Unearthing My ’80s-’90s Toys

While stuck in enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the Philippines, I finally did the major thing I said I’d do when I have the time—declutter my stuff. My board games, electronics, and toys from the ’80s and ’90s have been gathering dust on the second level of my closet and my mother’s bodega. Most are in decent condition, some with the original price tags attached. Kids of the the ’80s or ’90s, come stroll down memory lane with me!

Tyco Super Dough Snackshop
Price tag missing
Tyco Super Dough tried to compete with Play-Doh in the ’80s, but Tyco’s dough formula was so messy. The playset was cool, but the sticky, wet dough stuck to our hands and was hard to get off the plastic molds. We hated the dough! We wondered what dough they really used in the Snack Shop commercial.
Play-Doh Make-a-Meal
Price when we bought it: $24.99
My sister, cousins, and I loved this set. From grating our own “cheese” to making a spread of our favorite food, the possibilities were endless. The box was unnecessarily huge, because after taking out all the cardboard packaging, the entire set takes up only 1/8 the space of the box.
DuckTales Play-Doh Play Set
Price when we bought it: $99.90
I loved watching the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his nephews Huey, Duey, and Louie on TV. DuckTales was a big hit back then, so this Play-Doh set was pricier than other Play-Doh sets. You create your own money bags and coins with Scrooge McDuck’s car. Sing it with me, “DuckTales… woo-oo!”
Play-Doh Rainbow Pack
They don’t sell Play-Doh sets like this anymore. Confession: When we were kids, we left all the Play Doh in the plastic containers, and they have not seen the light of day since the ’90s. When I unearthed my Play Doh sets this month, I opened the containers of old Play Doh (insert Alfred Hitchcock sound effect). What does Play-Doh look like when you leave it in the attic for decades? Everything turned brown and the salts have crystallized. The smell was a mix of sweet (the original Play-Doh smell) and pungent (I imagine it’s the mold). Some were hard as rocks, while some unused Play-Dohs were still soft with a hint of the color it came in (ex. blue became dark brown-blue). Don’t worry, I threw them all in the trash, this pack included.
Tyco Super Dough The Little Mermaid
This was my sister’s toy. Making the characters was hard to do, because it involved intricately moulding different colors. And as I mentioned, Tyco Super Dough is too sticky and messy unlike Play-Doh.

Blinkins Twighlight Treehouse
Price when we bought it: $24.97
Commercials introduced these fairy glowbug creatures that lived in Blinkin Land. They had small wings that lit up and glowed in rainbow colors when you squeezed the bottom part of their bodies. Each Blinkin came with a pet, accessory, and butterfly comb. You needed an AA battery for the light (glowing butt) to work. I remember it was so hard to take the battery out of the tight slot. True enough, when I unearthed my Blinkins this 2020, it took a lot of patience and McGyver skills (ooh, another ’80s reference!) to take out the rusty, leaking batteries.
Fairy Tales Sunshine Gazebo
I hated girly dolls as a kid, but I loved animals, so this gazebo was a dream toy! It came with birds that had long, colorful manes (like my Little Pony) that you could brush and style. The house came with many accessories and areas where the birds could perch. I even organized crossover tea parties with my Blinkins.
Pound Puppies
My parents didn’t allow us to have pets when we were kids, so this was as close to a real dog as I could get. The tagline was, “Lovable, Huggable!” My sister and I loved our Pound Puppies so much. I kissed my puppies good night before going to bed every night and woke up to prepare their “puppy food” every morning. Look at me now.
Pound Puppies Wind Up Getaway Railroad by ARCO
Price when we bought it: Originally $10.96, but was on clearance for $7
When I was a kid, the Philippines didn’t have Toys “R” Us yet. We were always in the US, so most of my toys came from there. We got this Pound Puppies set from Cali. You can set up the train on the play mat together with the slide, swing, seesaw, and merry-go-round. It comes with four Pound Puppy figures.
Fisher-Price Precious Places
It’s an entire village, but each set is sold separately. Each structure comes with a magnetic key that lets you open the door, turn on the light, and move the figures around the house and pathways. My sister and I had only three sets—Pink Slippers Ballet Studio, $19.99, Baby’s Nursery Cottage, and Ice Castle Skating Pond.
My Little Pony Scrub-a-Dub Tub Gift Pack
If you watched Season 3, Episode 3 of The Toys That Made Us on Netflix, you’ll know that My Little Pony was a hit in the ’80s to ’90s. This big set came with three ponies, a bathtub with shower curtain, and accessories like plastic soap, rubber duckie, towel, brush, and bath sponge.

