The 90s are now more than two decades old. Repeat – two decades. For anyone who felt immediately older reading that sentence, prepare to take the nostalgia factor up to overdrive.
Here’s a list of the best toys and games that anyone who grew up in the 90s will remember. From a time when smartphones, YouTube, and the general concept of a laptop didn’t really exist yet.
The original virtual companion. No matter how many subsequent digital pets cropped up in the following years, none of them could compete with the thousands of children around the country fretting because they need to go home and feed half a dozen pixels.
Not to be mistaken for the adult competitive sport, but taken just as seriously on playgrounds around the island. And when we played for keeps, you just knew shit would get real in seconds.
Pogs, caps, slammers…another game that had us nearly kill each other in the 90s. When someone showed up with one of those coloured plastic tubs, you could feel the tension in the air as the stakes were raised higher.
And to this day, nothing beats the feeling of satisfaction when you win and take home everyone’s pogs.
Released bang in the middle of the 90s, the Sony PlayStation (later abbreviate as the PS1) came to define today’s gaming expectations. Besides, no other gaming console can ever create so much tension and anticipation from a simple loading screen.
While there are far too many games to mention—from the still-amazing Crash Bandicoot to the time-consuming Final Fantasy—we’d pick one that was released in the very beginning of the console’s lifetime and which has stood the test of time: the undisputed party champion, Tekken 2.
Sure, the iconic 7.5cm figure was introduced in 1974 and still goes on to this day, but you could very well argue that the 90s was the last good decade for the plastic men in Malta, or at least one of the best. And with the opening of the first Malta Playmobil FunPark in 1995, 90s kids were definitely prime for the plastic fad.
That unmistakeable smile and those C-shaped yellow hands went on to see many adventures, from pirate attacks to space explorations.
6. Top Trumps
The only scientific way to confirm that your dad’s Lancia is actually faster than your mate’s Skoda family car – cold hard facts.
Back when the word Trump had pretty much no derogatory insinuations and the Donald was just a helpful guy in a New York hotel lobby.
In the 90s, it was much easier to determine whether someone was cool or not. Could they perform sick tricks with their yoyos? Yes? Then they were definitely cool.
8. Arcade Games
One of the biggest fads of the 90s carried well into the 90s and very early 00s, but seems to have drastically died out now. That gives us enough reason to put this in the list, especially with games like Metal Slug X and Time Crisis 2 coming out in the mid 90s and dominating games rooms around the country for years.
One of the latecomers for 90s kids, but still a pivotal point in our childhoods. In many people’s cases, this was the ultimate show of superiority in the first years of secondary school, and you can still find hundreds of adults nowadays who will speak highly of their Limited Edition Dragoon (nostalgic tears optional).
Even before the Sony PlayStation, the Commodore Amiga was one of the first forays into home computer gaming for 90s kids. Formula One Grand Prix was as adrenaline-filled as racing games came.
Our favourite game from the Amiga era has to be the 1991 behemoth Lemmings…made by the company that eventually evolved into Rockstar Games —yep, the Grand Theft Auto guys!
11. Fortune Teller
Like every other generation before and after them, 90s kids yearned for a better future and often wondered what would happen to them when they (eventually) grew up. What we had that no other generation had, though, was a top secret piece of technology that perfectly predicted everything.
Still waiting on Anna Kournikova to marry me so that we could live in a giant gold castle in the sky, but whatever.
12. Gameboy Colour
A gaming console so small it could kind of fit in your jeans pocket, also in colour?! Man, this was pretty much as close to advanced alien technology as the 90s could get. Thanks Nintendo; you ruled the 90s.
13. Pokémon Trading Cards
Of course you knew this one was coming. How could we not mention one of the biggest fads of the late 90s?! Pokémon dominated 90s kids’ lives, from the amazing TV series to the amazing games (most of which were on the Gameboy, incidentally), but the trading cards was where it was at. The more we heard that the cards might have some satanic dust inside of them, the more it actually made us want to rebel and catch ’em all. The original set is still worth quite a lot, both emotionally and financially – the earliest version of holographic Charizard regularly sells for over $1000! And to be honest, we regularly go on eBay and consider whether we should just go ahead and buy a whole set all over again.
For anyone who’s lived through the 90s and took Pokémon cards seriously, nothing can ever beat opening a booster pack of 15 cards and discovering a randomly-packed extremely rare holographic card of that one elusive Pokémon you’ve been meaning to get for weeks.
BONUS: Reliving the joy
Do you want to get a great big dose of everything 90s? Then Class of 95 is definitely the place to be – get your tickets while they’re still available!