Culture

Do You Own Any of the Most Popular Toys From the Past Two Decades?

By Robin Mei - January 16, 2017
Credits: Image: theoldrobots.com

The Charming Furby

When initially introduced to the market twenty years ago, the Furby toys were a huge hit. Over a million of these cute fluffy creatures were sold that first year, and they instantly made it to the top of children’s wish lists.

Furbies were programmed to speak their own language known as Furbish, with the ability to “learn” English and other non-Furbish languages too. It’s no wonder why the kids went crazy about these interactive toys across the globe.

Source: The Top Christmas Toys of the Last 20 Years

Pokémon Goes Straight for the Wallet

Nintendo’s Pokémon-mania took over the world in no time. When released in 1999, along with the Game Boy Color, it became a must-have game for millions of kids in just two weeks.

Everyone was (and still is) mad about Pokémons. The franchise, which started with a pair of video games, soon became a Pokémon entertainment empire for Nintendo in both the digital and analog worlds. Pokémon toys, trading cards, comics, TV shows and movies made the rounds, along with a whole series of games and apps that have made $70 billion.

The Razor Makes Scooters Cool

Credits: Image: Jesse Palmer

The history of the kick scooter is much longer than one might think, and more or less follows the development of its predecessor, roller skates. The story goes that the first scooter was invented when someone took the wheels from a roller skate and attached them onto a small piece of wood.

When the Razor (a significantly upgraded, compact and foldable version of the original) showed up for the first time in 2000, it was a major success with five million units sold in only six months.

Source: The History Of Kick Scooters

Bratz Dolls Pushed Barbie Aside

Credits: Image: Saffy

While the famous Barbie doll was entering her forties, still perennially great looking and in super fit shape, some new kids began appearing on the block.

The Bratz dolls, Yasmin, Cloe, Jade and Sasha, hit the market in 2001 and soon became the most wanted “girls” in the world. With their over-sized heads, striking makeup and great, modern dressing style, these four dolls sparked an entire franchise and even made it to Hollywood with Bratz: The Movie.

FurReal Friends Cat — No Kitty Litter Required

The solution for all those parents whose kids wanted a cat as a pet (but couldn’t manage taking care of one) came in 2002, with a toy appropriately named the FurReal Friends Cat.

This soft and fleecy electronic kitty was designed to be a care-free pet as it tried to mimic a real cat’s character. If a kid grabbed it by its tail, a FurReal Friend would make an angry meow sound, but if gently petted it would purr with joy.

The Beyblades Spin Story

Credits: Image: Cristina Bejarano

Beyblades are more than a game – they are a whole world of imagination and fantasy for millions of childre who love to spin, launch and clash these little blades, releasing superpowers “like fire and stuff,” as one little boy described it.

Supported by the Beyblade Japanese cartoon series, these spinners became an instant success when they showed up in 1999. Their popularity was so huge that when the first public Beyblades competition was organized, it attracted over 18,000 people.

Robosapiens, the Smooth-Moves Robots

Credits: Image: theoldrobots.com

2004 was definitely the year to remember for RoboSapiens. When these guys showed up on the market they really made some noise.

Even though they were not the first robotic toys, one step forward they made was an important for the toy industry. Unlike their mechanical counterparts (like Furbies), RoboSapiens could do so much more. They walked, talked, danced and could be hacked to function as weapons too — just in case cutting a rug wasn’t dangerous enough.

Xbox 360 Brings Gaming to the Masses

Credits: Image: Microsoft

Video games and their consoles have come a long way from the black and white graphics of the iconic Atari 2600 and its classic catalog of titles like Pong.

The Xbox 360 helped shift people to the idea that a gaming console could be more than a sideline distraction. Even though it wasn’t the first console in history, it was still almost impossible to avoid it when it was released in 2005, further expanding the gaming trail opened up by the original Xbox.

PlayStation 3 Took No Prisoners

The PlayStation gaming consoles are another contender in the battle for console supremacy which sees it pitted against the Xbox and Nintendo stalwarts.

Originally introduced in 1994, PlayStation won the heart of many early adopters. When the PlayStation 3 was released in 2005 it took the gaming industry to the next level, even though the critics panned it.The general public and loyal PlayStation fans simply loved it, though, and over 3.5 million PlayStation 3 consoles were sold in its first year.

Nintendo DS Takes Gaming Out of the House

Once the world of gaming really began gaining momentum in the early 2000s the rush was on to cash in on the popularity of Nintendo’s Game Boy but cross it with a traditional system.

This dual-screen Nintendo handheld game console became the first digital love for many boys and girls all over the world. For years after it was launched, this little box was one of the most wanted items for gamers young and old.

