If you’re like me and grew up sometime in between 1995 and 2000, then chances are there are a bunch of retro toys and games that you’re sorely missing. In fact, I’ve been missing them so much that I’ve started collecting some of ’em again! I’ve kind of…blown my savings (okay, not all of it) finding and hunting for these toys.
Help me, guys–I now have over 20 tamagotchi in my collection. THIS IS NOT REASONABLE. And did you know that Bandai is actually still releasing tamagotchi? Except now instead of the tiny, black-and-white tamagotchi of our childhood, they’re now egg-sized and are in full-color. That’s right: they’re basically….luxury tamagotchi.
These full-colored little guys go anywhere from $35 in poor condition to $70 for NIP condition… There are so many different versions of these new tamagotchi that I don’t even know the difference! But they are all so cute. The one drawback is that most of them are designed to be pretty “feminine”, so some guys might feel shy about getting one. Don’t be! A lot of my guy friends on Facebook love their tamagotchi and treat them with extra care.
#2 Game and Watch
So technically, the Game and Watch consoles are from before my time (think 80’s kids) but I’ve also been collecting these lately! The Game & Watch is a line of handheld electronic games that were released from 1980 to 1991.
Now we have handheld consoles like the DS, which support pretty much any DS game that you stick into the slot. But the kids of the olden days had to play on these consoles, which only had one game. So one Game & Watch might be Donkey Kong, and another was Manhole. If you wanted to play other games you either had to buy the specific Game & Watch or borrow it from one of your friends who was luckier than you!
My collection of Game & Watch consoles from Nintendo isn’t very large–it’s only reached about 10. I have a lot more Casio knockoffs (Casio wanted to cash in on the trend and released their own line of Game and Watch type toys, but Nintendo’s quality is wayyy better).
Not to brag, but I now have 3 Viewmasters in my collection!
The Viewmaster is a line of stereoscopes and reels that were manufactured by Sawyers. They’ve been around since 1939 and continue to be produced even today, but they’re nowhere near as popular today.
If you aren’t familiar with Viewmasters, you basically take a cardboard reel that has positive images on it, then you pop it into the Viewmaster’s slot. When you look through the lens (it looks kind of like a pair of binoculars) you can see tiny images through them. I’ve inadvertently spent half-an-hour or more getting lost in all the details of the photos! It’s so interesting because the photos almost look 3D.
The most famous Viewmaster design is the red one with the blue handle, but there have actually been over 20 different Viewmaster designs over the years!
#4 Etch a Sketch
The Etch A Sketch was invented by a French dude in 1960 and has been in production since then. The inside of the screen is filled with aluminum powder. You turn the knobs in order to move a stylus, which scrapes the aluminum off the glass and produces the dark line you see.
I have one Etch A Sketch but it’s in pretty bad condition–one of the corners popped open and it’s actually leaking aluminum powder. It makes me kind of sad!
If you’ve ever seen Toy Story, then you may remember that an Etch A Sketch made an appearance there. Fun fact: this little cameo helped the Etch A Sketch company survive instead of falling bankrupt. Now that we have smart gadgets, it’s kind of hard to sit still long enough to make those super detailed drawings that we once saw, but there are still some pros out there who create professional works of art with Etch A Sketch!
#5 Polly Pocket
Ya girl here is totally weak for Polly Pockets. I actually have just one, and it was a Disney x Polly Pocket release of Aladdin’s Castle. But it’s one of my most favorite toys! I love how portable and simple it is: the creator designed it for his daughter in 1983 from a small powder compact. The toys were licensed by Bluebird Toys from England and sold in stores. But then, in 1999, Mattel bought the rights to Polly Pocket.
Most collectors look for the Polly Pocket toys that were released by Bluebird, because they are more rare and (in my opinion) way better. The quality and colors are just so much nicer! (I love pastel things).
Okay, so those are just 5 of my favorite retro toys–some of these are still being made today, so it’s kind of cool to see how these awesome toys have stood the test of time. And the original toys that were released decades ago are still functioning in my collection today, so hopefully, they’ll be running for decades more. What do you think? Have you ever played with any of these retro vintage games? Tell me your thoughts below!