As a spoiled 90’s child, I can be a bit biased when I say this, but clearly the 90̵7;s had the best technical toys for children. With Nintendo game consoles, Yak Baks, Tamagotchi and Power Wheels Jeeps to entertain us, we had more fun than the Fortnite generation ever could.
Yes, the 90’s was drenched in flannel and grunge music. Its citizens loved shopping malls and MTV and cringey slang, wore wild JNCO jeans and went over boy bands and hip hop music videos. But while the decade gave us many … unique … memories to remember, it also gave us all kinds of fascinating technology, much of which laid the foundation for the current technology we can not live without. We had AOL chat rooms on the Internet, audio signals and giant colorful iMacs, and we also had some of the most amazing technical toys. Shout to Pogs.
From a decade obsessed with often strange technology came the iconic egg-shaped Tamagotchi: Digital Pets that you could attach to your keychain. Having a Tamagotchi not only proved how cool you were, but it also meant that you had your own personal digital puppy to take care of. Or was it a cat? A monster? An alien? Whatever they were, had absolutely no perfect record in remembering to feed them and keep them alive. The beeping units were also some of the first to be banned from classrooms. PS You can still buy Tamagotchi today.
Nintendo 64 (1996)
Of all the game consoles that came in the 90’s (including Sony PlayStation or Sega Dreamcast), none were more iconic than the N64. Despite the ridiculous controller, the console gave us such video games as Goldeneye 007, Super Mario 64, 1080 Snowboarding, Perfectly dark, Donkey Kong 64, Banjo-Tooie, Pokemon Stadium, StarFox, WaveRace, Turokand The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You can still find the odd Nintendo 64 for sale in local game stores, but almost always in used condition so the buyer beware!
Made popular by Kevin McAllister in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, this bad boy could record anything and change the sound of your voice. TalkBoy (and the pink and purple TalkGirl that came out later) was basically just a tape recorder but its voice-raising ability meant hours of fun for young children.
Bop It (1996)
Although the handheld electronic game lacked flash, it was still a rather tense game. It called out commands for players to follow, such as “Bop It”, “Pull It” and “Twist It”, and had corresponding physical inputs on the device that could be manipulated. There were several game modes and the players competed to win the most points. There is a newer version of the game available for sale today with more modern commands such as “drink it” and “selfie it”, but the original will always be hard to beat. Literally.
Sony Aibo (1999)
The adorable robot puppy was almost as funny as a real puppy. Beagle-look-alike had an autonomous design that responded to its environment was fun for kids of all ages, especially those with allergies. There are newer versions of the Aibo available today, but the price of $ 2,899.99 is probably too expensive for someone to enjoy.
Sega Game Gear (1990)
Since the iconic Nintendo Game Boy came out in 1989, Sega captivated the first handheld game console in the 90s with Game Gear and got everyone excited with the color screen. The console contained popular titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog, GG Shinobi, Sonic Chaosand Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse. Game Gear was also known for having exciting peripherals, such as Gear to Gear link cables, a screen magnifier, a carrying case, cheat devices and car adapters to entertain while traveling.
Game Boy Color (1998)
When we saw the enthusiastic response to Sega’s color screen, Nintendo released the Game Boy Color, which also had – you guessed it – a color screen. The kids liked them because they were smaller, took fewer batteries and came in cool colors (hence the superdope commercial). The console had a whole fleet of Pokémon and Zelda games, as well as other popular titles like Super Mario Land, Donkey Kong Country, Kirby’s dreamland, Pocket Bombermanand Mario Golf.
Tickle Me Elmo (1996)
This one goes out to all young millennials. Because Elmo was pretty much everyone’s favorite Sesame character, Tickle Me Elmo was the perfect product for young children: a soft and loving plush that laughed when you tickled it. The toy also inspired several violent lunatics as it grew in popularity after being joined by then-TV host Rosie O’Donnell. People were seriously injured in pedal boots trying to reach the dolls, were arrested for fighting over the doll and even tried to bring back a delivery truck full of the dolls. Wait, would not Tickle Me Elmo represent love and happiness?
Yak Bak (1994)
Like Talkboy, YakBack also lets you record short audio clips and play them until everyone around you was annoyed. Later editions of the toy even allowed you to change the pitch of the voice to be extra annoying. The toy’s ability and small design made it easy to hide in your pocket, bag, cupboard or anywhere else, and although Yak Baks were fun for children, they were undoubtedly a way for many parents and teachers to exist.
Tiger Electronics Handheld Games (1994)
Although not exactly a dedicated game console, the artillery in Tiger Electronics’ handheld games was still a total explosion to play with. And with about $ 20 per pop, they were also cheaper than consoles and new console games (although the cost of buying more of them would add up over time). Tiger managed to land all types of licenses from Batman and Robin and Disney The Lion King to X-Men and Deadly battle. And good news – Hasbro has even recently released a few titles if you want to relive the fun.
Power Wheels Jeep (1991)
The Power Wheels Jeep was the dream of every 90’s child. That meant we could jump in and take the hell out (at least until the battery ran out halfway around the block). Sure, it actually didn ‘t go that fast, but if you were four, that ripped it off and it let you roll up to your friend’s house in style. And by the way, millennial and Gen Z parents, we have an obligation to pay it on to our kids with newer Power Wheels.
Hit Clips (1999)
I love the 90’s and I love everything on the list … except Hit Clips. These were a precursor to MP3 players, but took a crazy left left somewhere. Each clip could only play a short piece of a pop or rock song (usually just a riff or chorus), and playback was of the lowest possible quality. Individual hit clips cost just under $ 5 per pop and required you to purchase the teen companion bomb box, which also cost $ 20 to play. I agree with CDs please
Dream Phone (1991)
Dream Phone was an electronic board game that revolved around the pink plastic phone it came with. It’s kind of like a combination of Guess Who and junior high, but if both went really well and there was nothing like rejection. Basically, you use the phone to call (fictional) guys to get clues about which (fictional) guy likes you, and you will shorten your options based on things like location and what he is wearing. It was called Dream Phone because it was the dream phone scenario for everyone who dreamed of calling a cute boy in real life.
Polaroid i-Zone (1999)
With the Polaroid i-Zone, you can take photos, print them instantly on decorated paper, and then cut them out and attach them wherever you want. Granted it came out at the end of the decade, but it was such a phenomenal idea that portable photo printers are still very much a thing today. And yes, the camera was of low quality, but with three aperture settings, it was easy to use and perfect for decorating mirrors, laptops and cabinets.
Fans of digital pets quickly fell in love with the enigmatic Furby, with its moving ears, sweet words and a thousand yard stares. Furby resembled an owl or a hamster (although it was a tribute to Mogwai from Gremlins). The toy was an overnight success and remained hugely popular for several years after its first release, selling over 40 million units in its first three years. When you first got it, it spoke “Furbish”, a gibberish language, but slowly began to use English words. The U.S. National Security Agency banned Furbies from being on NSA property in 1999, however, over concerns that they could record or repeat classified information; the ban was later lifted.