Twitter, on the surface, seems sort of ridiculous. If you're not familiar with it, let me give you a synopsis. It basically took the idea of Facebook and stripped it down so that your "status" update is limited to 120 characters. You can still share photos and videos, but there are no albums. There is no "like" button or the ability to start a hilarious comments section. Instead, you can "favorite" a Tweet, or Retweet it, if you so desire. And instead of comments sections, you simply reply to a Tweet, which will undoubtedly get lost in a string of other replies.
I don't actually Tweet all that much. What I like most about Twitter, is the ability to get nearly up-to-the-second updates in the news and sports world. That's what I use it for more than any other reason. Things that appear on Facebook have, in all likelihood, been Tweeted a dozen or so times already. I can get continuous updates on Cardinals games without listening or watching, or I can find out what Wildcats have declared for the draft as soon as it happens. I like having that access to information.
But, there are also some gimmicky "Twitter handles" that I follow strictly for entertainment's sake. One of which is "The 90s Life" which periodically posts things from my childhood that make me chuckle (or sob, because I realize how swiftly time has passed). The other day, they posted a list of 15 toys from the 1990s that you miss. While a few of them were too new for me to have ever gotten excited about, there were some that I held a religious admiration for when I was a kid, and I couldn't help but smile. Then, last night, my sister-in-law posted on Facebook a picture of a few of her old Masters of the Universe figures that spawned an interesting conversation about the true identity of those pictured. It took me back to my childhood, if only briefly, and made me think about all of the great toys I had growing up. So, I decided to make a list of the 10 toys I miss most. In no particular order...
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
2. G.I. Joes
Another of my early childhood favorites were the second generation of G.I. Joes. They weren't like your father's G.I. Joes...These were only a couple of inches tall, but were fully pose-able, making it possible to play out all sorts of sweet fight scenes and dramatic death sequences. Much like TMNT, the G.I. Joe cartoon was on full syndication in the Edwards household. If there were a hierarchy of toy gods to me, these guys were right there at the top with Mikey, Leo, Donnie, and Raph. I had countless "Joes" (like the one pictured above, Snake Eyes), and weapons and vehicles to go with them. My favorite vehicle was this huge desert aircraft carrier Memaw got me for my birthday when I was 5. It came with a helicopter that could land on top, had buttons for sound effects, could hold about 20 Joes inside of it, and had a retractable, spring-loaded cannon that fired huge missiles. It was awesome. Memaw was pretty good about keeping my G.I. Joe collection healthy, because we rarely made a Wal-Mart trip without her buying me one. My affinity for G.I. Joes was so great, one Halloween the entire family went as clowns...Except me. I was Duke. I was a badass.
4. Masters of the Universe
5. Ghostbusters Proton Pack
When the first Ghostbusters movie hit theaters in 1984, it spawned a huge merchandising monster that spread into the 90s, after Ghostbusters 2 was released in 1989. Christmas of 1989, for me, was basically an assortment of Ghostbusters stuff, the beauty you see above included. I loved this thing. You could pretend to zap ghosts with it, even though it may have just been a piece of yellow Nerf foam. I'm not really sure why I was so enthralled with Ghostbusters, but for a year or two, I was all about it. I haven't seen this gem in ages, and am fairly certain it was either thrown away or sold at a yard sale long ago. But, I got hours of enjoyment out of it.
6. Nintendo Entertainment System
7. Nerf Turbo Screamer
8. Super Soaker
Water fights were never the same once this AK-47 of a water gun hit the market. I personally never owned one, but many of my friends did, and I used them plenty. There were so many different sizes and attachments available, it literally was like an H20 arsenal only limited by your budget and imagination. Some kids would have the backpack attachment that never seemed to run dry, and they'd basically dominate. They still make Super Soakers, but they look bulky and "futuristic." Nothing will replace the original.
Much like the NES console, the Gameboy got hours of use, mostly in the backseat of our car as we went on a family vacation. Despite the need for a light source to play when it was dark, the Gameboy was awesome in its simplicity. The graphics were terrible, the games were mostly stripped-down versions of their console counterparts, and it went through batteries like you wouldn't believe (it took 4 AAs just to turn the damn thing on). But, it provided hours of entertainment on long road trips, and my mom wore her fingers to the bone playing Tetris. Finally, ol' Boy gave out after about 15 years. He had a good run.
10. Micro Machines
Again, Micro Machines were originally introduced in the 1980s, but hit their peak in the early 90s, just in time for a young Zach Edwards to jump on board. I'm not exactly sure what made Micro Machines so appealing...They were really too small to "play" with. They were easy to lose. But, the coolest thing was the environments they could come with. I had a few different ones, one of which had multiple levels. I was all about them for a couple of years, but my interest waned just as quickly.
While I'm sure kids today will look back fondly on the toys they have, I refuse to believe their toys are as great as the ones we had in the 90s. Hell, even the toys from the early 90s were way better than stuff that came along later. I hold a special place in my heart for all of those listed here, and hope my parents did a better job of preserving them than I did. But, I was never about keeping my toys safe...They were played with. They were used. Several of my G.I. Joes have been forever lost to the creek behind my parents house. Lensey shattered my original Raphael against the side of the bathtub (some sort of retribution for a Ken doll having his head ripped off...I'm not buying it). From the fantastic commercials, to the hours of time I spent with my imagination taking me to a different world, I will always remember the toys of my childhood fondly.