Leg warmers, mullets, and The Breakfast Club were three things that defined the 1980s; admit it, typing those words transports you back in time. However, the same can be said of the time’s toys and games. You’ll remember some of the most popular toys that have remained iconic even after 40 years, whether you were an 80’s baby or simply came of age around that time.
Do you remember the Cabbage Patch Kids, Mr. Potato Head, and the Care Bears? Here’s a list of the most popular and talked about retro toys from the 1980s if you want to go back in time. Most of these are still for sale if you want to relive some of your favorite childhood memories or simply give someone something nostalgic.
Barbie and the Rockers
Barbie and the Rockers outdid the previous princess and ballerina Barbies. This 80s glam rocker doll was also the subject of a film, Barbie and the Rockers: Out of This World, which featured an outer space rock concert led by the star and her rockin’ band in an effort to promote world peace.
This one was a true physical challenge. If you could just get on it, you’d have hours of carefree pogo-ing. Unfortunately, memories of the pogo ball are likely to be mixed, with a few brief moments of bliss and an overwhelming number of encounters with the sidewalk.
With a View-Master, you could easily transport yourself to another location. With a single pull of the lever, you could be mingling with the characters from The Jungle Book or touring the country’s historic sites.
It didn’t matter if you had a Love-a-lot Bear, a Wish Bear, a Cheer Bear, a Bedtime Bear, a Good Luck Bear, or any of the other colorful Care Bears, because many people still ‘care-a-lot’ about these timeless furry friends.
Originally designed as characters for greeting cards, the Care Bears would eventually make their way into television, films, books, and even music.
Mr. Potato Head
The original Mr. Potato Head from the 1950s was just a bunch of plastic pieces meant to be stuck inside a real potato, but government regulations and a few pricked fingers put an end to that. By 1985, he had become everyone’s favorite little plastic potato, and he even had a starring role in the hit film Toy Story 10 years later.
Every child, boy or girl, desired a Big Wheel. Nothing beats speeding around the front yard on one of those Harley look-alikes, pedaling a thousand times a minute. They even came in a variety of colors and themes, such as the Wonder Woman and Superman Hot Cycles and the fully loaded Aqua Blaster Big Wheel, which came complete with a water gun and was ideal for shooting down innocent bystanders on the run.
These soft, huggable teddy bears were popular in the 1980s, and their bright colors and quirky names (for example, Potato Chip, Puffball, and Pancake) made them irresistible. The cartoon was also not bad.
Nowadays, with free video games on mobile phones that have better graphics than classic video games that cost $50 35 years ago, it’s difficult to remember how simple it is to make something look high tech by using simple robotic movements. That’s what Worlds of Wonder demonstrated when Teddy Ruxpin debuted in 1985. Working with a couple of servos inside the bear, a cassette tape made Teddy appear to be telling kids one of a variety of stories about the mischief Teddy and his friends got themselves into. It caused quite a stir.
While there had obviously been home video game systems prior to Nintendo, the Nintendo Entertainment System changed everything. Its release in New York in 1985 revitalized the video game market and established Nintendo as one of the world’s most recognizable brands.
These were so mass-produced that it’s surprising that people are still selling them for more than $1,000 mint in the box, but they’re so popular that demand is still very high, resulting in a robust back market for the original console.
Cabbage Patch Kids
Baby dolls have been around for a long time, but when the Cabbage Patch Kids debuted in 1983, they took things to the next level. These simple fabric dolls with big cheeks were released just in time for Christmas, but stores only had 200 to 500 dolls to offer customers at a time. Riots, injuries, and property damage resulted from the limited inventory!
By the end of the shopping season, 3 million Cabbage Patch Kids had found new homes. All those black eyes and broken windows must have been worth it, because the Cabbage Patch Kids are regarded as one of the best 80s toys of all time by many nostalgic Gen Xers.
Magic 8 Ball
Ask the Magic 8 Ball any question, and it will answer it. It’s essentially a Greek Mythology oracle crammed into a tiny plastic ball. It doesn’t matter if you want to ask a serious question or a silly one; the ball never judges.
Shake it, flip it over, and you’ll get your own personal fortune. It’s like having all the fun of a fortune cookie without having to eat it.
