AS retailers unveil their Christmas toy ranges, parents can’t help but seethe with resentment as they remember crap toys like these:
As toss as its name, this see-through container had a button you pressed to cause a jet of water to make plastic hoops swish around and hopefully land on a peg. Like slow, random pinball, it was soon abandoned to let bountiful algae bloom.
All the wrong Star Wars figures
Star Wars figures and vehicles were excellent, but tended to sell out and weren’t cheap. So kids had to really exercise their imaginations to capture the spirit of the films with Bossk, R5-D4, a Bespin guard and a Action Force figure standing in for Han Solo, often coming up with something better than Attack of the Clones.
Evel Knievel doll and motorbike
Action doll of everyone’s favourite 1970s lunatic, but the adverts showing him soaring through hoops were a sordid lie and Evel just fell off all the time without even the excitement of an open fracture.
All the fun of a deductive logic problem! It was actually a code-breaking game, which is great if your childhood hero was Alan Turing. Or there was Simon, a coloured-light memorisation game that trained you up to memorise the Jet Set Willy codesheet.
Transformers turned from jets or cars or tape-recorders into robots. Go-Bots changed from robots into kind of crappy car-robots. Rock Lords changed from robots into rocks. That’s basically a tortoise.
There were stretch Hulks and Batmen too, but the cruelly shit concept was the same – you could stretch them then they reverted to normal. Excellent fun for youngsters with an interest in things returning to equilibrium, and a new definition of the phrase ‘limited gameplay’.