20 Epic Eighties Toys Every Boy Once Owned

Eighties Toys 560x280The Eighties was a decade that truly changed the way Americans lived thanks to inflation. The prices of everything exploded between 1980 and 1989. The cost of a new home in 1980 that cost around $68,000 would have been worth about $120,000 in 1989. And although the cost of a gallon of gas went from $1.22 to just around 97 cents, the price of a new car increased dramatically, with average costs going from $7,500 in 1981 to upwards of $15,000 in 1989.

But for children, the 1980s were more about the new technology that was ever expanding and growing into bigger and better things. Toys in the ’80s went from wooden blocks and plastic dolls to handheld video games and talking teddy bears. It was truly an amazing time for kids, especially for us boys and our love for the action figure. Thanks to Star Wars, the rise in popularity for action figures grew out of control in the ’80s. Check out our list of 20 Epic Eighties Toys Every Boy Once Owned and let us know if we forgot anything on social media.

20) Atari

  • Year: 1984
  • Brand: Atari Corp.
  • Most Valuable Game (Value): Air Raid, Mint in Box ($14,000)
  • As technology improved over time, so did everyone’s need for something better. The Atari game console gave millions of Americans a chance to bring the arcade to their living room. It was not the most graphically appealing video game system compared to the XBox One and PS4, but, in the 80’s, the Atari was truly groundbreaking.

19) Garbage Pail Kids

  • Year: 1985
  • Brand: The Topps Company
  • Most Valuable Card (Value): Adam Bomb, Series 1, #8a ($5,000)
  • Personal Value: Following the success of the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, Topps decided to create a card series that would make fun of the dolls. That was how the Garbage Pail Kids were born. The cards featured comic dolls that resembled the Cabbage Patch Kids but each one had a deformity or abnormality of some kind and almost always, raunchy.

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18) Trivial Pursuit

  • Year: 1981
  • Brand: Parker Bros
  • Most Valuable Item (Value): Luxury Edition w/ Inlaid Leather Board and Real Gold and Silver Pieces ($7,500)
  • Today, there are literally a hundred different mobile trivia apps you can play on your cell phone in which you compete with other players around the world for the title of biggest “Know-it-All” ever. Trivial Pursuit gave that title to individual family members.

17) McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys

  • Year: 1985 to 1990
  • Brand: Various
  • Almost every single toy series that McDonald’s released with their Happy Meals during the 80’s was great so it was difficult to chose just one. The best Happy Meal toy series we can recall includes McNugget Buddies, Changeables, Fraggle Rock, Camp McDonaldland Items, Mickey’s Birthdayland Race Cars, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers Cars, DuckTales Figures, and Halloween Pails

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16) Tiger Handheld Games

  • Year: 1980’s
  • Brand: Tiger Electronics
  • Most Valuable Game (Value): Jordan vs. Bird: One on One, New in Box ($300)
  • Before the GameBoy released in 1989, kids all across the country were playing Tiger Electronics handheld games. Their LCD technology was brand new and the first time anyone attempted to create these types of games that were built into the device. It leaves the user with a bag full of multiple handheld games to carry around, and they were not light. But who can forget the epic battles against Jafar in the Aladdin game, or the dancing steps to remember in the McHammer game?

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15) Roller Racers

  • Year: 1980’s
  • Brand:¬†WHAM-O
  • The Roller Racer took the idea of the Big Wheel, which saw huge success in the 70’s, and re-engineered the bike to lay flat on the ground with the handles not far behind. It became a dangerous toy once kids realized that it did not have brakes and flew down a hill.

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14) Pogo Ball

  • Year: 1985
  • Brand: Hasbro
  • Most Valuable Item (Value):
  • Just when you though dangerous 80’s toys couldn’t get much scarier, out comes the Pogo Ball. It’s a plastic ball shoved into a round plastic platform designed for your feet to stand on. You could jump like a pogo stick but it was much easier to stay on. However, putting a plastic ball inside another piece of plastic that will be abused and jumped on all day leads to a popped ball.

13) Transformers G1

  • Year: 1984
  • Brand: Hasbro
  • Most Valuable Item (Value): Original Optimus Prime, Mint in Box ($12,000)
  • For kids of the 80’s, that decade meant more than just growing up. It was a revolutionary time for toys, especially for boys. Action figures had been around for years but until the 1980’s, they were not half as cool. Take for example the Transformers action figures from 1984, the first series. They transformed from a vehicle to an Auto-bot, and vice versa, giving children countless hours of playing time to build and de-construct the toys.

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12) Themed Play Tents

  • Year: The 80’s
  • Brand: Various
  • Imaginations ran wild for children of the 80’s and one of the key reasons was the explosion in new toys and re-imagined designs. One of the greatest inventions in the toy industry was taking a tent and turning it into a playhouse for kids. They were cheap and could be more fun than one would imagine a tent being.

