Kids these days, with their tablets and their VR headsets and their Momos. When I was younger, we played like real children; with fake weapons and dolls that gave us self-image anxiety. Just kidding (or am I?).
Anybody who’s now between the age of 20 and 30 probably has fond memories of walking into Junior’s in San Ġwann or Baystreet and begging your parents to get you the latest ‘cool’ toy that almost definitely cost way more than necessary.
How many of these do you remember?
1. Bratz dolls
Let’s start with some of the classics before we get into the mega obscure 00s toys.
Bratz dolls have made a recent return to the social narrative and are seeing a second coming of sorts, but the OG are definitely where it’s at.
Also making their way back into circulation these were definitely a later addition to the collection and were our introduction to handheld electronics.
So if you’re addicted to your phone, blame your mother for buying you a Tamagotchi.
3. Hot Wheels
They had some cool cars, but everyone loved Hot Wheels because of their extremely over-the-top race tracks. And they were automated too. It was like your childhood trip track, on steroids.
Honorary mention to Matchbox cars too.
A toy close to our hearts here in Malta, because we have one of their factories here.
Hands up if you know someone who had an entire village of Playmobil buildings in their house, or if you’ve ever gone for a day at the factory for a birthday party.
5. Action Man
Ken’s buff older sibling?
Action Man inspired the hero in young boys all over the world, and graced many a swimming pool here in Malta. If you’re a girl you probably stole your brother’s Action Man to take your Bratz on a date.
And I know some boys stole their sister’s Bratz; you don’t need to hide it to subscribe to societal norms.
6. Pixel Chix
Before the Tamagotchi, there were Pixel Chix.
I still don’t understand how these worked.
Inspiring the engineer inside all of us. And by all of us, I mean if you’re a boy.
Because you could forget playing with Meccano if you’re a girl. Stick with your Pixel Chix.
A TV show and portable battle game, half of your time playing with them was made up of trying to unstick the trigger.
9. Polly Pocket
A choking hazard if there ever was one.
And sure, I was eight when they were popular, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to eat them.
10. Nerf Guns
Shooting each other for fun.
Running after your siblings in your house and breaking something expensive. Or tripping in the garden and grazing your knee. But the real problem would be when your brother shot you while you were down and was breaking the rules.
Lego blocks are still pretty popular nowadays TBH. But nothing was more fun than building a space ship out of hundreds of tiny lego pieces.
Just don’t step on one.
12. Make-up kits
Put your Urban Decay Naked Reloaded palette down and pick up one of these bad boys.
Part of the Lego brand, Bionicles were a build your own robot-cyborg-monster kind of thing. They even got their own movie series.
14. Betty Spaghetty
A bendable doll made out of rubber with crazy long hair and no waist. That’s all I remember about her.
15. Bop It!
You don’t know true anger until you know the feeling of getting thiiiis close to beating your 157 streak high score on Bop It, only to have it ruined by your bully older cousin when you’re on 156.
We’re stepping into the weirder territory here.
Eggs of slime that reportedly mated with each other if you kept them close together overnight.
I don’t know what we loved so much about this singing bird (I think it’s a bird???), but nothing was more satisfying than connecting your Furby with your friend’s by rubbing their toes against each other.
18. Waterful Ring Toss
This was addictive, and impossible.
It was the Candy Crush of our generation.
19. My Password Journal
The trials and tribulations of secondary school were all written into this electronically lockable journal.
And you were extra special if you had the one with the invisible ink.
20. Mini skateboards
Skateboards for your fingers. There’s nothing more to it.
21. Furreal Friends
Like a pet, but not a real one.
Ok these aren’t technically toys, but they were fun AF.
Petition to make Heelys cool again.