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Five 90’s Toys That Never Lived Up to the Hype

Shades and swept back nineties hair not included.

There was no shortage of toys in the nineties and back in the decade, companies spent a lot of time trying to re-think old toys, or deliver revolutionary new ways of playing with toys. You could probably make a huge book of nineties toys that were coveted by kids of all ages, but a few of them were so not worth the hype. Some of them didn’t work, didn’t work too well, or caused some pretty terrible injuries. From what I’ve read, apparently “Skip It” caused a few tumbles and plenty of bruised ankles.

Despite the great marketing campaigns and catchy jingles, these toys were never fun, and never quite compared to the actual experiences. These are five toys every kid wanted that were pretty much just garbage, in the end.

Power Glove

The Power Glove was easily one of the most hyped and talked about NES peripherals ever created, and we wanted one badly. The cost for the power glove was expensive, so my brother and I would have likely spent more time fist fighting each other for a turn than actually playing it. My cousin was one of the few to get it, and suffice to say, the glove was not at all worth all the publicity. It looked like a great futuristic device, but as many know, it barely worked with any of the NES games, and was painfully obnoxious to try to control. It was so much more convenient to grab an NES controller and play the darn game. It didn’t look as cool, but you got to play the game without a problem.

ANY Tiger Handheld Game
For a few years there the Tiger Handheld games were very popular and sought after by a lot of kids I knew. The fact is that they were considered by everyone to be a very cheap alternative for a GameBoy and or game gear. Why buy a $90 GameBoy, spend four dollars on batteries, and spend almost two hundred bucks on Game Boy Cartridges when, for a mere twenty five bucks, you can just buy a Tiger Handheld game with one game on it?

I mean, they technically had one game on them. I guess. The games were ridiculously easy, and became very repetitive after a while, but they had games for just about everyone, including girls, so despite losing its entertainment value after twenty minutes, everyone had at least four of these; even those that could afford actual GameBoys or game systems.

Sock Em Boppers
No, these were not more fun than a pillow fight. Truth be told, they were quite anti-climactic. First off there’s nothing more fun than an actual pillow fight, and two: once you inflated them, if you punched someone too hard you could pop any one of the plastic boppers effectively wasting your money. And if you punched too hard or the wrong way, there was the risk of spraining or breaking your wrists. At least with pillow fights there was only the risk of head injuries or bloody noses… especially if you snuck a few rocks in to the pillow case. What, I was the only one that did that? Okay, then.

Mouse Trap
“I-Is it doing the thing from the commercial yet? Is it doing the thing from the commercial yet? When is it going to do the thing from the commercial? This is boring. It’s not doing the thing from the commercial. Look! It’s doing it! It’s doing the thing with the mouse trap! Wow that was cool. Okay, let’s go play “Street Fighter II,” this sucked.”

The Virtual Boy
In theory the Virtual Boy was an amazing idea. In theory. What you had was a humongous video game head set that you attached to your head that was allegedly portable, and then you could only play it for twenty minute intervals because the all red screen and graphics often left you with a mind numbing headache, and blurred vision. If anything, at least a lot of kids learned what migraines were after experiencing this, uh, “machine.” Once those went away you also had to deal with the painful neck aches.
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Dalek227 Posted on Dec 17, 2018 at 04:29 AM

What I HATED about Mouse Trap was it was such a pain in the butt to reset up after you'd attempted to play it and it didn't go right.

I had the Little Mermaid and Gauntlet I believe for the Tiger Games. I think my younger sister had a Mary Kate And Ashley one bwhaha

DirtyD79 Posted on Jan 04, 2018 at 08:23 AM

I don't think anybody I know ever played Mouse Trap seriously. Me and my brother always just set up the trap to watch it do all the stuff like in the commercial and after a couple times that just got boring. I forget what we ended up doing with it. It's probably buried in a closet or in the basement somewhere.

Benjanime Posted on Oct 01, 2017 at 04:13 PM

many families were guaranteed to have those tiger games, regardless of the parents being poor or not it was their way of saying "well a gameboy game is pretty expensive, how about i get my son this ten dollar lcd game instead?"

comic_book_fan Posted on Sep 27, 2017 at 08:38 AM

my brother was heavy into tiger handheld games i played his ninja turtles star trek tng games all the time i had a virtual boy until my mom made me get rid of it monster headaches couple of nose bleeds that she seemed to think was related to it

pikachulover Posted on Sep 24, 2017 at 09:07 AM

I only had the Tiger handheld game. I had The Little Mermaid one. I liked it. I like to use it as an arcade game Barbie would play.

I wanted Mouse Trap, but my mom told me it was boring and looked nothing like the commercial. She said as a kid in the 60s somebody she knew owned a copy. I think she said after a while they just like building and playing with the trap part.

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 24, 2017 at 03:31 AM

The Virtual Boy was probably the biggest bust of the bunch. Though the Power Glove was a close second. R.O.B. Takes third for the big N.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Sep 24, 2017 at 03:02 AM

Your re-enactment of playing Mouse Trap is 100% accurate. I bought it based on the commercial and it fell flat. They have revised it since then and the version I bought for my son actually works in it's simplified form. Very fun.

Superman Posted on Sep 23, 2017 at 11:13 PM

Nice article. Fortunately, I never had any of these toys. They sound like a real waste of money.

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