladder exploded.

(Sidenote: the only game that evoked this level of childhood OCD was The Game of Life, when you’d have to put the little houses in the cardboard slots on the game board).

Hot Wheels Car Wash

This is another one I didn’t own. In fact, most of my friends didn’t own it, but someone I knew had this thing (likely a friend with a little brother) and I was FASCINATED by the concept of actual water used in play. Like, you put the car in, spin the thingers, and HOLY SHIT IT GOES INTO THIS THING THAT YOU POUR WATER IN AND IT ACTUALLY GETS WET. I remember some Barbie hot tub thing that you added water to, too, and I was obsessed with that as well. Water brought play time to a whole new messy level. Did I care about the car going into the make believe car wash? No! I just wanted to see water raining down on it and know that at that moment, I was a small rain godling. The part I recall liking almost as much as the water? The fact that the car was almost automated in its progression through the car wash, and after a FANTASTIC ELEVATOR JOURNEY (hand cranked) it’d end on this spectacular little ramp that shot it down like a bullet.

Hot Wheels ruled. Why did I collect those stupid ponies again?

She-Ra Toys

I end here, on the Princess of Power herself: She-Ra.

I Have Nipple Chubbies Looking At This

I think I had all of those figures, though Queen Frosta was a huge favorite because she was shiny and blue, and I really liked Glimmer because her accessories glowed in the dark and GLOW IN THE DARK THINGS ROCKED NADS. I was absolutely awful about losing stuff as a little kid (still am for that matter) but I was a Nazi about Glimmer’s accessories, keeping them tacked to my forehead with darts. Glow in the dark crowns were far too precious to lose, yo. I had Swiftwind, and Castaspella and even that big lamer Bow. These were the pride of my toy collection, and I recall taking the figures with me everywhere so I could engage in epic She-Ra battle with my girlfriends.

There are so many other games and toys I loved. I had a Nintendo and played Super Mario 1 & 2 til I zombified. I remember going over my friend Laurie’s house and playing the crap out of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, too. I loved Candyland, and let’s not forget my Rainbow Bright doll or the Jem and the Holograms toys. I had a glowworm, and a Light Bright and an easy bake oven.

So, let’s evoke some nostalgia around these parts: what toy or game did you obsess over and why?


29 Responses to “Vintage Toys!”

  1. Bika April 11, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    Shiiiit, I didn’t have nearly so many of the cool toys, but I’ll tell you what I DID have: a Barbie fuckin’ hot tub. That shit had a bulb you could squeeze to make bubbles come out of the vents. It was fucking awesome. My mom’s mom had a Hot Wheels car wash up at her house and that was fun as hell to play with; my dad’s mom had a laundry basket full to the top with Atari games. Loved it.

  2. Bika April 11, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    Oh, also: Toys that SOUNDED cool until you got a chance to try them: Skip-It and the Pogo Ball. At least when you played jumprope or rode bikes, it was *fun* exercise. Skip-it and Pogo Ball were just laaaaaame.

    • Hillary April 11, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

      Had both of those, and the pogo ball was a bad idea. My mother thought I’d kill myself. Skip it I tried for a while, but it grew old fast (I remember it had a counter on it). Remember Sit And Spins?

      • Bika April 11, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

        I was too big for one of those by the time I found myself in close proximity to one. Just isn’t the same when it scrapes the ground as you try to turn it.

  3. Caulle April 12, 2011 at 1:31 am #

    Letsee… Transformers, Thundercats, G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, COPS, He-Man… I know you’re super shocked.

    • Bika April 12, 2011 at 7:21 am #

      TMNT were awesome.

    • Hillary April 12, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      Eric was a huge TCats dude. The rest of those toys are very boy-like, Caulle. Way to fail at the Order of the Boobs.

      • Caulle April 12, 2011 at 11:32 am #

        We went over this the other day. I’m all boobed out for the rest of the year.

