There’s no denying that the 1980s were famous for—among other things—some of the greatest toys around, but it’s far from being the only decade with iconic playthings. Quite possibly rivaling its predecessor where awesome toys are concerned, the ‘90s were rife with plenty of nifty baubles and doodads that topped the birthday wish list of any kid back in the day—and here are five of our absolute favorites!
1) Mighty Max Playsets
Hot off the heels of the immensely popular line of Polly Pocket miniature playsets, Bluebird Toys—a British company—released Mighty Max. Instead of shopping for clothes or hanging with the gals, Max was busy fighting dinosaurs, zombies, and the very legions of Hell; essentially everything that appeals to a growing boy. American toy company Mattel brought Mighty Max over to American shores soon after, offering something completely different to a generation that primarily played with toys based on comic book heroes. And in case you’re wondering, that Mighty Max hat offer expired long ago. Sorry...
2) Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Megazord
Back in the day, one’s playground popularity was predicated on whether or not you had the must-have toy of the year—and during the ‘90s the Power Rangers Megazord was that toy. It didn’t matter if you had the entire team of Rangers in action figure form or every one of the monsters they fought, because the Megazord trumped all of them as the be all and end all of childhood status symbols. It’s harsh, but not having the big guy made you an instant pariah and put your parents’ love in serious question.
Also going by less noble handles including “The Scourge of the Carpet,” “The Dirt Magnet,” and “The Bane of Your Mother's Very Existence,” Gak was nothing more than slime available in an assortment of neon colors. The limited scope of what one can do with Gak is covered entirely in the commercial, though there were definitely a handful of children out there that discovered other fun things to do with the stuff—fun things that more often than not drove mom to hurl it in the trash and regret ever allowing us to buy Gak in the first place. Average time spent enjoying Gak before parental units threw it away: Ten minutes—tops.
4) Star Wars Micro Machines
It’s almost hard to believe that Star Wars nearly fell into relative obscurity in the mid to late ‘80s, with many toys and other products going from stores’ top shelves to bargain bins. Thankfully the ‘90s entered a Star Wars renaissance, introducing the galaxy far, far away to a whole new generation of kids and their parents’ money. Acquiring licensing rights from Lucasfilm, the now defunct Galoob toy company combined the variety of its Micro Machines line with Star Wars, creating a series of miniature ships, characters, and playsets that captured the essence of the franchise and delivered an unparalleled level of playability. Who wouldn't want a pocket-sized Millennium Falcon?
5) The Sentinel
In the war between action figure lines including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman, and Spider-Man, X-Men was the undisputed king of ‘90s toy aisles! And just when it seemed things couldn’t get any better, ToyBiz—the manufacturer of nearly every Marvel toy at the time—released the Sentinel! Admittedly, by today’s improved standards of action figure articulation, the Sentinel amounts to a brick with a magenta and purple paint job. But with nothing else to measure its quality against 18 years ago the Sentinel was a work of art akin to Michelangelo’s David... if the latter had a retractable gripping claw and arm-firing action that is.
What’s your favorite toy of the ‘90s?