The history of the '90s pogs craze dates back to the centuries-old Japanese game of Menko, which Japanese immigrants brought with them to Hawaii in the early 20th century. The traditional game's small ceramic pieces were soon replaced with image-stamped milk bottle caps as the game evolved, became pogs, and caught on in Hawaii. In 1991, a teacher made pogs famous after teaching the game to schoolchildren on the islands. By 1993, pogs had caught fire in the mainland, where it soon seemed that every image imaginable had been shrunken down and slapped on a pog.
Lifelike dolls have come and gone through the ages, but not Baby Born. Since the no-battery-needed baby that cries hit the market in 1991, the Zapf Creation sensation has sold 22 million units. They're still on the market today, although they've received a heap of upgrades and modifications over the decades.
Tiger Electronics launched in 1978 and first introduced handheld games in the 1980s—unlike Game Boy, there were no cartridges and each unit was stocked with just one title. In the 1990s, Tiger Games offered a new series of handhelds as an alternative to Nintendo's much more expensive blockbuster mobile gaming system. Among the best was Tiger Lights Out, which hit the shelves in 1995.
Although Polly Pocket came out in 1989, the miniature dolls and their many accessories were early '90s all the way. The carriers they came in mimicked adult makeup cases, and when opened, the cases revealed an entire small-scale world that the dolls called home.
Betty Spaghetty was a huge hit almost as soon as it was launched in 1998, and its popularity endured into the early 2000s. Designed for girls 4 years old and up, kids loved Betty because, of course, of her spaghetti-like hair, but also for her interchangeable limbs.
Yes! Entertainment unveiled Yak Bak in the mid-1990s as a challenge to Tiger Entertainment's wildly popular Talkboy. The tiny handheld voice-recording toy caught on so fast that it spawned a long legacy of spinoff models before the second half of the decade rendered the crude technology obsolete.
Battling Gumby for the title stretch toy king, Stretch Armstrong traces its roots back to 1976—and those roots grew into a $50 million super franchise. So, what does this have to do with the 1990s? Stretch Armstrong fell out of favor in the '80s, but in the early '90s, he was reinvented and reintroduced with his dog, Fetch Armstrong, giving the gooey, elastic man a modern resurgence.
The concept of moon shoes dates back to the 1950s and they were first mass-produced in the '70s. In the '90s, however, Nickelodeon reinvented them with plastic fittings instead of metal ones, and with bungee-styled springs.
Just before Christmas in 1992, the Washington Post reported on a slimy, bouncy, kind of gross, yet irresistible, new craze that was becoming the holiday season's must-have toy. Slime had been synonymous with Nickelodeon since the show "You Can't Do That on Television" dumped buckets of the stuff on anyone who said "I don't know"—"Double Dare" doused contestants with slime, too. That year, kids could own some slime of their very own when Nickelodeon launched the wildly popular Gak, which spawned a line of gross and gooey spinoff slime fads that spanned the decade.
Velcro toss and catch
With the exception of maybe the Koosh ball, no toy ever made catching easier for people who can't catch than the Velcro toss-and-catch system. From the beach and the street to school hallways and backyards, kids—and plenty of adults, too—learned that catch is much easier with Velcro hand shields and a fuzzy ball.