tek's nostalgia: toys

See also early childhood toys

So, when I was a kid (in the 80s and into the 90s), I had lots of toys, but of course it's never enough. There were always commercials on TV, and catalogs in the mail, and stores to browse in... though alas, I lived in northern Maine, nowhere near anything like Toys R Us, or any mall. There were stores that have long since gone out of business, like Ames. And we did occasionally go on vacation to places that had malls and other good stores, especially Boston, since we had family there. Anyway, this page is for me to list any toys I remember from my late childhood, into my teens. Most of it I no longer have; I sold a lot of stuff at flea markets or garage sales, which I now regret. Other toys may have been lost, or broken, or... whatever. Anyway, at some point I may start a new page just for toys I currently own, whether I've had them since I was a kid or got them as an adult.

Battle Beasts
In the 80s; Little Rubber Guides; Nothing But Nostalgia; Retro Junk; Super Toy Archive; Toy Worth; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

These were little action figures with heat-sensitive stickers on their chests that you rubbed to reveal either water, fire, or wood, which determined which beasts beat which (rock-paper-scissors style). I had several of them, but I don't remember how many or anything specific... except I did have the Blazing Eagle base/vehicle/thing. I don't have any of that stuff anymore, but it was kinda cool, and would undoubtedly seem even cooler to me now that it's become nostalgic.

Ghost of the Doll; In the 80s; Nothing But Nostalgia; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

I got a Halloween Boglin called Bog-o-Bones at some store in Massachusetts (in Worcester, I think), while on vacation. And I always wanted to get more Boglins, but I don't think I ever saw any at any stores near where I lived, so that's the only one I have. (And I do still have it.) My friend Rob also had a Boglin of some sort, I think it was also a Halloween one (Blobkin?)

Dino Riders
Dino Riders World; In the 80s; Super Toy Archive; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

I don't think I ever had a lot of these, but I still have like four of them. They're all relatively small, but I think I might have once had some bigger ones. Anyway, my favorite was always Deinonychus, and that's one of the ones I still have.


Backgammon, Battleship, Boggle, Checkers, Chess, Chinese Checkers, Clue, Connect Four, Crazy Eights, Go Fish, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Monopoly, Old Maid, Othello, Parcheesi, Phase 10, Poker, Rack-O, Rook, Simon, Skip-Bo, Tiddlywinks, Trivial Pursuit, Uno, etc.

King Oil is a game I remember being up at my grandparents' camp at the lake, which I always liked playing. And I think I had taken it to my house for awhile, but hopefully it's back at the lake now. Or their house. A card game I remember playing at their camp was Authors. At least a couple of different peg solitaire games. And I'm sure there were some games I played at their house at some point, like Mouse Trap, and Snoopy Come Home, and Booby Trap, and probably Qubic, and maybe Stay Alive. And I'm sure when I was younger, I must have played some games like Chutes and Ladders. And Candy Land is a game I remember always being aware of, though I don't specifically remember playing it. (Seems almost impossible that I wouldn't have.) I definitely remember playing Fat Chance when I was little. And Travel America, some years later. And Trump: The Game. I had an E.T. board game that I don't really remember, except it included a plastic figure of E.T. and a ghost costume it could wear. (I had forgotten that came from a board game until the internet reminded me, but I had the figure long after the last time I saw the game itself, though I'm not sure if I still have the figure anymore.) I also used to have a Murder, She Wrote board game. And I vaguely recall Po-Ke-No (I'm sure I saved all the chips from it long after the game itself was lost or forgotten).

In the 90s, I spent a lot of time with my friends Rob and Chris playing things like Risk and Stratego. And I've played any number of other games over the years, some of which I've probably long-since forgotten and might not remember if I saw them, and others that the first time I ever played them was too recent for me to feel any nostalgia about them.

G.I. Joe

There's just so much of this, I'm gonna give the line its own page.

