Is it just me or are there so fewer toys than there were in the 80s and 90s, maybe early 2000s? I feel as though toys have diminished to 1/4th of the product we use to have. Maybe it was because I was much younger then, but it seem like a whole new set of toys came out each year around Christmas time. I never got finished writing or typing my list. Santa Claus brought me tons of toys on Christmas and I still didn’t have everything on my list. The next year I would put the same toys that I didn’t receive onto the next list and then a whole new set of new toys would be added to the list. I am the Guardian to my 9 year old cousin and it seems like every year her Christmas list looks exactly the same. American Girl dolls, doll clothes, and Barbie anything. So I was determined this year to add some extra toys to the list such as board games or Magic 8 Ball, Lite brite, police cars, robots, dolls that did more than just look pretty in a box, action toys, race cars, etc. Something that makes her think and have fun at the same time.
To my dismay, I am still trying to find things to add extra to her list. I then realized that her list looks EXACTLY the same every year because that is all they have. If it is not on a tablet they don’t carry it! I don’t want her to be only connected to the computer and phone. I want her to play with real toys as well.
I began going back down memory lane and thinking about when I would walk into Toys R Us it was like another world to me. Yes, I was younger, but I felt like I was totally surrounded by toys, toys, and more toys. The aisles seem massive and fully stocked and there were rows and rows of toys that went on, what seem like, forever. Now when I walk in I don’t get that feeling.
In fact the aisles are more separate; everything is sectioned off and each brand name only takes up about 2 rows. In fact, the store is turning more into Babies R US. They have more cribs and beds than toys. Barbie, on the other hand, still has a lot, but what if you are not into Barbie. In the 80s or 90s, there was a doll for everything… they could talk, sing, poop, eat, tumble, cry, dance, and look and feel like a real baby. Now, if you want anything like that pretty much your only choice is Baby Alive. In the 80s and 90s we had many tv shows and every show had its show characters on the shelf. Muppet Babies, Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street, Looney Tunes, Duck Tales, Animaniacs, Power Rangers, TMNT, all the Nickelodeon shows, etc.
Now most of the shows are sitcoms so if they have a doll they look just like Barbie so you are back to buying Barbie or Disney’s Princesses. Don’t get me wrong, I love Barbie and I loved her as a kid, but why is it that Barbie, the American Girl dolls, the American girl doll knock-offs, Monster high, or Baby alive are their only options. She’s not into My Lil Pony who, I must say, now look like the Monster High dolls.
Even if I move over to the boys section, what happened to all of the electric race car tracks, remote control cars, creepy crawler bug machines? Have all of those toys really gone obsolete? Why? What took their place? All I see now is Nerf, WWE, TMNT, and Hot Wheels. There aren’t even companies popping up to compete with the companies that have these items. LEGOS is the biggest section in the whole store. Legos were always big but during the 80s and 90s they fit in because every company had a lot of product. I know that many of the 80s and 90s toys were based off of cartoons in which this generation does not have many cartoons. (that is a whole other article)
To me, the little items were the toys we played with all day such as Magic 8 Ball, Jacks, card games, pogo ball , pogo stick, moon shoes, Handheld video games, tabletop pin ball machines, handheld water games, etc.
I feel as though toy makers were way more creative then and they made any toy they could think up. Now everything is about making sure it’s popular enough to make lots of money. Yes, I know that computers were just really starting to take off during my era, therefore, we had a lot of toys that were the robot style. When I would get up Christmas morning I would drag my parents up and as I opened my toys my mom would record and my Dad would put batteries in them and turn them on. By the time I was finished I had police cars and fire trucks with sirens going off driving on the floor, robots wheeling around, dogs barking and flipping, cats meowing. I am a girl, but I liked any toy and you didn’t feel weird buying a toy police car for a girl. Now girls automatically believe those are all boy toys. If the company wants to sell the same toy to everyone they have to make a girl colored equivalent toy.Nerf Mega thunderbow blaster
My little cousin isn’t even attracted to the toy unless it has girl colors. We didn’t buy it because it had girl colors. If we bought a Super Soaker we all had the same ones. We didn’t have to go find a Pink super soaker. I think we became attracted to them because we saw them in movies, tv shows and lots and lots of cool commercials. Now commercials have become banners on an internet site (once again another article). LOL!
Have video games and computers really become so big that the toymakers choose to ignore the physical toys in order to make an app? Have we really become so hard on fast food that even they don’t want to put great toys in the happy meals? They use to even advertise the toy that would be in the Happy Meal for that month. I remember my mom even went because she wanted a few of the toys or collectors’ items that you could get at McDonalds or Burger King. I collected all of my Charlie Brown VHS tapes from the local Shell gas station. I know that each generation will be different but I thought things would evolve to me they evolved in the computer world but subtracted in other areas. I’m not sure I agree with all toys being on a tablet or phone or computer screen. History repeats itself, how can we make the toys come back?[/b]