Pogs Rule: The Epic (and Cheap) Childhood of ’90s Kids
It’s official: according to the LA Times, it now costs almost $235,000 to raise a kid. And kids are fun, but that’s a whole lot of great vacations manifested in wailing little monsters that are determined to not let you sleep. And while a lot of these costs are due to rising prices of the necessities for the little money-munchers, we can’t avoid the fact that there is another component that makes parents shell out cash for these ultra-techy Late Millennials: big-ticket gadgets.
Parents of ‘90s kids had a much cheaper experience than their counterparts today. They didn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on iPads and Kinect game systems. In fact, the only gaming option for ‘90s kids was Oregon Trail, which we all know was less of a “game” and more of a lesson on how to avoid dysentery and starvation. But besides that, our parents were able to pull off the biggest scam since the Pet Rock: Pogs. Cardboard disks that, for who knows what reason, we couldn’t wait to trade with our friends. And such a great concept: throw your Slammer at someone’s pile and you get to keep all the Pogs that flip over! (Non-‘90’s kids: it’s even more awesome than it sounds. I promise.)
But it wasn’t just our constant begging for decorated garbage that kept parents’ wallets full. Gifting a Furby practically guaranteed that you would never have to buy your kid another electronic toy in their lifetime. Because they were über creepy. Those things could have easily replaced the Chucky doll, with their mechanical eyes that would pop open without any provocation in the dark corner of your room while you were sleeping. Then, as if you weren’t already terrified enough, it would start growling that it needs to be fed and blink its eyes as if undergoing an exorcism.
Our parents even got a pass when it came to paying for the pure-bred, teacup dogs that Paris Hilton made popular as we grew older. Instead, our parents threw Giga Pets at us, or if we were really lucky—some Seamonkeys. To their credit, they probably used these toys as a way to teach us responsibility, and it’s our own fault that we were too naive enough to realize that we were virtually doing chores without any of the actual perks of having a pet. And Seamonkeys were cool, but I think our whole generation forgot about them after two weeks and left them for dead in our basements.
But even as we look back and think: wow those were some lame toys compared to what kids have today, these toys are a mark of our generation. And they actually made our childhoods pretty darn epic. Kinect may be fun, but who would want to give up memories of sitting on the blacktop at recess throwing our Slammers until we (finally!) won the My Little Pony Pog? And who could forget the excitement when you found out you were getting a Furby for Christmas, not because you unwrapped the box, but because it started talking under the tree before you made it all the way down the stairs? And what about traversing the Oregon Trail until your whole fleet of cattle died and your family was left schlepping through the Rockies?
Yes, ‘90’ kids rocked childhood. And the icing on our cake? We did it all to the beat of the Backstreet Boys.