In the 80s; io9; Nothing But Nostalgia; Super Toy Archive; TFU.info; Toy Worth; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

I still have a toy gun Gobot (see "toy guns"). I know I used to have Cy-Kill, but don't anymore. And I'm sure there were others. Looking at pics on STA, some of them look sort of familiar, but I don't really know. Um... probably I had Cop-Tur, Pathfinder, Water Walk, Dive Dive, Spoons, Van Guard, Twin Spin, Vamp, and the Guardian Command Center. (Oh, man, I loved the command center.) Some of the figures I mentioned I remember more definitely than others, but there are also some I haven't mentioned that I might have owned. It really is a shame I don't have any of those things anymore. They were kind of the "poor kid's Transformers," but I don't care, they were still cool. And looking at the list, I can't believe I'd forgotten about some of them. I think the one I probably had the longest and liked the best was Vamp, now that I'm reminded of its existence.... (But um... the majority of Gobots, the ones I didn't have, really did suck, which is why so many people think they all sucked. Which is just not true.)

Jigsaw puzzles
Toy Hall of Fame; Wikipedia

I'm sure I had any number of jigsaw puzzles over the years, most of which I wouldn't remember, now. But I know I had one of Saint Basil's Cathedral. And the one I'm most nostalgic about is an old puzzle of Spider-Man. It was a pretty big puzzle, but it had really big pieces, so there weren't that many of them. It's the kind that's made for very little kids, which of course, I was, at the time. Anyway, I wish I could think of any other puzzles I had. I don't have any, anymore.

Masters of the Universe (show)
20th Century Toy Collector; He-Man.org; In the 80s; Nothing But Nostalgia; Old School Action Figures; Retro Junk; Super Toy Archive; Toy Worth; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

I'm sure I had a Prince Adam action figure, possibly also He-Man. And "battle damage" Skeletor (and his purple panther). And Kobra Khan (which was also sort of a water gun, since he squirted water out of his mouth). And Roboto. And almost certainly a few others, which I remember less well. I don't have any of these toys anymore, which is really disappointing.

Pocket Rockers
In the 80s; Wikipedia

I still have this. The tapes I own include "La Bamba/Tequila" (Los Lobos), "Heave is a Place on Earth/I Get Weak" (Belinda Carlisle), "All I Need is a Miracle/You are the One" (Mike + the Mechanics), "I Think We're Alone Now/Could've Been" (Tiffany), "Let Me Be the One/Seasons Change" (Exposé), "Surfin' Safari/Surfin' USA" (The Beach Boys), "Wipe Out/Rock Ruling" (Fat Boys), "Amanda/Can'tcha Say" (Boston), "Miami Vice Theme/The Heat is On" (Glenn Frey/Jan Hammer), "You Keep Me Hangin' On/Say You Really Want me" (Kim Wilde), and "Shake Your Love/Only in My Dreams" (Debbie Gibson). For most of these tapes, I also have little title cards, but I'm missing the cards for a few of them. And I feel like I probably had some other tapes, once upon a time. Maybe I sold them, or maybe this is all I had, I dunno.

Power Lords
Action Figure Archive; In the 80s; Power Lords Return; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

This is a thing I discovered just now while browsing lists of old toys on Wikipedia. It sounded familiar, so... I think I might have had at least one of these, but I never would have thought of it on my own. If I did have any, I have no idea where they'd be now. Maybe I sold them, or gave them away, or never had them in the first place....

The Real Ghostbusters (show)
Ghostbusters Wiki; Nothing But Nostalgia; Old School Action Figures; Toy Worth; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

I'm sure I had some of the figures (maybe all of the main four). And Ecto-1. And Slimer. And probably Stay-Puft. And some random ghosts. I guess a few of the ghosts emitted slime. I could have sworn I had some kind of... thing I can't quite picture... that also emitted slime, but looking online, I don't think such a thing existed. (Such slime was used in other toylines, maybe I'm thinking of one of those, or maybe I really am thinking of nothing at all.) I also had a "ghost zapper" that projected images of ghosts. But now all I have is Slimer and the ghost zapper.

Robo Force
I-Mockery; In the 80s; The Old Robots; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

I know I at least had the leader of the good robots, Maxx Steele. And I may have had some of the others. I'm not sure. But I'm really disappointed that I don't still have any of them.

Rock Lords
In the 80s; Nothing But Nostalgia; Retro Junk; Rock Lords - Powerful Living Rocks!; Super Toy Archive; TFU.info; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

I still have Boulder. And Rob had Nuggit (hopefully he still does). We had a couple of robotic A.I.s we based on the toys, for our Star Trek fanfic. Also I should still have a few "narlies" somewhere. Oh... and while making this page, I learned that Rock Lords were a spinoff of Gobots, which is like totally news to me.

