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Are you a true millennial: How many of these must-have 90s toys do you remember?

Published: 27/09/2021
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If you remember the grief when you forgot to feed your Tamagotchi, know every word of the Ninja Rap and go into fight or flight mode when you hear the Pokémon battle theme, you're definitely a millennial! 

Now that millennials are hitting their 30s (if not their 40s!), nostalgia for their childhood toys and tech is surging - so much so that the OnBuy team couldn't help but share the memories of their childhood favourites. Join us for a trip down millennial memory lane!

Game Boy

game boy Nintendo

If you didn't have a go on one of these bad boys, were you even alive in the '90s? The Nintendo Game Boy was a regular sight in playgrounds throughout the decade, along with its wacky add-ons (who remembers the grainy black and white Game Boy Sticker Printer?!). "I brought it everywhere as a kid," said Content Writer Sam. "I had lots of games, but my favourite was Pokémon Yellow. Watching my team evolve was super cool, and having Pikachu follow you around on the screen was so cute!"

"I was close to beating the game, but I left the cartridge on a side table one day and my dog chewed it. He deleted my save and broke the sprite storage - all the Pokémon turned into black squares!" That's too evil even for Team Rocket! Luckily, modern gamers don't have to worry about busted carts: New digital versions of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow are available for the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Cowabunga, dudes! What happens when you combine four terrapins, a sewer-dwelling rat man, space aliens and martial arts? The deliriously fun Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Product Import Manager Sean worked hard to collect his half-shelled action figures. "There were so many that you couldn’t have them all. My neighbour seemed to always have characters that I didn"t, so we'd have to do temporary swaps."

For younger generations, it's hard to grasp how huge the Ninja Turtles were in the late '80s and early '90s. "The toys themselves were not actually that revolutionary, but it just sums up that era for me," says Sean. As well as toys, young fans could enjoy turtle-themed video games, breakfast cereals and watch the ninjas partying with rap ‘sensation' Vanilla Ice.

PlayStation 1

PlayStation 1

Along with the Game Boy, the PS1 was the king of the '90s console wars. It won thanks to its huge library of games, many of which were aimed at older audiences than those on the Nintendo 64. For some of the younger millennials, like Senior Content Writer Michael, however, it was their first foray in the world of gaming consoles. 

"We didn’t have a lot of money for games when I was little, but we did always get the new edition of the PlayStation magazine which came with a free demo disc - I couldn’t wait to get home and try out whatever was on it. My favourites must have been Tomba, Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, and of course, the utterly bizarre world of Abe’s Oddysee! Come to think of it, I must have spent so much more on demos than I actually did buying games!"

Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Today's PC gamers have it easy with their desktop shortcuts and super-fast SSDs. In the good old days, you hunched over your rubberised keyboard for up to three minutes, listening to your ZX Spectrum screech as it tried to load Scrabble. 

Senior Brand Manager Rosie was amazed by her family's 'speccy' because it had a floppy disc drive (ooh, ahhhh) as opposed to a cassette player. Yep, you heard right. Spectrum stans will recognise the floppy disk drive as belonging to the upgraded Spectrum +3; this space-age home PC also came with up to 128 kilobytes of on-board RAM - as much memory as a whole MP3 file!

Barbie Dolls

Barbie Dolls

Of course Barbie would make the list of nostalgic toys! The world's biggest fashion doll, Barbie and her friends have been at the top of toy sales since her release in 1959. One young Barbie fan was Brand Marketing Coordinator Philippa. "I got my first for Christmas but I ended up having dozens!"

"Being able to dress the Barbies up and act out any number of scenarios was really fun, but it also helped develop my creativity and imagination. I would get lost in my own worlds for hoouuuuurs; my parents must've loved it. My dad built me a kitted out house for them too with furniture and proper decor inside - it even had carpet!"

Tamagotchi

Tamagotchi

In the 90s tech-toy fusions dominated store shelves, and nothing sums up that trend better than the Tamagotchi! Tamagotchi means 'egg watch' in Japanese, and millennial kids and teens couldn't get enough of these egg-cellent electronic toys! One of them was Office and Facility Manager Ines. "I saved my weekly allowance to buy it", she recalls. "At age 10 that was a huge effort!"

"It was always getting sick or dying... worse than keeping a real human alive!" If you want to crack open a Tamagotchi again, you're in luck! To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Bandai re-released the original Tamagotchi models.

Bratz Dolls

bratz dolls

Barbie may have been the Queen of fashion dolls during the 20th Century, but a pretender to the throne emerged in 2001: The Bratz! They were positioned as the cooler, more streetwise Barbie. PR Executive Sarah recalls the first time she saw a Bratz doll: "I was probably about six years old when I spotted it in Tesco, it was the prom version of the Cloe Bratz doll and I begged my mum for it because I was in awe."

Just like Philippa and her Barbies, the Bratz sparked Sarah's imagination: "After that initial Bratz doll, my sister and I built up a collection of all the characters, watched the films and TV shows and just loved using our imagination in our rooms to play with these dolls for hours on end. I was obsessed with their dresses and hair."

GameCube

GameCube

Although the Nintendo GameCube didn't sell as many copies as PlayStation 2 or the Original Xbox, it's still a beloved bit of nostalgic tech thanks to all those exclusive games. One of those was Super Smash Bros Melee, which helped Product Marketing Lead Jasmine settle a score. 

"I couldn't wait for the day that I could reign victorious against my teenage cousin! It was an intense battle, but I still remember that feeling of finally getting a win under my belt! I have so many fond memories sat tethered to that little purpley-blue box with my family."

So whatever happened to Jasmine's GameCube? "It was taken apart and turned into some sort of art piece - my sister is a modern artist, so you can imagine the scenes…" Yikes! Luckily for Jasmine, she can find a replacement console in our GameCube category if she ever wants a rematch!

Bring your childhood back to life this Christmas

Bring your childhood back to life this Christmas

So why are we telling you all this? Well, it turns out nostalgic toys and tech are going to be big on the Christmas list this year, and with the panic of a Christmas toy shortage, it's best to buy early! After all, who wouldn't love to relive the Tamagotchi trend, or try to 'catch 'em all' with Pokemon Yellow on a retro Game Boy?!

And if you hadn't heard, the makers of Tamagotchi have just announced their latest digital pets will be raised in a smart watch-like wearable. Zoomers are just as obsessed with Pokemon as millennials are, but now you can give it a go on the Nintendo Switch! And of course Barbie and Bratz are keeping up with the latest fashion trends, so there's always new additions to the OnBuy collection.

Whether you know a millennial who wants to feel like a kid again on Christmas Day, or you want to pass the joy onto the next generation, you'll find great deals for retro tech and toys on OnBuy!

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