12 Nostalgic Toys That Would Never Be Popular Now
Are you the type of person to look back on the lazy, carefree days of childhood and shake your head at the state the world has come to today? I hate to break it to you, but the 20th century wasn't all that different. Take, for example, all the nostalgic toys that would never be popular in 2017. Some have survived the test of time — if we're being honest, Barbie and Elmo will reign supreme on Earth long after humanity has left for greener planetary pastures — but others have totally disappeared from public memory.
Most of the time, that's for the best. After all, would you want to inflict the misery of a dead Tamagotchi on your progeny, your own flesh and blood? I didn't think so. For some kids, accidentally letting their digital pet starve was their first brush with death, leaving them traumatized by a collection of pixels. Other toys on the following list were strange, dangerous, the product of a different society, or some combination of all three. Simply put, the world has changed drastically in a few short decades, rendering some toys obsolete. Let's take a look at 12 toys whose appeal is purely nostalgic these days.
Tamagotchi were released worldwide in 1997, a time when most Americans still had dial-up Internet connections and the Game Boy Pocket had just come out. This was long before smartphones, so you can see why everyone lost their minds over the tiny, pixelated Tamagotchi pets, which you raised from birth until their inevitable demise upon forgetting to feed them one too many times.
Today, Tamagotchi remain popular enough, but most of their appeal comes from nostalgia. If they had been released for the first time in 2017, Tamagotchi would be totally overlooked in favor of smartphone apps like Neko Atsume. Why bother with a cumbersome key chain when you can feed your beloved digital pet from your phone?
Developed in the '60s, the Swing Wing is basically a hula hoop for your neck, but approximately 10,000 times dorkier. As you can see in the video above, the creators clearly hadn't ever heard of internal decapitation. Maybe nobody batted an eyelash at the time, but all that movin' and shakin' your neck at high speeds would never fly in 2017.
Released by Mattel in 1988, the Food Fighters were action figures shaped like junk food. The Kitchen Commandos, for example, were led by the Burgadier General, and his arch nemesis was a fedora-wearing hot dog called Mean Weener. You think a line of toys glorifying those foods would fly today?
Dream Phone is a relic of a different era: Players hunt down their secret admirer, who could be one of 24 cute boys, by calling his equally cute friends and gathering the clues they leave. Not only does the game rely on voicemails (ew), but it also assumes that girls are heavily invested in what a boy thinks about them. With all the STEM-oriented and gender neutral toys out there, that's not the kind of game parents tend to go for anymore.
Billing itself as one of the largest playsets at the time, Earthquake Tower was released all the way back in 1976 by the toy company Remco. The idea was to rescue people from a toppling tower following an earthquake... while listening to a "disaster sound record" featuring sirens and explosions. It's more than a little unsettling.
When it was initially released, Dear Diary was a lifesaver. Whisper your secrets into the tiny plastic device, and it would password-protect the recording. Now that kids get their first smartphones at the average age of 10, it's not really necessary.
Following World War Two, nuclear power was still new and widely misunderstood by the public. But that doesn't excuse the Atom Bomber, which allowed kids to pantomime dropping atomic bombs on colorful targets.
Jibba Jabber's time on the shelves was short-lived, and for good reason. Kids were supposed to shake the long-necked doll, which made a choking noise when its head wobbled with enough force. Yikes. After the toy company was informed of Shaken Baby Syndrome, Jibba Jabber was sold with an insert listing seven nonviolent ways to react to children.
Given the United States' ongoing problem with gun violence, it's safe to say most American parents would shy away from a game that encourages players to shoot directly at each other.
Is masculinity really so fragile that someone had to develop rings topped with military jets for boys to wear? Many toys are finally being marketed as gender neutral, so Ring Raiders' ultra-masculine theme comes across as dated.
11Happy Family Midge
One of Barbie's friends, the Midge doll has been around in some form or another since the '60s. In 2003, she was sold pregnant, with a magnetic stomach containing a tiny, curled-up baby. The "Happy Family" line didn't go over well at the time, as parents complained that she promoted young pregnancy, and it probably wouldn't be any more welcome today.
With their slow-blinking eyes and penchant for muttering to themselves in the middle of the night, Furbies are terrifying. Clearly, their popularity in the '90s was the result of mind control. End of story.