POGS. TAMAGOTCHI. BEANIE babies. They sound like the sort of words found in a bowl of alphabet soup, but in fact these were some of the biggest trends of the 90s.
One thing about these trends is that they were absolutely everywhere for what felt like forever - to our young minds at least – but when they disappeared, they disappeared. No doubt there are dusty, broken tamagotchis and troll dolls in attics around Ireland (and indeed the world), and that’s where we hope they stay: because some 90s trends are best forgotten.
As if dealing with real-life friends wasn’t enough, Tamagotchis introduced a new worry into the equation – a computerised pet. Tamagotchis were plastic eggs originating in Japan that were small enough to fit into your pocket. By owning one, you became the guardian of a digital pet and had to take care of its every need. You would think it was sort of like parenting, what with the pet’s ability to call out for attention, food, and medicine, but the fact you could put it on pause meant that it taught you nothing about raising a real child. There goes any reason to hope these come back into fashion…
Troll Dolls were ugly bits of plastic moulded into scary big-eyed tiny monsters with shocks of synthetic hair… and yet many of us loved them. They didn’t do much except stand there grinning at you, but perhaps that was part of the appeal. Like most toy trends, this one saw people completely consumed by the need to own trolls of every shape and size, wear them on t-shirts and stick them on keyrings, but luckily they sank without a trace after a few years. We’re delighted, mainly because we’re pretty sure they’d stage a troll uprising if given the chance.
Football – great sport eh? So good you’d like to imitate it at home. But why kick around a football in the garden when you can flick around tiny plastic football players on a small mat. Nope, us neither. Unlike the joy of ‘foosball’, this game just didn’t quite hit the mark for some of us. The idea of it was great, but the reality was never quite on the ball (sorry). Still, we can’t fault the makers for their enthusiasm and dedication to ensuring even third division teams were represented. That all said, a new version of Subbuteo was released this year – so maybe this is one trend that will see a resurgence.
Beanie Babies were like trolls, only cuter, softer, and infinitely more appealing. Which is probably why some fans ended up with rooms full of the little teddies, and very broke parents. Those of us who weren’t overtaken by the Beanie bug had one toy, or maybe two, but we secretly wanted one more. Luckily for us, this trend died a death within a few years. The toys themselves get top marks for cuteness however.
If it hadn’t been for Cotton Eye Joe, we’d not have realised exactly how popular line dancing had become – popular enough that terrible mainstream dance songs were taking on a distinctively country sound. Line dancing was cool for about 5 seconds, before people realised that not everyone looks like a hip cat doing those moves. Still, any activity that gets you up and grooving is good – but we suspect Zumba is a little cooler.
Gosh, the 90s really was the Decade of Collecting Pointless Things, wasn’t it? Add to that list Pogs, which were small round pieces of cardboard with prints of cartoon characters and other figures on them. They were bright, colourful, and utterly useless, and – you guessed it – we loved them. Collecting the ‘right’ Pogs was a sport that took tenacity, focus, and a decent amount of pocket money. Are we glad they’re gone? Oh, yes – some of us still owe our parents money for these fanciful things.
Pokemon! Yes, Pokemon, the video game created by Nintendo that became such a huge franchise it soon had a card game, cartoon, video game and lots more merchandise with its name emblazoned on them. Pokemon was everywhere you turned in the late 90s, particularly if you were living with a video-game playing, card-collecting Pokemon fanatic. Hopefully they grew out of that phase and you’re not living in a house constructed entirely of Pokemon cards. If you are, we salute your patience. We’re rather happy to see the back of anything Pokemon ourselves.
Dinosaurs are pretty impressive. So why are they on this list? Well, once Jurassic Park came out in 1993, a strange case of Dinosaur Fever struck the globe. Dinosaurs were everywhere – there were magazines dedicated to them (including one that enabled you to collect a glow-in-the-dark Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton piece-by-piece), television shows that featured them, and childhood nightmares about them. It could even be fair to say that the mid-90s was the peak point for people writing ‘palaeontologist’ on their list of desired careers. Unfortunately, as great as dinosaurs are, once companies realised they could make a buck by slapping a cheap-looking Brontosaurus on an item, the whole craze lost its sheen. We like to keep our dino-loving ways to ourselves, thanks very much.
What other ’90s trends are you glad disappeared?