The '80s were arguably one of the greatest decades in history to be a kid with an allowance burning a hole in your pocket, and a free afternoon to spend at a toy store. And decades later, toy companies have realized that all those kids buying the wonderful toys from the '80s are all grown up now with plenty of disposable income and a penchant for nostalgia. So is it any surprise that so many toy lines from the '80s are being resurrected? You won't hear any complaints here.
Cabbage Patch Kids
If there was one line of toys that defined the '80s it was the Cabbage Patch Kids. Videos of parents fighting each other to try and secure one for Christmas morning are still circulating online, but it didn't take long for kids to tire of those pudgy-cheeked dolls. A few decades later, Wicked Cool Toys is hoping that another generation of kids will go crazy for the dolls with a new line coming this year that still comes with their own birth certificates and adoption papers so you know everything is legit. [Wicked Cool Toys]
Transformers have actually remained popular with kids for decades now, but any child of the '80s will tell you that the earliest characters and figures from the North American line were easily the best. And apparently Hasbro has been listening, because the company is re-introducing re-vamped versions of some of the line's greatest robots in disguise, including Jetfire and the awe-inspiring new Devastator. [Hasbro]
You know that clear plastic screen protector that comes on devices with an LCD display? That's the best way to describe to kids what Colorforms are. They're like re-usable stickers made of vinyl that let kids create scenes with their favorite pop-culture characters. And if there are any doubts that Colorforms will succeed again when they return to store shelves later this year, the company even has a Frozen-themed set which is guaranteed to be popular. [Colorforms]
The Care Bears burst onto the scene way back in 1983 and introduced an important trend in toy collecting: Kids will buy the same thing again and again as long as it has a different color. And 30+ years later American Greetings is hoping that today's kids still believe in caring, sharing, and friendship. Later this year Cheery, Grumpy, Funshine, and Share Bear will be back, complete with new interactive features allowing them to talk and sing when placed alongside each other. [American Greetings]
Don't let anyone who didn't actually grow up in the '80s tell you otherwise, GoBots could easily hold their own against the first wave of Transformers to hit North America. And now thanks to Bandai and Action Toys, we'll soon be seeing characters like Leader-1 and Cy-Kill resurrected with more details, features, and articulation in both robot and vehicle modes. [ TFW2005]
Photo by Taghobby
In the long history of using clever gimmicks to convince kids to want a toy, nothing has ever, or will ever, compare to the simple tactic employed by Strawberry Shortcake. Did she talk? Nope. Fire rockets? Nope. Walk? Dance? Sing? Unfortunately not. The only thing Strawberry Shortcake had going for her was an intoxicating strawberry smell that was like catnip for kids. The doll, and her later friends, were huge hits in the '80s, which is why American Greetings is bringing her back later this year, exactly as she looked, and smelled, 35 years ago. [American Greetings]
Mattel's View-Master can certainly be considered the humble beginnings of the modern virtual reality experiences provided by devices like the Oculus Rift today. So when the company decided to bring it back, the new version had to do more than just display 3D images. Those cardboard discs are unfortunately gone, but when the Google Cardboard-powered headset is available later this year it will give the new View-Master the ability to display 360-degree VR images, perfect synced to the movements of the wearer's head. [Mattel]
Handheld Electronic Games
With portable consoles like the Nintendo 3DS able to provide gaming experiences that make even the original Game Boy look ancient, you'll be hard-pressed to convince today's kids to pick up these early handheld electronic games. But that's ok, because it's their parents who will probably be buying these up for nostalgia's sake. The crude sound effects have been improved, but there's no full-color LCD displays here, just blinking red LEDs to help you track of what's going on in the game. [The Bridge Direct]
If you were a kid in love with robots, there was no better time to grow up than the '80s. Transformers and GoBots certainly dominated the media and store shelves, but there were also plenty of smaller toy lines to help get your fill. What Transformers lacked in detail, Tomy's Zoids more than made up for it. They didn't transform, but wind-up motors provided realistic movement, and countless parts that constantly went missing provided plenty of reasons to keep buying them. It's no wonder Threezero is bringing back some of the more memorable models. [Threezero]
People shake their heads when they hear about today's kids asking for iPhones, iPods, and iPads, but it was no different in the '80s. Kids loved electronics back then too, but it was the Sony Walkman they lusted after. The device changed the face of portable electronics, and the company is still probably being kept afloat from Walkman profits. And that's why it's so heart-breaking that the Walkman is now a $1,200 premium gadget that promises hi-res audio, but in reality probably delivers an experience closer to digital snakeoil.