Those little blue figurines that made their way into homes across America predate the early 1980s cartoon series; they’ve been around since the 1950s. Smurfy characters such as Baby Smurf, Hefty Smurf, and Smurfette are still popular collectibles today.
She-Ra: Princess of Power doll
She-Ra: Princess of Power was one of the most powerful women of the 1980s. Her compassionate personality, amazing acrobatic abilities, and telepathic communication with animals made her a total boss and rivaled Barbie.
Big Yellow Teapot
In the early 1980s, this indestructible plastic teapot was all the rage. The brightly colored teapot housed a little plastic family, complete with a dog, and was ideal for parents who weren’t ready to give their toddlers anything they could swallow, break, or injure themselves with.
Pac-Man, the most popular and successful arcade game of all time, was released in the early 1980s. The popular video game was created as a nonviolent alternative to the industry’s violent video games. Instead of fighting, Pac-concept Man’s revolved around food, and the silly but addictive game quickly became a worldwide sensation.
Some of you may have played Sonic Mountain as a child, but Kong Man was the first to introduce the high-intensity, mountain climb game format. While climbing to the top of Kong Man’s kingdom, players had to move a magnetic ball through a series of obstacles.
Magnetic swings, moving steps, chutes, slides; this thing had it all, and to top it off, if you didn’t reach the top within the time limit, the whole thing would stop moving.
For those who are unfamiliar, it is a pull-along phone on wheels aimed at toddlers and young children.
The telephone makes a chattering noise and its eyes move when the wheels move. The original unit was made of wood, and the rotary dial functioned similarly to an old-fashioned phone.
On this simple 1980s toy, kids had hours of fun talking to imaginary people. The Chatter Telephone, which promotes speech and number skills, is another defining product of the decade.
When it comes to decade-defining products, nothing beats a good old-fashioned Lego Bucket. This isn’t a box filled with colorful bricks, but rather a red tub filled with endless possibilities. Build a house, a plane, a boat, or a crane; whatever you can imagine, Lego can recreate.
As of 2015, there are eight Lego Land themeparks, over 600 billion Lego pieces have been sold in homes and shops worldwide, and Lego has surpassed Ferrari as the world’s most powerful brand. Some sets are still worth more than gold!
The only people who appeared happy during 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic were Playmobil figurines. This is due to the fact that they are designed with a cheerful smile and can go anywhere, with changeable outfits, amazing playsets, and spaceships that do not require a license to fly.
These figurines are modeled after children. These friendly, simple, and colorful little people have helped children all over the world escape “the ordinary” and live out their wildest fantasies.
Although figures can be purchased without scenery, playsets such as the Playmobil Castle with working canons were a lot of fun.
It can’t mow the lawn, but it can fill the air with fun bubbles. Simply fill the toy with bubble solution and spin the motor to see bubbles fly out. It starts mowing when tiny hands push it along, and it’s light enough that children as young as two years old can help.
This 1980s toy aimed to boost self-esteem by allowing children to mimic their parents’ actions and, presumably, strive to one day own a large lawn.
Hungry Hungry Hippos
Although one of the ‘Hungrys’ has been removed in more recent versions of this classic family game, Hungry Hungry Hippos remains as fun and fast-paced as it ever was.
The concept was first proposed in 1967, but it wasn’t until 1978 that the Hungry Hungry Hippos were available for purchase in your local toy store.
The Fisher Price Farm
The Fisher Price Farm was a classic toy that inspired a slew of crazy scenarios. The majority of those scenarios were farm-related, but look how happy that horse is drinking from the trough!
This plastic barn resembles Harvest Moon in toy form, with cows, chickens, pigs, and sheep. Feed the animals, transport them in your tractor, and make sure the pesky chickens don’t poop on the front porch!
My Little Pony
Cotton Candy, Butterscotch, Blue Belle, Snuzzle, Minty, and Blossom were the first six characters to appear in toy stores in 1982, and My Little Pony quickly became one of the best-selling toys of the decade.
Over 150 million ponies were sold during the 1980s, but a 1997 revival was a failure, and the brand was discontinued for another six years.
These popular toys from the 1980s would not have been complete in your childhood toy box. Many of them have been modernized or have become collectibles worth thousands of dollars.
This Christmas, introduce your children to these classic 1980s toys. These old favorites will never go out of style in a world of viral videos and online games!