Thursday, November 18, 2010

Polly Pocket--Old Polly vs. New Polly

One of the most popular toys of the 90s has endured a radical transformation since its debut in 1989. 

The premise of Polly Pocket was that it was a little miniature dollhouse that fit in a necklace. Unfortunately, while Polly and her world and accessories were indeed tiny, there is only so tiny you can make an elaborate world, meaning the ‘pocket-sized’ plastic toy was actually fairly large and clunky (considering it was meant to be worn or, I guess, put into a pocket—yeah, perhaps a backpack pocket or something because there was no way that thing was fitting into the pocket of a pair of little girl jeans). 

Behold: Old Polly

But at least the original creators, Bluebird Toys, ATTEMPTED to keep Polly and her accessories tiny and pocket-sized. When Mattel bought out the company in 1998, they ‘supersized’ Polly (supersizing meaning that they doubled or tripled her size—Bluebird’s Pollys were under an inch tall, while Mattel’s ranged from two to three inches, depending on which Polly set you were buying.) In Mattel’s version, only Polly herself was pocket-sized, not her world. Basically, Mattel just tried to shrink down Barbie and call it ‘Polly Pocket.’ (Oh, Mattel, you just keep trying to strike gold again, dontcha?) 

Behold: New Polly and her Friggin' Jet

Monday, November 15, 2010

Non-Leisure Reading--Choose Your Own Adventure books

Time for another book series! Because I was (am) a geeky child and had many more books than I did toys.

The Choose Your Own Adventure novels were published from the late 70s to the late 90s, and were written in second-person format—because YOU were the protagonist. It was sort of like trying to take a video game and make it into a book. And kids apparently responded to it, as over 250 million copies were sold.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Little Pony--putting Carebears to shame

Think of the girliest thing you could imagine. For example, imagine a Disney princess barfing up rainbows while riding a unicorn through a magical land of lollipops, and you’ve imagined something close to the nauseatingly adorable My Little Pony toyline. 

 (It's so bright! So very, very bright!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Battle of the Bands: Backstreet Boys vs. N'Sync

A long, long time ago (y’know, like a whole decade ago), a Battle Royale took place over the airwaves.

In this corner, consisting of five guys in their 20s singing pop songs—N’Sync!

And in this corner, consisting of…five guys in their 20s singing pop songs….Backstreet Boys!

The crazy thing about N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys is the fact that they were essentially the same exact group, singing basically the same exact songs, and not only were they able to both enjoy incredible commercial success, but their fans would debate to the death over which was the superior group.

Oh, of course there were those who enjoyed both—I was one of them. But even those who had CDs of both groups had their secret preference. To them, one was simply the Better Group. But was one of them really better?

Let’s break down each group a little bit, shall we? 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Oregon Trail, hikin' and learnin' (horrors!) along the way.

Oregon Trail.

Guys…just…what was this game? Really. Why did we play it? It’s…I…I can’t even.

Okay, so I’ll be upfront and honest: There was a period of time where I LOVED Oregon Trail. Looking back, I have no real idea why. I will attempt to figure it out below.

The Oregon Trail was a computer game based on—what else—the actual Oregon Trail. If I remember correctly, we actually played it at school a few times, as a sort of learning tool (the fact that I then played it recreationally is making less and less sense). At the beginning of the game, you visited the store to buy things for your long, hard trek across the country, such as blankets, clothes, food, guns and ammunition (ammunition? Maybe that has something to do with it…). Truly riveting.

You would then decide how much of each group of supplies (food, clothes, ammo, etc.) to bring with you, and when to leave. It didn’t really matter when you left; you would always hit winter at some point, which is when you usually fell through the ice attempting to cross a river, or most of your party froze to death and you held a funeral for them.

Actually, it was pretty morbid for a children’s game.