Tamagotchis make a comeback: 5 other toys from the late 1980s and 1990s

The Tamagotchi celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
The Tamagotchi celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.PHOTO: ST FILE

If you grew up in the 1990s, you were probably one of those obsessed with Tamagotchi - a cute virtual pet which eats, sleeps and poops. Owners, including many adults, had to make sure that their Tamagotchis were regularly fed and played with so that they would not die.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the toy's launch and Japanese toymaker Bandai has re-released their Tamagotchi in celebration.

The news was met with a mini-frenzy as many people were reminded of their childhood when the Tamagotchi was all the craze.

But Tamagothchi was certainly not the only toys that 1990s kids were gaga over.

Here are five other retro toys that may give you the feels.

1. POLLY POCKET


PHOTO: MYTOYEXPRESS.COM

The creator of Polly Pocket started out with the idea of making a doll that was small enough to fit into a pocket. It was designed by Chris Wiggs in 1983 for his daughter, and was officially licensed by Britain's Bluebird Toys in 1989.

In 1998, after distributing the toys for nearly eight years, US company Mattel finally acquired Bluebird and changed the look of Polly to make it more realistic. It is made of pliable plastic, instead of hard plastic under Bluebird.

Polly Pocket was sold in sets which included rubberised clothing and then later magnetic clothes that you could snap on. They also had peripherals like houses, camper vans, and and even planes where Polly and her friends fly in for their vacations.

In 2006, 4.4 million Polly Pocket sets were recalled after children started swallowing loose magnetic parts

2. FURBY


PHOTO: FURBY

Furbies are robotic toys that emerged in 1998. They were considered the first successful attempt to create a robotic toy that could be taught and which was responsive. They were also incredibly popular among children and adults alike.

The hamster owl-like creatures start out speaking Furbish - their native language - but over time, it went on to master English words and phrases. It has electric motors and gears to open and close its mouth.

American company Hasbro in 2005 updated Furby with voice-recognition and more complex facial movements.

In fact, in later versions of the toy in 2012, you could actually shape the personalities of your Furby simply by how you interacted with it.

Over 40 million Furbies were sold during their first three years.

3. BEANIE BABIES


PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE/BBTOYSTORE

Beanie Babies were the brainchild of American H. Ty Warner, who was 39 years old when he founded the Ty company in 1983. He had left Dakin toy company three years before that.

He invested every cent he had into his idea to create small stuffed animals and used plastic pellets in the toys rather than the usual stuffing materials.

In 1993, the "original nine", as collectors call them, were released. They included creatures such as frogs, killer whales and lobsters.

In an attempt to put forth the toys as exclusive, Ty sold them only in small gift shops and speciality stores. Then, by randomly retiring many of the Beanie Babies and controlling the stock and sale of them, Ty turned people into collectors of the toys.

Ty ended up with sales of US$1.4 billion (S$2 billion) in 1998 thanks to his Beanie Babies.

4. TICKLE ME ELMO

Tickle Me Elmo was created by Ron Dubren and Greg Hyman. It originally started out as a stuffed monkey with an electronic chip that enabled the animal to laugh.

However, when American toy manufacturer Tyco produced a line of Sesame Street toys in 1996, they asked Dubren to use the electronic chip in an Elmo plush toy.

This created an Elmo doll that would laugh till it was "out of breath" when tickled, and it quickly became the most sought after toy by parents all over the world. They sold a million toys in their first year.

5. GAME BOY


PHOTO: NINTENDO

The very first Gameboy was launched in 1989 and was created by Nintendo's Gunpei Yokoi. It was a handheld console that allowed players to insert game cartridges into it. Yokoi was also responsible for the earlier Game & Watch handheld game device when Nintendo made the move from toys to video games.

The original Gameboy could display games in only four shades of grey.

But the Gameboy continued to advance until it could support colours and graphics. Thankfully, the idea of slotting in game cartridges remained the same. Kids in the 1990s will probably remember collecting game cartridges and then trading them with their friends.

In 2005, Nintendo released the Game Boy Micro which was the last version that the world would see. Nintendo ended up selling almost 120 million gameboy units.

Sources: lovetoknow.com, Furby Toy Shop, todayifoundout.com, Venture Beat, Time