Posted by: Jamie | October 5, 2013

Top Ten October: Toys everyone had but no one played with

Both of us Barneseseses were birthed into this big blue marble in the year 1981 and so this list will ring truer for those of us that awkwardly squeeze into the confused gap of Generations X & Y. The following toys were often gifted, but hardly saw action. They were shelf banned dust collectors or the first ones to be volunteered when you discovered the joy of matches and things that exploded. Here’s to you, misfit toys.

1. Teddy Ruxpin (First released in 1985)

Okay, this stupid bear mostly freaked us out. It talked and….well. That was about it. The animation of Teddy’s eyes and mouth were pretty primitive and unexciting even for the times. Teddy blabbed on with boring stories that you didn’t give a crap about and basically just ended up in the corner of your bedroom and would occasionally come to life in the middle of the night and stare at your while you were sleeping. Probably.

2. Mousetrap (First released in 1963)

MousetrapGame2Someone please explain to me how you played this game. Because no one I know ever knew the rules or understood what the point was. Which is a shame because we all love crazy contraptions that automate to do simple tasks like the breakfast machine in PeWee’s Big Adventure. Upon opening the box, all you and your friends wanted to do was set up the actual trap, but it never seemed to work anyways. Who cared what the actual rules were? No one. Which is why Mousetrap found its fate taken up space in the game closet next to Operation and Bed Bugs.mossman0_full

3. Moss Man (Released in 1985)
Ol’ Mossy was part of The Masters of the Universe line and was an awkward friend for toy sensation He-Man. He had the underwhelming ability to blend into his environment and control plant life. As a toy, Basically Moss Man was a muscular fuzz ball much like a Chia pet and smelled like Pine Sol. If you him held long enough, that awful fragrance would cling to your hands with a kung fu grip. He was the action figure you gave to the kid you didn’t want to come to your party and said “here…play with this.”

4. Simon (Released in 1978)This horrendous commercial and it’s Police rip off jingle says it all. The braniacs at Milton Bradley gave us this thinking game just to taunt us. I actually never owned this, but many of my classmates did and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen one that actually works. Wonder if Sting made any money off of this TV spot.

5. Pogo Balls (First released in 1969)
Why did no one play with their Pogo Ball? Because the very first time you tried it out you beefed it and broke your tailbone in the driveway. Thanks for trying to kill us, Pogo Ball.
pogo6. Speak & Spell (Availability 1978-1992)
Your Uncle and Aunt got you this one Christmas, and you knew it didn’t feel right from the moment you unwrapped it. Wait a second…this is trying to make me learn stuff. This Texasspeak_and_spell_incantor Instruments computer-painted-in-playful colors would help you sound out words and understand just how that crazy alphabet worked. And as comedian Dane Cook observed, this machine sounded like the devil when it talked back to you. Speak & Spell’s batteries would ultimately go idle and unused since it was easy to move on to other toys that were actually, ya know, fun.

7. My Buddy/Kid Sister (Released in 1985)
If you were an only child, chances are this was purchased for you as a consolation prize for coming up short in the friends or real siblings department.  The catchy song from the advertisement was enough to make you think it really would deliver on companionship. WRONG. My Buddy is no more a friend than a department store mannequin. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t really listen. When you scraped your knee and looked his way for some human empathy, he just sat there in his dumb red overalls with that sh*t eating grin on his face and let you cry your eyes out. Little girls had the female option in Kid Sister who resembled a Brady Bunch daughter and seemed a little more sun-kissed than Buddy. Maybe the tiny tanning booth was sold separately.

8. Whacky Walkers (???)
The reason these 50 cent novelty gifts were quickly abandoned is because their adhesiveness quickly rendered them gross. After a few successful grips to your wall, they would the collect every disgusting dust-mite and bit of Count Chocula crumbs that made their home on your bedroom floor. Barf-tastic.wacky_wall_walker_650x300_a

9. Skip it (Originally in the 1960s as the Lemon Twist, reissued in 1989)
Another invention marketed and sold for the sole purpose of injuring children. Even if you could keep your balance with this contraption on your leg, it would most likely bruise your ankle after numerous attempts at hopping over it. It sported a meter on the side of it to record how many times you could jump over that enormous ball. I think the meter only went up to 9, assuming this was as far as any normal kid would get before giving up and tossing into the darkest crevice of the garage.  I knew a kid that had an unfortunate Skip Accident while trying to master it with a Number 2 pencil in his jean pocket. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I will share that after learning his fate he grew up bearing the nickname of “The Uni-baller”.  Proof that you just can’t improve the simplicity of the jump rope.

10. Pizza Party (Released in 1986)
I’m just kidding. No one had this stinker of a board game. I just wanted to include this so our readers would have the joy of knowing that this was a real thing. If you did happen to own this ridiculous, ridiculous game, I bet you never played it.

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Responses

  1. We played Mousetrap by the rules and we played pizza party by the rules. We still laugh at how the Speak & Spell pronounced “great.” I had Teddy Ruxpin and his octopede friend Grubby. The epic and episodic nature of the Teddy Ruxpin cartoon is probably the main reason I love LOST.

  2. Everyone was too tired and frustrated to play mouse trap after all that set up

  3. I used to love Mousetrap…not so much to play the actual game, but I always wanted to collect those little cardboard cheese wedge tokens and make patterns with them. Also, I thought the plastic mice game pieces were super cute as Barbie pets. It’s the little things…


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