Rubik's Cube
In the 80s; official site; Wikipedia

Obviously we had the basic cube. I'm fairly sure I've also played with Rubik's Magic, Rubik's Snake, Alexander's Star, Pyraminx, Missing Link, maybe the Orb, possibly other such puzzles. But I don't think we have any of them anymore.

In the 80s; Sectaurs.com; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

I'm fairly sure I had one of these (probably Spiderflyer). Like, there was a glove attached to a big toy bug... with opalescent plastic wings that were motorized. And I guess a figure would ride on it, while you were wearing the glove. It was... creepy, and awkward, and I think the wings broke pretty easily, but still it was sort of cool I guess.

Action Figure Archive; In the 80s; Nothing But Nostalgia; Old School Action Figures; Super Toy Archive; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

I definitely remember wishing I could see the cartoon, but it didn't air on any channel I got. I saw an episode once when we were visiting family in Boston, I think. But anyway, I had a bunch of the toys, and they were really cool, and now I'm really sorry I don't have them anymore. I must have had Stargazer, and Quicksilver, and Bluegrass, and the Copper Kidd, and Flashback, and Mon*Star, and Mo-lec-u-lar, and Mumbo Jumbo, and Buzz-Saw, and probably some others. They were so cool. And probably I had at least one vehicle.

Star Trek
Star Trek Toys

I have a set of Deep Spance Nine Micro Machines. And I have some Hallmark ornaments. I must have gotten at least a few Next Generation action figures by Playmates in the early 90s, but I don't have them anymore. I do still have a Next Gen phaser, and a die-cast Enterprise-D (with separating saucer section). And I have a TOS-era phaser (type II), which I believe my friend Jerry gave me at some point (but since I met him when I was in college, I'm not sure I can call it nostalgic). And I have at least one larger TOS-era doll (Lt. Marlena Moreau), made by Playmates in the late 90s, so it's also too recent to be nostalgic.

Star Wars (movies)
Hasbro; In the 80s; Old School Action Figures; Super Toy Archive; Toy Hall of Fame; Toy Worth; Wikipedia

I may have had a few different Star Wars toys, but the only one I definitely remember is Bossk. I have no idea where I got it, and I have no idea where it is now. Anyway, since the 1990s, Star Wars toys are made by Hasbro, but in the old days they were made by Kenner, which I think was a better era than today. But then again, I don't really know, since I don't pay attention to such things anymore. Although... I did get some figures in the 90s, as a free giveaway from the movie theater when I saw the special edition of at least one of the movies... and while they were made by Hasbro, they still say Kenner on the package. Which is odd.

I still have an unofficial "lightsaber" that I remember getting at the circus once when I was quite young. It's basically just a flashlight with a long, white tube attached. These days you can get official toy lightsabers that actually look (and sound) like lightsabers. Some of them are so expensive you might as well not even call them toys. Still, the cheap-ass thing I've got is nostalgic, and I'm glad I still have it.

Also, I have a set of tiny Jawas made by Micro Machines. And some Hallmark ornaments.

Super Naturals
Action Figure Archive; I-Mockery; In the 80s; Virtual Toy Chest

This is a thing I had forgotten about until the internet reminded me. Looking at pics now, I'm sure I had Eagle Eye, but I don't know if I had any others.

Super Soaker
In the 80s; Hasbro; Wikipedia

I'm sure I had at least a couple of different Super Soakers as a teenager (when they were still made by Larami), including a really big one, but I don't know if those are around anywhere. I do have a Naboo Pistol (from the Star Wars prequels), made by Super Soaker, which I've never removed from the package, but that's too recent to be nostalgic. And I remember seeing a water gun I wanted because it reminded me of a gun from Star Trek or something, whether it was a Romulan or Bajoran gun or what, I don't remember. But I never got it. And I don't remember for sure if it was made by Super Soaker, but it probably was. Of course, I had any number of water guns of different brands, as a kid. But Super Soakers were the best. ...I don't know much about the Super Soakers that have been made since Nerf/Hasbro took over, but I don't think they'd interest me.

ThunderCats (show)
Action Figure Archive; In the 80s; Nothing But Nostalgia; Old School Action Figures; ThunderCats Lair; ThunderCats Wiki; Super Toy Archive; Toy Worth; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

As far as I recall, the only ThunderCats toy I ever had was Mumm-Ra, though I suppose I could have had others. But I don't have Mumm-Ra or any others, anymore.

