Pop Culture

These Toys Are 20 Years Old: Remember the Battle Troll?

I recently purchased a gift for a seven-year-old and was aghast at the selection of toys currently on the market. When you don't have children and you are no longer 12, keeping up with the latest Hasbros is not No. 1 on your list. So my search was quite revealing and, more than that, annoying. What is going on with toys these days?

Sure, I recognized a few. Barbie is still strutting her leggy self, with a bit less to cover her girl parts. Lego kits haven't changed all that much. My generation had the Star Wars collection and this generation has the... Star Wars collection. Of course, where toys are concerned, there will always be classics like Hot Wheels, board games and Nerf guns.

That's where the similarities between toys of 2012 and the toys of the past end. Scrolling through the Toys R Us Web site I found bizarre, pointless novelties with names that I couldn't pronounce, which made me feel stupid. Moshi Monsters Moshling? DaGeDar Balls? Xia-Xia Crabs? Bakugans?

What the hell are you talking about?

Twenty years ago, toys had normal names and they offered educational engagement and an idealistic simplicity. I think. I don't actually remember what toys used to be like, so I dug through this Internet thingy to see what I could find.

These Toys are 20 Years Old

The Barbie Dream House

Now we're talking! The Barbie Dream House was the ultimate possession for any little girl. In fact, if you did not own the BDH, you were a huge loser. I can't say why, but the house had no walls nor curtains to deter Ken from peeping in when Barbie was in her unmentionables.

The 1992 version of the BDH was split into three portions, which allowed you to move and reshape the house into various configurations, just like a real house! There was a small dining area complete with table and chairs, which unfortunately Barbie couldn't sit on because she can't bend her knees. The best part of the house was the room with the vanity mirror, so Barbie could while away the day staring at her gorgeous, plastic self.

Crash Dummies Crash Test Center In the late 1980s, a public service campaign to promote adhering to safety belt laws was popularized. The PSAs featured crash test dummies not wearing their seat belts being subjected to insane car crashes. The dummies would smash through windshields to die untimely, dummy deaths.

For some moronic reason, the guy who creates toys thought that these two dummies would make for great action figures and the Incredible Crash Test Dummies were born. The Crash Center allowed a child to "create hundreds of weird and wacky smash-ups." Of course, having your child configure various ways for a crash test dummy to die is a fantastic idea. At least the toys had more going on than the Canadian band of the same name. (Mmmmm Mmmmm, Mmmmm?)

Creepy Crawlers Cre-ee-ee-py Crawlers! What an odd toy this was. The complete kit came with white plastic molds of bug shapes that you were to fill with "Plasti Goop." You then baked the molds in a Suzy Bake Oven of sorts and voilà! You had a bunch of rubbery bugs at your disposal. Once you baked the bugs, the world was your oyster. You could put them in your Grandma's casserole, hide them in your sister's diary or lose them somewhere in your house and have to buy additional "Goop" sets.

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Abby Koenig
Contact: Abby Koenig