Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Random Things From My Childhood Part 7

Random Things From My Childhood, Part VII
(See Previous RTFMC Posts)

1. Candy Land

Why, it's as though someone went inside my very dreams and made a game out of their contents! :-D

Okay, mostly I just liked staring at the game board and drooling. The gameplay left something to be desired.

Oh, sweet, glorious candy... why were not you real?

2. Micro Machines

There's a lot of talk nowadays about assigning gender roles to kids and how buying them gender-specific toys may be harmful in some way or another. Well, I don't know much about that, but I'll tell you this... I had one brother, two years younger, and even though I was the one obsessed with watching Transformers on TV, he was the one who got a Transformer for his birthday. Even though I loved Tinkertoys and blocks, when holidays rolled around, he got Duplos and I got dolls. At first it didn't bother me, because I did like dolls, but one Christmas in particular I got rather annoyed. A relative asked me what I'd like for Christmas, and I told her model kits. When Christmas came, the relative gave me doll accessories... and my brother got the model kits.

Micro Machines, I remember, were one "boy toy" I was not going to let my brother get a foothold on, though. Sure, he's the one that got the giant Micro Machines city that looked like a toolbox and transformed into a sprawling metropolis. But I had spending money, and I made sure I got a few Micro Machines of my own. Sure, he had more, but he could be nice. Sometimes we'd line up all of the vehicles and take turns choosing our favorites. Then we'd scoot them up & down the ramps of that city, past the decals that were starting to peel off, over the bridge that never quite set right in its plastic mold, and down to the marina, where the pink and white micro-speedboat awaited passengers that would never come.

And then there was the guy in the commercials who talked super fast and was on Mathnet that one time. Classic.

3. Newton's Cradle Office Toy

If you had one of these in your home office, why, good sir, you had class.

4. "Movie Monster" for Commodore 64

I remember loving this game because you got to go around destroying things. It was like an early version of Grand Theft Auto. Only with monsters.

Years later, I would reminisce about old Commodore games with my brother, and be all like, "Hey, remember that one game with Godzilla where you could destroy a bunch of stuff?" And he'd say, "Movie Monster?" And I'd look up Movie Monster on the internet and go... "No... it can't be that... the game I remember was AWESOME, and that... isn't."

And then I'd remember that all Commodore games used to look awesome. Because that's all we knew.

Sigh... I guess we'll always have nostalgia to keep us warm.

5. Smokey Bear

Was anyone else afraid of Smokey Bear? I think it had something to do with the fact that he wore jeans and a hat but no shirt, how he always looked angry or somber, and maybe because our teachers/parents neglected to actually explain what the word prevent meant. For all I knew, prevent meant start. What I DID know was that there was this bigass scary bear who carried a shovel, whose name had to do with fire, who talked about fire a lot, and who liked to point at me. OKAY!! I WON'T PLAY WITH MATCHES!!! AUGH!!!! PLEASE DON'T HARM ME!!!!

(It should be noted that I was also afraid or suspicious of McGruff the Crime Dog, the Jolly Green Giant, Mr. Clean, and Mrs. Butterworth, for various reasons.

6. Tupperware Shape-O Sorter

We had one of these at church and it always frustrated me. I could get every shape to go in its proper slot, but once they were in, I lacked the strength and/or coordination to open the device and retrieve the shapes. A kids' toy that a kid can't even fully operate -- how has this lasted for so many generations? 

7. Super Soaker

Don't even think about bringing a mere water pistol to a neighborhood water fight, AMATEUR. The only way to show you mean business is to bring a Super Soaker. And not one of those off-brand fakery water guns, either. Only the original Super Soaker and its brethren. And the bigger number plastered to the side of it, the better. 20? Okay, sure... weakling. 50? Beeeettttterrrr. XP105? Okay... now you're just showing off.

8. Neapolitan Ice Cream

Because when it comes to flavors, why settle for just one? (Hint: Never Settle.)

9. Bike Flags

Before bike helmets became a thing, we were given bike flags. These were meant to make us be seen by drivers of cars. Be seen by drivers, the theory went, and you won't get hit by a car.

But apparently the flags didn't work all that well, because soon afterwards, they took away our flags and gave us helmets instead. It was like they were saying, Uh... so it turns out drivers are incorrigible morons. You're probably going to get hit at some point. Let's just try lessen the impact.

Plus the flag made it hard to park your bike in the garage. Or ride under tree branches. Or look remotely cool.

10. Nintendo Cereal

And again I say: Why settle?

Nintendo was such a huge deal when this cereal came out that even if your parents were too (frugal/strict/odd) to get you an actual NES, you still wanted the cereal. Kind of how little preschoolers play with toy phones and emulate their parents' phone conversations. We poor, NES-less children had to have the next-best thing: the limited-edition box of mutant corn puffs. BUT WAIT! IT'S TWO CEREALS IN ONE! Even if she didn't have a double coupon from Safeway, surely mom would see what a great deal it was!!!!

Or... not.


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