Transformers (show)
20th Century Toy Collector; Hasbro; In the 80s; Nothing But Nostalgia; Old School Action Figures; Super Toy Archive; TFU.info; Toy Worth; Transformers Wiki; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

To be honest, I couldn't tell you for sure whether I ever owned any of these toys. I might have, or I might just have played with some that belonged to friends.

Video Games

We used to have an Atari 2600. I don't know what ever happened to it, but many years later I bought another one at a flea market, along with a bunch of games. I still have that, but haven't tried it in years, and I think the last time I did, it didn't work. Maybe. I should try that again someday. Incidentally, it was just like the day before I started this page in April 2014 that there was big news about a landfill where Atari had dumped a ton of E.T. game cartridges, 30 years ago, that just got dug up. Man, that game sucked. But there were some cool games, too.

Nintendo. Oh yeah, we had the original NES. Not a lot of games, but we had Mario, and Duck Hunt (everyone wanted to shoot the damn dog, right?), and um... the original Zelda was awesome. And we probably had Mario 2, maybe Mario 3, I forget. And Wheel of Fortune. Nothing else comes to mind. But we never got any of the later consoles.

Sega Genesis. I never had this console, but a friend did. So I played some Sonic the Hedgehog and probably other stuff. But the main game I remember is Star Control. I loved that game, and later I played Star Control 3 on computer, though I never had a chance to play SC2.

Speaking of computer games... I remember playing something called "Starlanes" on my friend Adrian's computer. I miss that game. And... um... I think I tried playing a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game on Rob's computer, or maybe it was Commodore or something. But I don't think I ever accomplished much with that. And in high school I played at least one of the Carmen Sandiego games. And... some weird game that was about making vector graphs or something. I dunno. Well, it was a long time before I had a computer of my own. I know at some point I got American McGee's Alice (probably years after it first came out), but I didn't manage to get far in that, and anyway it was too late in life for me to really be nostalgic about it. But I feel like there must be other games I've played over the years... maybe.... oh, there was a computer version of Magic the Gathering, and one of the early Heroes of Might & Magic games (possibly the first one), but both of those were also too late to be very nostalgic.

Action Figure Archive; In the 80s; Nothing But Nostalgia; Toy Worth; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

Another thing about which I had completely forgotten until Wikipedia reminded me. Now that I've been reminded, I'm sure I had at least one of these figures, probably more. And of course, now I don't.

Voltron (show)
Action Figure Archive; In the 80s; official site; Old School Action Figures; Toy Worth; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

I had the lion Voltron. It was big and cool and had a bunch of accessories and it was awesome. I don't remember what I did with it... sold it to Rob, maybe? Man, am I dumb. Also I had the Skull Tank with the Skull Scavenger driver. I don't remember if I had anything else.

Wheeled Warriors
20th Century Toy Collector; In the 80s; Nothing But Nostalgia; Virtual Toy Chest; Wikipedia

I don't think I had any idea there was a cartoon of this toy line, I just had some of the toys, and thought they were pretty cool. It's a shame I don't have them anymore.

Random Stuff

I vaguely remember Questron, or something like it. But I don't know if we ever had that... I think maybe we just played with one that belonged to a friend. And the internet just reminded me of Sonic Ear, which I never would have remembered. I'm not sure if you can really call it a toy, and I feel like it probably belonged to my dad. But still, now that I remember it existed, I might as well mention it. (And I guess it might have been mine.) And my uncle Wayne had an awesome toy ship from Space: 1999 (a series I've always wanted to see, but so far never have). I used to play with it at my grandparents' house, and I think I brought it to my house at some point. But I don't have it anymore, so I really hope I brought it back to their house. And... I am undoubtedly forgetting lots of other things, whether random or part of toy lines I've completely forgotten about. It saddens me to think how many things I could be forgetting that might once have been important to me.

Btw, I feel like I'm making it sound like I was spoiled, with how many toys I had. I don't think it ever felt that way at the time, because I was always aware that I only owned a small fraction of all the toys I wished I could have. And it's not like I got this stuff all at once, I got it throughout my childhood, years and years and years. Still, in retrospect... I guess I had way more than I needed, and more than a lot of kids had. Man, I was lucky. Which is weird, because we did not have a ton of money.

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tek's nostalgia index