The 1980s was a great time to grow up. The world was simpler, yet there were still plenty of toys and gadgets to play with.
Though obviously not as technologically advanced as the toys we have today, nevertheless these classic 80s toys provided children endless hours of fun during what many believe is the “Best Decade Ever”.
Popular 80s Toys
The 1980s had so many great toys to choose from it was difficult to embody them all into a single list.
What were the most popular 80s toys?
Here we will outline the most popular toys of the 1980s:
1. Teddy Ruxpin
It may seem creepy today, but in the 80s this story-telling bear was all the rage. In fact Teddy Ruxpin was the best selling toy in 1985 and 1986! Countless kids across America fell asleep to Teddy Ruxpin’s stories, and it was touted as “The World’s First Animated Talking Toy”.
2. Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Of course what list of 1980s toys would be complete without mentioning the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Originally released in 1985, it would kick off a video game revolution in America that would transform the way kids entertained themselves.
It came with the “Super Mario Bros” game which in itself would go on to become a multi-billion dollar franchise, and the world was never the same once Nintendo dropped the NES on us.
3. Super Soaker
The first Super Soaker water gun was marketed as this amazing invention. Though this toy was huge in the 1990s, the first model actually launched in 1989 under the name “Power Drencher”. Compared to the small, weak water guns that it competed against, the Soaker was like the Goliath against the little David guns.
The biggest benefit was the tank on top. It allowed you to shoot a constant stream of water, whereas the little guns would shoot very tiny, short jets. If you wanted to win a water gun fight but didn’t have a Super Soaker, you didn’t have a chance unless you grabbed a lawn hose.
4. Rubik’s Cube
Simple but highly addicting, this little gadget was designed to help people think. Supposedly you had to be very smart to figure it out, because the only way to solve it is to figure out the correct pattern. The Rubik’s cube dominated when it came to non video game toys of the 1980s, and almost every kid had or had at least played with one at some point in their youth.
So how popular was this little gadget? It’s sold about 350 million units since it was first invented, so it was definitely one of the hottest toys of the 80s.
5. My Little Ponies
What a concept- small, colorful plastic ponies with long hair that little girls could comb and style. It sounds simple, but these toys were revolutionary in the 1980s. The popularity of the My Little Ponies cartoon made these toys an instant hit at the time.
My Little Ponies
Part of the success came to the marketing towards young girls. The company didn’t want to make a toy that was appealing for everyone, knowing that not all kids are different. It’s the same reason other gender-oriented toys like Barbie or GI Joes were so successful.
Picture a very colorful stuffed bear with a long tail. That’s basically a Popple.
Simple, but kids loved them back in the 80s. Soft, fun to cuddle with and easy to fling around due to their long tails, parents everywhere found themselves at one point or another buying their kids a Popple during this time.
7. Transformers Toys
The Transformers cartoon has been around for a long time, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that a good Transformer toy was made.
Depending on which character you purchased, they would be able to turn into different things. It might be a truck, jet, train or tank. Little boys loved these toys, and would have huge battles between the Transformers on the kitchen floor.
8. The Smurfs
Tiny blue people with white hats and white boots. Well, except for Papa Smurf who had a red hat.
Based on the successful Smurfs cartoon series, a brilliant toymaker had the idea of creating a collectible series of Smurf figurines. And since there were a dozen or so “main characters”, collectors paid a good chunk of change to get the whole collection.
9. Atari 2600
The first major video game system ever invented can’t be left off the list. Even though it was originally created in 1977, it was still one of the most popular video game system being played during the 1980s.
Even though the original Nintendo Entertainment System came a bit later and beat out Atari for market share, the Atari still had some very fun games and started the video game craze.
Those are some of our favorites from the 80s, what were some of yours? 🙂