It’s that special time of the year--when people are running around frantically chasing the best deals and sob over their sleep-deprived, caffeine-fueled bender that maxed-out their credit cards on Cyber Monday. Which presumes, of course, that they weren’t trampled on Black Friday, and instead only stomped others to death. You might have proverbial blood on your hands, but at least you got a Nook, amirite!?
In honor of this time of the year, let’s look back on some of the greatest toys from our childhood. Because we, children of the 90s, grew up in the greatest era ever. Like, totally for sure, duhhh. But even with a kickass selection of toys, snacks, and other general entertainment, there were some scars that can never be healed. Like getting your first Furby: we were led to believe that having a furry demon that was one of the living dead was cool, even though we all knew our Furby would actually shred our eyelids with its plastic beak in the middle of the night so that we could pay attention when “Furbyyyyyyy hungryyyyy.” We also had Gushers fruit snacks that literally came in our mouths and taught us that sometimes you’re gonna have to take it in the face. While we ran around with some harsh bowl-cuts and denim overalls, there were some fucked-up people making decisions that had everlasting impacts on our lifestyles. We were told that jolly elves made our toys, but I have no doubt that the adults actually inventing our toys were wasted. Let’s get weird...
Easy Bake Oven Okay. This should go without saying. This dude was most obviously a pot head. Imagine him pitching the idea... “Listen, dude, you’re cool, right? Don’t be sketching out, this is a great idea. You make an individual brownie, that way you don’t have to share your stash! Like, you know, of brownie mix...” He wanted to make a mini oven to make an individual pot brownie. Little did we innocent children know that this unimposing pink box was to be taken literally--it’s easy to get baked.
Lite Brite The rave culture of the 90s definitely led to this toy. There were a couple of rave squirrels who couldn’t enjoy playing with their children because nothing lit-up! So they found a big lamp, some plastic pegs, and made their own fucking light show. When we were innocently making an orange and green bird, our babysitters were rolling their fucking faces off and just wanted to play with the colors. Their natural instincts guided them to stare into a globe of colored lights while we made some shitty picture that looked nothing like the pattern.
Candyland Shrooms. Lots of shrooms were eaten in the invention of this game because who else would envision such a landscape. If I wanted a happy trip, I would love to go into the Ice Cream Sea. And being in the Lollipop Woods and Gumdrop Mountains must be better than plain old boring nature to trip. And if someone envisioned Queen Frostine, we know it was a happy trip ;)
Monopoly The dude who invented this game was a powerful business man. He grew up in rural Idaho and moved to The City in pursuit of the American Dream. As he scaled the ranks in the business world, the pressures of New York proved too much for an innocent small-town man. Eventually his nasty blow habit ruined his career and forced him to create a game in which he could live out his fantasies of becoming rich and powerful. The game ironically became famous and he made enough money to fuel his drug habit for the next three years until he died snorting cocaine out of an orange $500 Monopoly bill.
Elefun The inventor of this game was actually Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. No drugs here, just insanity. He actually started with this toy by trying to figure out how to make a small explosion of plastic butterflies. Then once he figured this out, he moved on to less fun fillings, like nails. He also went to Michigan for grad school (#fuckoffwolverines) where the game was a popular drinking game because even when we were small children, we were still smarter than the average student at Michigan. Hence why the Unabomber’s first two targets were at Northwestern. Just another reason to #GOFUCKYOURSELVESMICHIGAN. The NU victims were hardly injured, just like we were hardly impressed by the lame spewing of shredded plastic.
The Game of Life As the age of amphetamines, I can only imagine Adderall was as popular with adults as it was with us spastic elementary schoolers who had every ounce of water in our bodies entirely replaced with corn syrup. So one game designer was SO amped and SO ready to do EVERYYYTHINGGG IN THE WORLD RIGHT THAT INSTANT. And what better way to get so much done in such a short amount of time than to simulate your entire life in less than an hour? Why do boring work when you can graduate, get married, buy a house, become a musician, have seven kids, file taxes, have some bitch steal your job and leave you to be an accountant, win the lottery, and retire? SO MUCH TO DO. RIGHT NOW. SO SPIN THE DAMN DIAL ALREADY.