If you grew up in the 80s, you were lucky.
That’s because you were a kid in a decade that produced some of the most iconic toys the world has ever known.
Whether it’s Star Wars action figures, or Transformers toys, or Game Boy handheld video game consoles, nostalgic 80s toys are the gold standard. Many of these toys have entered pop culture, and quite a few can fetch serious prices at auction.
So let’s take a look at some of the coolest, best-remember toys from the most totally awesome decade in human history.
1. Star Wars Toys
It’s safe to say that the Star Wars toy franchise has to be right at the top among nostalgic 80s toys.
The posable figurines represented just about every character in the movies, including some of the most obscure background aliens that most people didn’t even know, had a name. Plus, they included all kinds of cool weapons and equipment.
A classic toy from Kenner’s 80s Star Wars line can fetch some serious money nowadays. Recently, a rocket-firing Boba Fett went for almost $150,000.
2. Game Boy
Who doesn’t remember the portable game console Game Boy?
Released at the tail end of the 80s, Game Boy turned out to be one of the best-selling toys of the entire decade, with over 118 million units sold. Compared to today’s consoles, the unit was primitive. It featured a dot-matrix screen that was lacking in sophistication, but it still got the job done.
Some of the greatest early Game Boy games included Tetris, Super Mario Land, and Final Fantasy.
3. Teddy Ruxpin
Ah, Teddy Ruxpin. This lovable talking teddy bear was a great friend to many an 80s child.
Teddy was pretty sophisticated for his time. He liked to talk and sing songs, and he would even read stories to adoring children. Turns out Teddy Ruxpin was in high demand in the mid-80s, since he was pretty much sold out and hard to find.
Of course, Teddy looks pretty darn primitive to us as an early AI robot toy. After all, his responses were pre-recorded on a tape cassette. Still, Teddy Ruxpin is a classic toy from the 80s, fondly remembered by many.
4. Micro Machines
Micro Machines were some of the coolest toy cars you could get.
The beauty of Micro Machines was that you could carry them around by the pocketful, enacting wild races or miniature wars all over the neighborhood. At the same time, their small size meant they were often lost or misplaced.
But who cares? Sometimes half the fun was when a long-forgotten Micro Machine suddenly showed up again as if the intervening lonely years underneath a sofa cushion never happened.
5. Glo Worm
This one’s a little weird.
Released in 1982, Glo Worm became a very popular toy franchise with children. It was a stuffed plush toy, shaped like a green inchworm or something with a kid’s head.
It’s a little terrifying, but the children loved it. It was battery-powered, and the head would light up whenever you squeezed it. Plush toys from the 80s are still remembered with pleasure, and if you have any, you can sell your nostalgia to make some money.
There’s more than meets the eye with these robots in disguise.
Oddly enough, the Transformers franchise is still going strong almost forty years later, with endless toy lines, a TV show or two, and of course a popular movie franchise.
The original toys are the best, however, and a vintage collection will earn you beaucoup bucks if you’re inclined to sell. As an example of the art of toy making, the Transformers toy line was tops. You could have the best of both worlds—a toy that could be both a vehicle and a robot.
7. Koosh Balls
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.
This was definitely the case with the classic Koosh Ball. There wasn’t much to it: a Koosh Ball was a rubber ball, kind of, with little wiggly rubber “hairs” all over it.
They were great fun and were easy for small children to catch and play with. Plus, they came in a variety of different colors, which kids always love for some reason.
8. He-Man (Masters of the Universe)
He-Man was a way of life in the 80s.
And what’s not to love, with characters like He-Man, Skeletor, Stinkor, Clawful, Moss Man, Leech, Trap Jaw, and Buzz-Off. Then there were the Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain playsets, which were awesome.
The toy line spawned a classic TV show, and a not-so-classic 1987 movie starring Dolph Lundgren and Courteney Cox, which both would probably like to forget.
Madballs were great 80s toys with a unique take on gross-out humor.
They were foam or rubber bouncing balls, each featuring a grotesque face and character with a backstory. Of course, that meant you could collect each character, which was great for creating return customers.
And kids loved the gross, horrible-looking creatures. They came with names like Slobulus, Dust Brain, Oculus Orbus, Bash Brain, and Skull Face. And playtime was never the same.
10. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
Finally, we come to one of the most iconic toys of all time.
Now, strictly speaking, G.I. Joe action figures weren’t just 80s toys, since they’d been around for a long time. But they kind of reached their heyday in that decade, what with the classic TV cartoon series and the release of the 3.75-inch figures in 1982.
Best of all was the introduction of Cobra Commander and the Cobra organization, the chief nemesis of the G.I. Joes.
The Most Nostalgic 80s Toys
So there you have it. These are some of the coolest, most nostalgic 80s toys that we all fondly remember.
You can probably remember quite a few more, but we think you’ll agree these are some of the best of the decade. And with nostalgia at peak levels, many of these toy lines are being rebooted just to cater to millennial collectors.
We hope you enjoyed this article, and while you’re here, please check out the rest of our blog.