Nintendo Wii Swings Big

The Nintendo Wii launch was a big leap of faith in the video game industry. The whole approach of what video gaming is and how it should be approached was changed with its motion-sensitive controller and 3-D detector, the features which allowed its games to step into the movement-filled real world.

The popularity of the Nintendo Wii seemed to ride one continuous wave, and by the end of 2008 the console had managed to sell a remarkable 10 million units.

Zhu Zhu Pets, for the Kid Who's Not Responsible

It seems like good news that lots of kids would love to get a pet for a gift, but the bad news is many of them would probably “forget” about them when it comes to the whole ‘take care of i’ part.

That’s probably why many parents would rather choose real pet substitutes like these — Zhu Zhu Pets. Just like real deal pets, Zhu Zhu Pets can give out audio cues that they’re enjoying your company, and pampering never goes unnoticed by them.

Squinkies, a Modern-Day Gold Rush for Retailers

Who would have ever guessed that any store in this world would even think of putting a limit on how many toys a person can buy in a single shopping session? Well, that’s exactly what happened with these cuties at  Target stores in 2010.

The Squinkies were so successful that they were completely sold out within a week of their launch, and their popularity didn’t fade for quite a while — collecting as many as 300 Squinkies characters takes time.

Let's Rock Elmo Gets His Groove On

Credits: Image: Kmart

One of the funniest (and probably loudest) toys of recent memory is the hilariously entertaining (but at the same time terribly annoying) Let’s Rock Elmo. Elmo was originally introduced in toy form in 1996 with his Tickle Me version. This cute offering became a rock star in 2011.

Let’s Rock Elmo had a repertoire of six songs and could play several instruments, which sure sounded like a whole lot of fun for kids, but not so much for their exhausted parents.

Wii U Buy This?

Credits: Image: BagoGames

Just like its big brother, the Nintendo Wii, the upgraded Wii U was a success after it launched in 2012, but the sales number’s were not nearly as high. This new, shinier version of the good old Wii was designed to still be able to play most of the original Wii’s games.

Its GamePad controller was improved with a touchscreen and front-facing camera, while the audio components included a microphone, speakers and different rumble features.

Big Hugs Elmo is Also Making Big Bucks Elmo

Credits: Image: Ebay

Thirty years ago we learned that Elmo is a ticklish buddy who can make kids laugh, then we found out Sesame Street’s red monster loves to belt out tunes whenever he feels like it and can play instruments when the mood strikes.

But as if that wasn’t enough, Elmo stepped out from his comfort zone and — just like any true star — offered fans a massive hug with his 2013 version known as Big Hugs Elmo.

Frozen's Snow Glow Elsa Warms Up Kids' Hearts

Since Frozen premiered in 2013, it seems like the kids simply cannot let it go. Not only did the movie and its soundtrack break records, but Frozen’s characters also got a life of their own as toys.

Particularly popular was, of course, Elsa, widely introduced in toy form as the Snow Glow Elsa doll. She got the name thanks to her dress and necklace lighting up, while Elsa herself was able to “talk” to her new family using up to 15 phrases.

BB-8 Rolls In Via Remote Control

Credits: Image: Microsiervos

For all of the Star Wars fans who always wanted to have their own personal droid, the BB-8 toy was like a dream come true. Perhaps the older devotees of the series would have hoped for something more in line with the classic R2-D2, but the kids were totally taken by it when it popped up in stores in 2015.

This remote-controlled robot could not only react to voice instructions and commands, but also adapt and evolve its “personality” to match its (usually young) owner’s.

NES Classic, a Games Lover's History Book

Every now and then something retro has a big comeback, especially when it comes to the field of entertainment and specifically video games. That was what Nintendo cashed in on with its NES Classic.

The NES Classic grew out from the Famicom, aka the Family Computer, that was released in 1983 in Japan. The reboot featured an old-school controller and came preloaded with some of Nintendo’s biggest hits from back in the day, such as Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda.

Cozmo Robot, the Robo-Brainiac

Credits: Image: Scott Boone

Regardless of how cute and adorable bunnies and teddy bears are, robots are definitely taking over the toy kingdom — if not entirely, then at least a great part of it.

In 2017, Anki’s Cozmo was one of the favorite toys of the year, and not without reason. Cozmo is a little cube-shaped guy who can be programmed and controlled with a smartphone. Every Cozmo’ owner can customize it and make their Cozmo a true original.

Pomsies: Adorable and Interactive

The latest hit in the world of toys comes in the form of adorable and interactive cat-like creatures known as Pomsies.

This recent addition to the purchasing dreams of youngsters feature eyes which light up depending on how they “feel” and a tail that can be used to wrap them around your wrist. But if that’s not enough, Pomsies can also make 50 different sounds related to their “mood,” including the soothing purring of a very real cat.