  4. Sara April 12, 2011 at 5:38 am #

    I had the My Little Pony shower. It was a rainbow with a cloud and the water came out of the cloud. I thought that was the greatest thing ever. My brother and I would use it as a He-Man shower as well. He-Man and his friends used the ponies as minions to destroy Barbie and steal her pink jeep.

    • Fallah April 12, 2011 at 9:29 am #

      We had this thing too! Only it wasn’t called the Pony shower, I forget what the damn thing was. Magical Pony Bath Spa or some shit? Technically my sister owned this one and she used it as leverage.

      • Sara April 12, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

        lol yeah I can not remember what it was called. I think I just called it the rainbow shower.

  5. Tami April 12, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    For me, My Little Ponies was all about the storytelling. We had grand adventures, my little stable of ponies and I.

    Also? I had the She-Ra CASTLE. The one with the “functional” elevator. And the butterfly-koala guy was just awesome.

    • Tami April 12, 2011 at 11:52 am #

      Oh! Oh! Also? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had the BEST toys.

  6. falconesse April 12, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    I don’t remember desperately wanting a Cabbage Patch Doll, but somehow the year that people were macing one another to get them in stores, I ended up with three: a boy, a girl, and a preemie. Also, a Cabbage Patch Pony.

    I had a ton of the Hollywood dolls, the ones whose hair changed color underwater.

    A girl I was friends with collected the Sylvanian Family animals. One year for her birthday, that was all she got. Someone (not me) had the bright idea, when she left the room for a minute, to hide them. The poor thing got really upset, and I remember her mom coming in and yelling at us until we found all the dolls. Kind of killed the party mood…

  7. Arrens April 12, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    I had Go-Bots, the cheap rip-off Transformers, though I didn’t think of them as such. They were cool and compact and easily stored in my pockets for long car rides, unlike Transformers, which were large and cumbersome.

    My favorite toy, however, was a gun that shot the soft rubber darts. I’d set up my GI Joes & Star Wars action figures (with the kung fu grip!) on the rail of the stairs leading to my room and shoot them down. Many was the time I heard my father yell “SON OF A BITCH” as he walked up the darkened staircase barefoot and find a few action figures I’d missed.

  8. Anna April 12, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    I had my little cabbage patch doll that I got so I’d have a “little baby” to go along with my baby brother, as well as a large collection of Troll dolls (the ones with the wacky hair) and a few barbies. Oh, and I had an Easy Bake Oven and a Creepy Crawlers machine. BEST TOY EVER. My brother collected TMNT figures, but other than that, I played almost exclusively with stuffed animals. Mostly bunnies.

    Go figure, right?

    I do remember just HAVING TO HAVE one of those stuffed kitties that had the tiny kittens inside, but I never got one.

  9. falconesse April 12, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    Pound Puppies and Pound Purries.

    • Sara April 12, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

      oh man, I forgot about pound puppies.

  10. Linedan April 12, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    Let’s see, since I’m at least ten years old than most of y’all, mine were a little different. I had some big model of the Eagle lander from “Space: 1999” (like, three feet long) that was awesome–ironic, considering I’ve never actually seen the show. I had some die-cast android figure things and spaceships that were the same scale as the figures that came with the Eagle, so I could have epic space pew-pew battles.

    Also, I had about eleventy-zillion Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars. When one of them would get a bent wheel or scratched up and just generally lost its cool? I would take my dad’s pliers and hammer and tear the shit out of it. Then I could stage car wrecks with the ambulances and police cars I had. (God forbid I ever actually *rolled* the cars, though, because as soon as I did I’d hear my mother screaming from downstairs about YOU WILL SCRATCH MY HARDWOOD FLOORS STOP IT NOW.)

    Oh yeah, and we had one of those pre-Atari-2600 game consoles. I don’t remember the brand, only that it had two slide controllers and a light gun and ten built-in games. PONG, MOTHERFUCKERS, DO YOU SPEAK IT?

  11. Fallah April 12, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    My sister owned the Snoopy Snow Cone Machine, and let me tell you: you weren’t missing out on much. You ground up ice cubes to make the “snow” only the thing had a blade in it about as sharp as a rubber eraser. And it made a sound like demons grinding their teeth in an echo chamber.