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11) Teddy Ruxpin

  • Year: 1985
  • Brand: Worlds of Wonder
  • Most Valuable Item (Value): Original Toy with Tags, Mint Condition ($1,400)
  • The Teddy Ruxpin animatronic talking bear was mind-blowing back in the 80’s because not only did he have a cassette deck built into him, he read stories to you while his eyes and mouth moved along with it. It was not something children had seen before and it became an iconic toy of the 80’s.

10) The Real Ghostbusters

  • Year: 1986
  • Brand: Kenner
  • Most Valuable Item (Value): Slimer, New in Box ($1,000)
  • There were very few toy lines that had as many role playing items like the Ghostbusters series did in the 80’s. Every kid that grew up during the 80’s remembers the Ghostzapper, Ghost Trap, Ecto-Blaster, Ghost Grabber, and, of course, the infamous Ghostbusters Proton Pack which allowed you to dress up like the boys and shoot down ghosts after using your ghostfinder meter.

9) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

  • Year: 1988
  • Brand: Playmates
  • Most Valuable Item (Value): Krang, 1989, Mint in Box ($1,500)
  • You simply weren’t cool unless you had all four of the TMNT action figures from the original series in 1988 and the Party Wagon too. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were easily the most fun action figures on the market so it was obvious that they would also have the greatest toys too.

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8) Food Fighters

  • Year: 1988
  • Brand: Mattel
  • Most Valuable Item (Value): Major Munch, Mint in Box ($250)
  • If you don’t remember the Food Fighters, then you probably should Google them. Everyone had at least one of these bad boys and yet somehow the entire franchise died off in the 90’s. It food soldiers and there is nothing more 80’s than that.

7) My Pet Monster

  • Year: 1986
  • Brand: Creepy Co.
  • Most Valuable Item (Value): Original with Handcuffs and Tags ($300)
  • My Pet Monster was a big part of the revolution of toys in the 80’s because it was scary, it was ugly, and it was the opposite of cute and cuddly. So why would you want a stuffed animal that was a monster? Who knows but it worked.

6) G.I. Joe

  • Year: 1982
  • Brand: Hasbro
  • Most Valuable Item (Value): Snake Eyes, Series 1, New in Box ($800)
  • One of the biggest appeals of the G.I. Joe was how it was much smaller than your average action figure and they came with all kinds of accessories. From guns to backpacks, after you get 5-6 G.I. Joe figures you would have a collection of accessories that could fill a bowl. Good luck trying to keep track of them though.

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5) Star Wars Power of the Force

  • Year: 1985
  • Brand: Kenner
  • Most Valuable Item (Value): Anakin Skywalker, Mint in Box ($7,500)
  • Of all of the thousands of Star Wars collectible toys that are out there today, one still stands out as one of the best. The 1985 Star Wars Power of the Force series turned out to be one of their most valuable thanks to “The Last 17” figures that Kenner sold. These were the final 17 movie characters Kenner created back then before moving on to the animated droids and ewoks. The Power of the Force series includes the harder to find characters from the Star Wars vintage collection including Yakface, Amanaman, and Paploo.

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4) Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

  • Year: 1985
  • Brand: Nintendo
  • Most Valuable Game (Value): Stadium Events, Series 2, Mint in Box ($42,000)
  • Although the Atari was the first mass produced video game console for the home, Nintendo changed the course of history when it came out with a series of games involving an Italian plumber named Mario.

3) GameBoy

  • Year: 1989
  • Brand: Nintendo
  • Most Valuable Game (Value): Amazing Tater, New in Box ($1,500)
  • Just four years after the Nintendo Entertainment System released in North America, the GameBoy arrived to continue Nintendo’s meteoric rise in the electronics industry. The amazingly detailed 8-bit handheld device allowed kids to bring their video games with them on the road. It was popular for its’ ability to occupy children during those long drives across the country for family vacations.

2) He-Man: Masters of the Universe

  • Year: 1982
  • Brand: Mattel
  • Most Valuable Item (Value): Eternia, Mint in Box ($10,000)
  • He-Man: Masters of the Universe was a hit or miss with kids because of the cult like following that ThunderCats was creating at the time. But for those kids that did get into the He-Man toys, they all remember one thing, the Eternia playset. That’s because it was the largest toy ever produced by Mattel for the He-Man series. It’s value is in its’ rarity because not many people were able to afford the tremendous playset.

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1) ThunderCats

  • Year: 1987
  • Brand: LJN
  • Most Valuable Item (Value): Bengali, Mint in Box ($800)
  • Every man between 32 and 38 years old had ThunderCats toys as a child. They were the absolute coolest action figures a boy could want. Tygra, Bengali, S-S-Slithe, Panthro, Mumm-Ra, Cheetra, and Lion-O are just a few of the many unique characters from the hit cartoon that flew off the shelves in the mid 80’s. But nothing was cooler than the Sword of Omens. How many times did you take the Sword of Omens, put it on your face, looking through both claws of the handles, and do your best Lion-O impression?