Proclaimed as the world’s most popular detective game, Cluedo (or Clue if you’re from North America) was one of my favorites. I loved sleuthing and murder mysteries. I also learned to read the body language and nuances of my cousins, which helped me win the game. This is the ’80s version.
Cluedo Mystery Jigsaw Puzzle
Like the original Cluedo board game, you need to solve the murder mystery. You must first complete the difficult jigsaw puzzle, read the story in the booklet, and analyze the items you see in the completed puzzle using the magnifying glass.
The Mad Magazine Game
First produced by the Parker Brothers in 1979, this game is as mischievous as Alfred E. Neuman, the fictional mascot of American humor magazine, Mad. The game has similarities to Monopoly, except that the object of the game is to lose all your money. It comes with play money, dice, tokens, and cards with cheeky instructions, like, “If you like this game, cross your legs, sit on your hands, cackle like a chicken and lose one egg; also $500.”
I loved Milton Bradley games when I was a kid. At one point, my dream was to work as a toy maker for their company. All the other kids had Scrabble, so I felt extra special because I had Upwords, a 3D version of the classic word game. You could stack letters to change the word on the board, which increases your points.
Don’t Panic
There are Milton Bradley versions of Don’t Panic, but back in the ’80s, it was under Coleco Games. Don’t Panic is the game where I always panicked, but still ended up winning against my sister and cousins. The goal is to name a number of items under the category you pick from a card in the fastest time possible. A ticking timer will make you panic, but that’s what makes it more fun.
Mickey in the Sorcerer’s Game
I disliked boardgames that were too simple, meaning you just had to keep rolling the dice to get your token to the end first. I preferred boardgames with extra frills and challenges, like this one from Disney—Mickey in the Sorcerer’s Game. It has challenge cards, tokens, and a cute Mickey dice alongside the regular dice.
Trivial Pursuit For Juniors
The boardgame Trivial Pursuit was for grownups, so they made a version for kids aged 6-10. We purchased this 1987 version in 1991, if I remember correctly. It tested your knowledge in six categories—geography, entertainment, history, art and literature, science and nature, and “sports and leisure and food” (forcibly combined into one category).
Monopoly Magnetic Pocket Edition
It’s the classic Monopoly game, but the parts are tinier. The board, houses, hotels and tokens are magnetic, and you can put everything in a tray that fits in a small case. Great for travel!
Girl Talk: A Game of Truth or Dare
Girl Talk was a series of games and books for tween girls who were curious about dating, boys, and growing up. This second edition (1993) was perfect for sleepovers because it was an upgraded version of truth or dare (a spinner chooses your challenge) with fun fortune telling cards.
Girl Talk Fantasy Fortune Cards
An accompaniment of the Girl Talk board game, these tarot-like cards dishes out fun fortunes for tweens and teens, like “You will get high grades” and “You’ll be invited to a party soon, so start looking for something to wear.”
Pictionary Junior
We couldn’t participate in regular Pictionary for grownups, so my parents bought us Pictionary Junior. We used crayons to draw on white boards, and they were easy to erase using tissue paper.
Super Mario Brothers
Like the popular Nintendo game, the goal is to rescue the princess while knocking down bricks and earning coins along the way. Looking back, I remember other board games I loved but wasn’t able to save: Candy Land, Snakes and Ladders, Operation, and many Disney-themed board games.
Boggle 3-Minute Word Game
I love word games, so this classic by Parker Brothers was a favorite. You jumble the letter cubes in the box and have three minutes to jot down as many words as you can find. We got this 1987 edition in the ’90s.
UNO Madness Board Game
A mechanical version of the UNO card game, this comes with a mounted tray that springs up when the built-in timer expires. The game ends when a player has used up their last tile, a tile has landed on the last slot, or when the timer expires.
Black Box
I first spotted this game in Rustan’s Makati when I was a kid. It looked so mysterious on the packaging, so I asked Papa to get it for me for Christmas (or maybe my birthday, I forgot). Turns out it’s a “who-would-you-rather” party game for grownups.