    That did not deter my two sister and I from gamely setting up a table in the front yard and trying to sell snow cones. Nope! We cranked away and cranked away and made an awful racket and maybe sold 2 and maybe ate 1 apiece before our hands hurt from the crank.

    The Most Epic Christmas Present Ever in a house with 3 girls? MLP PONY PALACE. Oh shit yes, those ponies were pimp and they had a palace. It was four or five different little rooms: a bedroom, a living room etc with a patio. I distinctly remember us putting our baby twin ponies to sleep in the little pony bed. And miracle of Christmas miracles, we actually did share the damn thing. It was a joint gift for all of us. That concept could have gone over like a lead balloon, but we all loved our damn ponies.

    I also owned Mouse Trap and would, like you, very carefully set up the whole board. And yes, we’d then play 3 or 4 games in a row. Do you remember the little cardboard cheese pieces? Hee. My set would actually work (as in all the little doodads would fly around and the mouse would be caught) about 1 out of 3 plays. Which was a lot better than most of my friends.

    We had the She-Ra castle, though I only remember having She-Ra and Catra as action figures. And a horse? I think there was a horse. If the series had a horse, we owned it.

    Jem! dolls of course. My favorite was the blue-haired chick, my sister liked Jem. They had these weird clear stands that one of their feet inserted into, so that they stood up straight, unlike Barbie who could never stand unattended. Do you remember that?

    Pound Purries everywhere.

    My grandmother MADE ME a Cabbage Patch knockoff when I was five. I really wanted one but my parents couldn’t afford a real one (obviously later years with castles and palaces things had changed). She had brown hair and brown eyes like me. I named her Sadie. My sister Shannon ripped out a chunk of her hair once and I got so mad I punched her in the face. (We usually got along swimmingly, so this was quite the rare occurrence. My mom did scold her but obviously I got the longer time-out.)

    We also had 5 or 6 Barbie horses, more than we had Barbies I think. Along with the pink Corvette.

    • Hillary April 12, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      Man, remember the Big Wheels Barbie Corvettes? I wanted one of those too. I used to picture myself driving down the sidewalk with hydraulics pumping before that was even a thing.

      I was a greedy little kid, geeze!

      • Fallah April 12, 2011 at 10:30 am #

        We had Big Wheels, but not the Corvette one. But! you did remind me. The one thing our little hearts craved and my mother never relented on:

        Power Wheels. (Pow-pow-power wheels!) Oh god, we all wanted one. “Mom, please?! We’ll share it, we can all four share it! Pleeeeeease.” Nope. They were expensive, potentially dangerous, but worst of all, they took the place of riding bikes or running around. They were a toy for lazy rich kids.

        Great post, Hils. I’ve got all kinds of nostalgia memories popping up.

      • Bika April 12, 2011 at 11:56 am #

        I had a Barbie corvette, but it was the kind Barbie rides in. Silver, with pink detailing. It was pretty pimped out.

  12. Mom April 12, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    That stupid ball thing with the handle, Hill that you keened for. I got it for you for your birthday and when you got it, the ‘instructions’ said you needed elbow pads and a helmet, which I had not purchased. You then patently refused to use the stupid thing, as it ‘wasn’t safe’ (cuz you’d fall on the grass and… bruise?) So I spent a lot of time boinking around the farm on that thing just to get my money’s worth. And lets not even talk of the ice skates.

    • Hillary April 12, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

      The Pogo Ball! Yeah, I remember that.

      And the ice skates . . . that was one of my not-so-great moments.

      • Bika April 12, 2011 at 6:33 pm #


  13. Feliche April 12, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    MIGHTY MAX! I had like…4 of them. The Skull one was wicked awesome. With the little Frankenstein. If you don’t know, it’s Polly Pocket for boys.

    • Zachary April 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      … with an awesome television show!

  14. Kel April 13, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    Man, I still have a couple of my Pound Puppies/Purries in my closet. *boggle*

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