7. Garbage Pail Kids
Cabbage Patch Kids were for girls, right? So what did the toy creators make for their brothers? Garbage Pail Kids! They looked like the Cabbage Patch variety, except they were totally for boys. They had things boys apparently liked, like boogers and farts and day-old dairy products and seeping acne scars and squiggly stink lines. Yes! We loved those things. And they made girls go “Ewwww!” which was ideal, since girls had cooties and all. Oh, and you know, boys don’t like dolls, so the Garbage Pail Kids were only available in trading card format. Because boys loved cards. Or something.
Being tripped by mean bullies at school was so much fun, but what were we to do when we were at home with nice people who loved us? This predicament was solved with the invention of Skip-It: a piece of plastic that had a handcuff-like shackle on one end that you jammed your foot in and then a big plastic thing on the other end. You would then spin the Skip-It and try to jump over it with your free foot. The Skip-It would then count its total revolutions as you tripped all over yourself. Much like the Cabbage Patch Kids, it also made an excellent weapon. So many uses!
9. Pogo Bal
We are noticing a trend of very, very dangerous toys from our childhoods. Were our parents trying to tell us something? Pogo Ball was less of a ball and more of a very distorted heavy-duty balloon that was jammed into a Saturn-like ring of plastic. You then stood on the ring of plastic… and jumped! Well, you spent more time falling and hurting yourself than jumping… but wasn’t that fun? We can’t remember. The concussions took those memories away.
10. Reebok Pump
Believe it or not, the Reebok Pump sneaker was released a month before New Year and the dawn of the ’90s. But we’re including it here because it was clearly brainstormed, tested and created during the ’80s, and therefore totally counts. What were they? Sneakers with an inflatable basketball button on the tongue. You would push the button and it made your shoes tighter until all the circulation in your feet was cut off. After all, you didn’t buy Reebok Pumps to get the touted “custom fit”; you bought them because you suffered from ADD and wanted to push something on your shoes again and again until the ball exploded from the built-up pressure! Fun!
11. Trapper Keepers
Privacy was very important in 1980s junior high school. We didn’t want Jennifer finding out what we said about her in our very secret note we scribbled to Tiffany during Social Studies (folded just so). How best to keep our notes (both educational and Jennifer-bashing) secret? With a thin, protective layer of very loud velcro! Trapper Keepers were the coolest binders ever. Having them meant our parents obviously loved us. They also allowed us to rip them open and close them over and over, making an obnoxiously loud RRRRRRRIPPPP sound that drove our poor alcoholic teachers insane until the velcro wore out and we had to get our loving parents to buy us new ones.
12. Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego?
Video game makers were so sneaky in the ’80s! They took advantage of the low-tech environment of the day to give us “games” that actually taught us things. And we actually played these things because — well, they were more fun than blackboards. Carmen San Diego was an “adventure game” where players “chased” an international criminal around the world, and the only way to win was to know things about history and geography. Tricky! Not actually fun! But whatever, we’ll play another round anyway.