Game Boy
Nintendo’s original 8-bit handheld game console was released only in Japan, US, and Europe in 1989. In the 90s, we brought back our Gameboy and cartridges to the Philippines, where my cousins and I were so addicted to playing that we often got in trouble with the parentals. I’m just sad that we weren’t able to save my Nintendo Classic Console with complete accessories like the gun (for Duck Hunt) and R.O.B. (the robot that helped you play Gyromite). I also had an ’80s Atari, Super NES, and Playstation—all gone! Other toys we gave away to younger cousins: Speak ‘N Spell and Speak ‘N Math, Tomy watergames, Disney Viewmaster, Etch-A-Sketch, Legos, Cabbage Patch Kids.
Sega Game Gear
Disclaimer: This is just the box. My sister claims the actual Game Gear is buried in one of her desk drawers that I’m still in the process of decluttering. Give me time and I will update this post with a photo of my Game Gear with Sonic The Hedgehog cartridge. I’m also determined to unearth other 8-bit games in the dungeon that is my sister’s bedroom.
Submarine Battle
I remember getting this from Duty Free. Before the dawn of apps, ’80s-90s kids had stacks of handheld games, or as we called it in the Philippines—game ‘n watch. Submarine Battle was a flip-open LCD game from Casio. The battle was between fighter jets and submarines using missiles and torpedos.
Sony Electronic Sketch Pad
Before the invention of handheld digital gadgets, this contraption was like a blast from the future. It’s from My First Sony, a series of small electronics made just for children in the ’80s. You attach the battery-operated electronic sketch pad to the TV and watch as your doodles come alive on the colored screen. After my uncle tried every TV we had at home, nothing worked! Sadly, this gadget was never fully used. Fast forward to 2020 and my sister wants to see if she can make it work for my nephew.
Sony FM/AM Walkman and GE Jellybean Stereo Headset Radio
Do people still say “stereo” to refer to listening to music? I do! Imagine a life without Spotify and mp3s. All we had were radio stations, and if you had a big allowance, CDs and cassette tapes. My FM/AM Walkman from Sony and Jellybean Stereo Headset Radio from GE (General Electric) are still working!
My Magic Diary
Consider this the Facebook of ’90s kids. It’s Casio’s personal digital diary where you could make profiles of your friends, create avatars (with super limited facial features that are mostly Caucasian), see if you’re compatible with your crush, and encode secret stuff that only the diary owner could access.
Power Pinball Flipper Electrique Super Flipper
Price when we bought it: $139.90
As a kid, I loved outdoor games and refused to act like a girly girl, much to my parents’ dismay. But they did say yes when I asked them to buy me my own pinball machine. Like most retro gadgets, you needed clunky size-C batteries for the lights and sounds to operate.
Buckaroo Bank
Price when we bought it: $42.50
Kids aren’t allowed to touch slot machines in casinos, so I asked my parents for a toy version. This one accepts most denominations. When you get any combo of 7, Jackpot, and Bar, the bottom lid opens and you win all the coins. There’s also a secret hiding spot at the back.
One of the biggest toy fads of the ’90s, the Tamagotchi turned kids and teens into “pet lovers” who constantly worried if their virtual animal is getting fed on time. Of course, that also got us in trouble with our schoolteachers whenever we heard a beep sound and we reached into our pockets.

Mcdonald’s Retro Happy Meal Toys
I enjoy looking at retro Happy Meal toy sets for the nostalgia. I saved a few of my own, like these French Fry Guys from 1989, Peanuts Gang from 1990, and Garfield from 1987.

