I have talked about our childhoods a lot here on CGM through Parental No-Scope, touching on introducing kids to our favourite franchises like Star Wars or Marvel and a little about how nostalgia brings us closer to our kids. What I haven’t talked about in detail is how the 90s and 00s are coming in hot right now. Television shows, bands, clothing, you name it. Most recently, the toys that filled my closet growing up have been making their way back into stores, commercials, and, evidently, my home.
I’m finally at the age where everything I loved as a child is cool again. The 90s and 00s were an odd time for everyone, but they still seem to be holding on, bringing back plenty of memories now that I’m in my 30s. Full House came back (RIP Bob Saget), so did Roseanne and the Gilmore Girls. Skinny jeans and side parts are out, and we are back to Bell Bottoms and middle parts—God help us. The When We Were Young Festival featuring My Chemical Romance, Paramore, and the rest of my teen angst, is coming up in the news constantly (will it be another Fyre Festival? Who knows.). So what else can they throw at us?
Toys. The answer is toys. And throw them they did. We can start with my reason for writing this in the first place, the Tamagotchi. These came out hard in the 90s, 1996 to be exact. A friend sent me a photo of new stock at his store, a pile of Tamagotchis. I’m sure he meant to surprise me, but I already, in fact, have one. My brother got it for me for Christmas. I lit up brighter than the tree, excited about that little touch of nostalgia just for me. That lasted about 20 minutes. Does anyone remember these being so incredibly time-consuming?
“The 90s and 00s were an odd time for everyone, but they still seem to be holding on, bringing back plenty of memories now that I’m in my 30s.”
My little egg-shaped buddy went right onto my keychain to brighten my everyday life. What it really did, however, was beep incessantly every ten minutes or so. I have actual children, and three pets, and somehow this little digital creature eats and defecates more than all of them combined. I will vouch for it in that there is a combination of buttons that will “pause” it, so you can turn off the noise, because a lot of toy makers overlook that. So Tamagotchi is still winning there.
Apparently, there are new and improved versions of the Tamagotchi, the Tamagotchi Pix. These look a little bigger, connect to other devices with QR codes, have a bigger screen in full colour, and are all around more user-friendly. Also, can we talk about how it’s pronounced Tama-GO-chi? We have been saying Tama-GOT-chi for 20+ years. How could we have been so wrong for so long?
Something I was really excited about returning was the Polly Pocket. These actually came out in 1989, but were huge throughout the 90s. They were always so colourful with creative landscapes. My favourite was a Polly Pocket treehouse that would open up into a little hideout for my teeny figures. Not only are the toys back, and not as pocket-sized as they used to be, but it’s a Netflix show now too. I remember seeing them when I was just an aunt looking to spoil the kids in my life. My now-almost-11-year-old niece couldn’t have cared less about them. This was one childhood memory I had to leave behind.
The Furby made a comeback not too long ago now, entering the digital world in all its glory with the Furby Connect Friend. Originally, they hit at the end of the 90s in 1998. But now, they can be updated via an app and learn new phrases. Toys are getting smarter with each new generation. I loved my Furby growing up, but as an adult I have a new appreciation for how incredibly creepy they are. I can only imagine hearing them go off in another room at 3am—though they do come with sleep masks now, fancy.
This sudden resurgence of toys and media from our childhood has been creeping its way back to the surface for a while now, too. It was 2016 when the Trolls movie came out, bringing back one of the strangest fads from when we were little, the Troll doll. This is going way back to 1959, but I can remember them in the 80s and 90s too.
They have clearly had a major upgrade with musical numbers and the voices of Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick and Zooey Deschanel (I could go on, that cast was stacked!). They are fully dressed, so who knows if they still have the famous belly jewel they are known for. They are far less creepy than they once were, and I fully support this change.
I’m sitting here watching the past come back to life, and I’m stuck somewhere between excitement, and pure regret that I didn’t save every toy I’ve ever had. I’m also just a little annoyed with…basically every industry at once right now. I hope that this generation gets the chance to experience brand-new bands, styles, music and media that they can carry on too. If everyone became a 90s kid, the world would be a really strange place (90s grunge anyone?). Even with that, I’m excited to see what part of my childhood is revived next, please don’t be NSYNC.