How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

8 Honest Names for 1980s Toys

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There were so many toys I wanted growing up. We had a rule, when I was a kid, that we had to sell a toy to get a new one. It was like a strange banking system.

Inevitably one of the toys would break, sending the whole system into a tailspin (also, a great reference from growing up). Here now is a list of toys with more realistic names and listings. Because childhood!

1. Breakable Plastic Robot Truck
“Optimus Prime”

Optimus Prime Robot

Am I the only one who bawled when Optimus Prime (SPOILER ALERT) died in the first animated Transformers movie? Man, that thing ruined me for a while. Anyway, we had the die-cast metal transformers at first, but the plastic, crappy versions came soon after and were super problematic. I wasn’t one of those SMASH ALL THE THINGS kinds of kids, but they did not hold up well.

2. Minimum Wageland
“Fisher Price Parking Ramp Service Center”


I remember playing with this toy for HOURS. Hours on end. I don’t know what was so alluring but I the technical wizardry of the elevator, and how bad the gas mileage was on the cars I played with because I was filling ’em up every 2 minutes. I distinctly recall thinking to myself, ‘I’d love to own a parking garage or at least work at one.’ Seems like so much fun. When times were rough in the past, I remember doing odd jobs for money, and this early play really influenced me.

3. Shitty Scooter
“Roller Racer”


Between jazzercise and skip-its, we were inundated with ways to stay healthy. Unlike today, we went outside and played with stuff. Now, that stuff wasn’t always great, but it sure led to some great injuries… I mean “fun!” One toy was the Roller Racer. Similar to a modern day Plasma Car, the Roller Racer basically felt like you were giving a handy to an angry cyborg.

4. Anxiety Island
“Fireball Island


Between this game, Operation, and Perfection, I don’t think my “fight or flight” response ever repaired itself. This could answer why I have random fears about giant boulders squashing me. Also, do you remember when commercials for toys and board games felt like tiny action movies? Those were rad.

5. Puncture Wound Light Show
“Lite Brite”


I never had one, but I always wanted to stab light fixtures into a grid of electricity thereby creating artsy designs of light and color. Do I sound bitter? Nope. Not me. I just wanted to make Tesla look like a pussy for inventing lightning bolts that could talk to people with my intricate mini lightbulb arrays. SOMEONE BUY ME A LITE BRITE.

6. 1980s Hair Stylist Kittyman
“Thundercats Action Figures – Lion-o”


What a progressive cartoon. Creating a lead character with vitiligo and massive, unruly hair was a really bold stroke. Lion-o was so badass, and half-nude. Not even his abs could be restricted by clothing; he was out, proud and armed to the teeth. I loved playing him every day. I even owned his pajamas!

7. Fist Fights in a Box!
“Nintendo Entertainment System”


The Nintendo Entertainment System provided hours of fun and years of brutal fist fights between me and my brother. I would estimate that for hour we played, we probably got into physical altercations for at least 3-4 hours over it. Playing co-op games meant constant criticism, playing against each other was a sure bet that we’d accuse each other of cheating, and playing solo games meant beating the crap out of each without any reason whatsoever. I remember my mom limiting our time because, like Cinderella’s carriage made from a pumpkin, we would expire after a certain amount of time.

8. Expensive Male Escort
“Teddy Ruxpin”


Full disclosure, I never had a Teddy Ruxpin. I wanted one dearly, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I wanted him to be my BFF but the world conspired against us. Not unlike a fraternity brother, he was a friend you had to buy, and he didn’t come cheap. You could sit and talk about your day, he’d tell you stories, and when you were tired of his shit, unlike real friends, you could just turn him off. What a revelation. I’m sure kids today would say he looks like an evil robot beat bent on enslaving the human race, but I just wanted to be his friend.

Well, there you have a few of the toys from my childhood. What were your favorites? Post yours in the comments below, and I’ll give you my honest name for them along with a full assessment of their awesomeness.


7 Responses to “8 Honest Names for 1980s Toys”

  1. Kevin says:

    Well the major draw of the Teddy Ruxpin was to put tapes of different types of music into him and see how well he sang along.

    It didn’t actually work very well but it was hilarious to try.

  2. Sarah says:

    I loved the My Buddy & Kid Sister dolls.

  3. Lizz says:

    I loved my Chubbles. I had one that reacted to light and one that reacted to sound. Place them in front of each other in a dark area and the fun never stopped! They both laughed and giggled with flashing lights. My mom made me take them to my granny’s house to show them off to everyone there that Christmas. Giggles all day from the adults.

  4. Charles Volcher says:

    I have 2 NES 1 MIB and 1 that I play with. As for Teddy Ruxpin an overhyped and way overpriced cassette player. you could play the tapes on a normal player

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