Crayola 72-Crayon Kit
I was so enamored with my Crayola 72-Crayon Kit that I refused to use it. I only brought it to school for showing off. I had a 24-Crayon box in my bag that I could use for school projects, but the 72-pc. set was for posterity purposes. I did enjoy organizing and reorganizing the crayons according to hue. Yes, it’s still alive and unused in 2020, and I will probably share it with my nephew… or not.
Garfield “Stuck On You”
In the late ’80s, you could spot Garfield plush toys on the windows (suction cups were attached to Garfield’s four paws) of almost every car, our family car included. Other classic plushies I had but gave away when I grew up: Alf, Rainbow Brite, and Teddy Ruxpin.
Koosh Ball
Remember the Koosh Ball, a bouncy ball made of rubber strands? I lost all my original Koosh Balls, but I managed to keep this mini Koosh Ball pencil topper.
Coloring Books
I found my coloring books (I even signed the pages of my “artworks”) from the ’80s-90s. Some of my favorite cartoons from that era: Jem and the Holograms, Loony Tunes, Winnie the Pooh, Duck Tales, Disney, Garfield, and Sesame Street.
Hello Kitty Trapper Keeper
In my Catholic school, you were considered a bit of a rebel if you didn’t use the traditional notebooks with the school logo. I threw away most of my Lisa Frank notebooks and classic Trapper Keepers, but I managed to save this Hello Kitty one.
Also called milk caps or flipper caps, pogs were collectible paper caps that you could stack and slam. You played to win the pogs. It’s similar to the Filipino street game, teks.
Aerobie Orbiter: The Astonishing Returning Triangle
In the commercials, this boomerang looked so easy to use. We read the instructions hundreds of times and followed everything to a T. But for the life of me, I could not make it boomerang back to me. I even took it to the school soccer field for a wider space. I tried and tried with my friends until—you guess it—it got stuck to a tree. I waited for days until a school janitor could climb the tree and get it back for me.
Inline skates, better known as rollerblades, were all the rage in the ’90s. After watching The Mighty Ducks with my cousins, we took our fandom a notch higher by purchasing hockey sticks and pucks and made up our own rules of street hockey. Before rollerblades, I remember purchasing Smurf skates from Toys “R” Us, which were only cute if you weren’t trying to skate on them.

Fisher-Price Fun With Food Family Dinnerware
I loved playing with this plastic dinnerware set. I pretended to set up my own dinner table with imaginary gourmet food and drinks.

Barbie Soda Shoppe
Price when we bought it: $21.50
When I was a kid, I hated Barbie and other girly dolls. I wasn’t a huge fan of dress-up, so my sister kept all the Barbie Dolls and accessories, including this soda shop set. She served me real soda from the toy dispenser.

ARCO Fashion Doll All-Terrain Vehicle
Price when we bought it: $9.97
Marketed as something for Barbie and other fashion dolls of the ’80s, this remote control ATV lets you take your doll on a ride in style. Well, it goes only as far as the length of the chord that connects the remote to the car.
Barbie Tropical Pool and Patio Set
Price when we bought it: $24.99
This was my sister’s set. We filled up the pool with water and took her collection of Barbie dolls for a dip. Sorry, I was too lazy to set this up for the photo. Too bad I can’t find any of her Barbie dolls anymore. We might have given them away.
Brass Plated Doll Furniture
Made to match the brass furniture found in almost every ’90s home, this was easy to assemble. I remember setting up the chair and bed for our teddy bears.
Lil’ Miss Makeup
Price when we bought it: $19.95
A popular product from Mattel, this doll lets you “apply” makeup. Just dip a wet sponge in ice water and swab it on the eyes, cheeks, lips, and nails of the doll and color appears. Wipe it dry with a towel and the color disappears. My sister asked for this doll after seeing it on a TV commercial.
Pocket Pretties
Not to be confused with Polly Pocket, Tyco’s Pocket Pretties (in collaboration with Sega) are compact cases with five sets to choose from—a toy ballerina (pictured), stick-on nails with stickers, coloring pencils, hair accessories, and a stationery set.
Russ Troll Dolls
When the 2016 animated film, Trolls, was released, I was one of the old farts proclaiming, “What did you do to our Trolls? That’s not how Trolls look like!” Sure, Poppy and Branch make a cute singing couple, but I will always go back to the original ugly Trolls that horrified our parents in the ’90s.

Now what am I going to do with all my vintage toys, you ask? Some will go to my nephew (he’s excited to use the Play-Doh sets), many will sit on my shelf of vintage treasures, while others might be sold to the highest bidder. I hear there are serious toy collectors willing to pay good money for these toys.

What were your favorite toys and games from the ’80s-’90s?