Well folks we’re approaching that time of year again! Soon enough we’ll all be huddled around the Christmas tree opening presents and sharing good times and laughs. We’ll also be overeating, drinking, and passing out in a mountain of Christmas wrapper…well, maybe not but the point is that everyone will be having fun. To stay in the spirit of having fun and celebrating Christmas, I thought I’d do a top ten list that brings me back to my childhood and the gifts that made up that era. I know there are a lot of them but I picked the ones I felt everyone had at one time or another.
First off is one of my all time favorites. Transformers will always be the best toys out there but they have to be the originals. The toys were heavy like you would imagine a robot to be and they were metal. They could have been considered a deadly weapon and when your siblings are annoying you; except no substitutes. I had a few Transformers and out of all of them, my favorites were Soundwave, because of the awesome mini cassette robots, Megatron, because it actually turned into a gun, and non other than Optimus Prime. I mean, who didn’t like Prime? When I got it, it came with the trailer that transformed and I thought I was the king! No other toy compared to the leader of the Autobots. It was an excellent present but note to self, make sure to pick up your toys or you’ll come home to a yard sale and another kid is walking off with your prized possession. Thanks mom!
Back in ’92 Sega was coming out with some good games but not all of them could compete with Nintendo and their powerhouse of gems. I was an avid Nintendo gamer and felt that nothing could top it until Sonic the Hedgehog surfaced. This game was set to take on all comers and it did just that. My brother and I wanted the bundle for Christmas and it was something that he asked Santa for as well. We had been good all year and we were drooling for Christmas morning. On Christmas Eve though, we would open presents from our parents and then open presents from Santa and our Grandmother the following morning. It was an excellent night and a night my mother will never forget because she just happened to mix up the presents and Santa came early. I’d explain it but I have a short video that captures the moment.
I’ve always been into music and back in the day I loved to play the drums. I had asked for a drum set but my parents decided to get me something much better, or at least something electronic. So on Christmas Eve I opened up a present my parents would regret until it finally broke. I believe they found a way to destroy them without me know but I will never know for sure. The Hit Stix were a pair of drum sticks that had a cord connected to them and a speakerbox. The box had a clip for your waistband and included volume and sound effect buttons. Once you hit them against something the sound came through the box and it made for hours of fun. What made it even more fun was that you could air drum and it would still make a sound effect. It was a grand present and although my parents wanted to blow up the sticks, I’m sure they were content with my happiness…maybe.
Back in the early 90’s I played a lot of Tiger Handhelds. My favorites were Ninja Gaiden, Double Dragon, and Batman: The Movie. The games were the equivalent of a handheld Poker game but it was fun! The games of today are far more superior than the Tiger games but at that time they were the stuff. I remember going to the Meijer in Jenison, MI every other weekend and my parents would buy my brother and I a Tiger game. One Christmas I got the Batman handheld and I played that game until I beat it. It was amazing to me at the time and it was so amazing that I decided to take it apart and put it back together. I wanted to see how it worked and although I got into a lot of trouble for destroying my games, I see it as one of the reasons I am into electronics and technology in general today.
How many of you were lucky enough to get a Nintendo Game Watch? I know I wasn’t but a couple of my cousins were and at that time I thought those watches were the best thing since sliced bread. I mean, think about it; Super Mario Bros. and Zelda on your wrist to play whenever you want? Oh yeah! The games were killer but they were expensive too. I remember playing around with one that was on display at a store named Hills in Holland, MI and it was cool but for over $100? I don’t think so. My parents were not about to get me that and looking back at it now, they had no real graphics and the controls sucked! I would have had more fun with a Tiger handheld anyway but back then, the Nintendo Game Watches were top sellers.
Please tell me that you remember Garbage Pail Kids? The cards were disgusting and awesome! I remember getting packs of those and trading with my friends and family. It was cool to bust out the most disgusting one and heckle my siblings or my mom with it. I think the worst one was the kid who had popped all the pimples and was covered in pimple juice. The Garbage Pail Kids were so cool that they made a movie and yes I have it at home. I don’t remember the plot line but remember how shocked I was at the time to see them on screen and alive rather than on cards with no movement. If you were a kid of the 80’s or 90’s then you mostly likely had some Garbage Pail Kids floating around or maybe even some Madballs. Remember those?
Oh Simon, how I hate thee. This game is very addicting and can also contribute to high blood pressure. The game itself seems easy but it’s harder than you think. You have four different colors on a circular board that light up and have their own sound. Just like “Simon Says” you have to follow the pattern in the exact same way that Simon does. If you fail you lose. It starts out slow but once you get further it adds colors and the pattern gets harder. As I mentioned before I hate the game but in the same sense I love it because it’s addictive and I won’t let Simon get the best of me. I think the best part of the game was the commercials. It always showed kids walking up to the game and challenging it. They made the commercial look like an epic duel and made you want to take on Simon.
Crossfire was a game, like Simon, that had an epic commercial that made you want to beg your parents for it even if it meant rolling around on the floor like a fool. The game board was built like an arena and pitted two people against each other to see who could get the most points. At the end of each side was a gun with silver marbles as ammo. Each player would shoot their ammo at their opponents game piece in order to knock them out of the arena or game board. The game was fast paced and very fun but I hated that the balls would get stuck in the guns.
You sunk my battleship! I love playing Battleship and when the talking electronic version came out it seemed to make it that much more awesome! It probably wasn’t that awesome but the guy yelling and talking was almost like bacon, it makes everything better. So what more can I say about this superb game except for that your parents were probably tired of hearing the game voice and listening to you and your sibling(s) fight over who won and who might have been cheating. Either way it was a fun game and the electronic talking added to its complete awesomeness. I also added the commercial at the end of this post so that you take a trip back in time and reflect on how cheap yet cool this game was.
Finally we have Gloworms. They have been around for a long time and they were cool from what I remember. I had a green one and I believe mine simply lit up where others lit up and played music. The toys were soft, cute, and everyone had one back in the day. Gloworms are still around but they’re not the same. The other day my wife and I were at Target and found one but it wasn’t as cool as the originals. It was made by the same company but it looked like a knock off. The originals are always the best anyway.
There you have it folks! The Top Ten Christmas Presents from the 80’s and 90’s. I know I didn’t even scratch the surface on the best but that’s where you come in. What toys should have made it on the top ten list from the 80’s and 90’s?