Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Sweet Scent of Nostalgia

Day 7: What were your favorite childhood toys?

So let me start off by saying I loved ALL my toys growing up and either still have them (somewhere) or they are being enjoyed by my adorable niece. I played with everything from stuffed animals to

I had lots of dolls and books, and I loved them all, but I figured I would bring up the stuff that we no longer have that I really loved and missed.

In no particular order...

My brother's 2-XL. Referring to himself as The Smartest Toy Robot In The World, this little guy taught you stuff in a real fun and entertaining way - anything from trivia to sports to science and more. And all via 8-track tapes. (Oh yeah, you read that right. 8-track, baby. Sweet!)

I can't remember who bought it for him, but he was this cute little robot, and I loved him. I think my brother only had two (maybe three) tapes so we ran through them pretty quickly. I would lay on the floor face to face with the robot whose eyes flashed as he spoke similar to that of the KITT's voice console in Knight Rider, I liked starting him up and listening to him introduce himself in the beginning after he booted up.

In later years they revamped the design which I guess was okay, but I like my little classic guy. They should make them again with the original body but with CD/DVD instead. I think it would totally work. Also it'd be really cool if they made a plush version of the original model. Would make hugging a lot easier. LOL!

And of course he could play other 8-track tapes, but the only ones we had aside Donna Summer was the head cleaner. So if you didn't want to do a lesson, you had your choice between the weird beeps of the head cleaner or Donna Summer making erotic noises to "Love to Love Ya, Baby."

Atari 2600, baby! Awww yeah!

One day I tried to figure out what my earliest memory was, and I got as far as my dad bringing home the Atari. My brother claims it was July 1978 so I was about 1 1/2 - 2 at the time. When I asked him if I played any of the games, he said sort of... but I distinctly remember playing some games and being good.

We had your classic standards of Asteroids and Space Invaders. My brother and I would play Combat against each other and just laugh our asses off since you couldn't speed up your tanks or planes so if you hit the other person, chances are they'd end up hitting you right after so it was almost a never-ending ping pong match - my brother would land a hit on me, then me on him, back and forth. No real competition.

My brother was obsessed with Pitfall, and I remember thinking "Where's the dude's face? Or his hands or feet?" I also had no idea what the premise of the game was. Asteroids - blow up flying rocks, try not to get hit. Space Invaders - shoot the aliens before they land on and squish you. Pitfall? I couldn't figure it out. I knew you got gold everyone, and the music they played when you died made me giggle. But my favorite was when you had to swing on a vine. Loved that audio file. (The later incarnations of the game with the aid of better graphics pay homage to the original rather well.)

My dad seemed obsessed with Kaboom!  I distinctly remember my dad sitting Indian-style before the TV using the paddles and playing the game. The premise was simple. A prisoner wearing the black and white striped jailbird clothes of the time is at the top of this wall, and he's throwing bombs down at you, and you have nothing but three buckets of water to catch them and put them out. Each level you win, the next level speeds up. My dad would rock side to side, moving along with whichever way he twisted the paddle, and at highly intense moments, his tongue would stick out the corner of his mouth. (I remember my brother and my dad often playing against each other... and my brother playing the game in a similar fashion to that of our dad.)

My mom's game of choice was Ms. Pac-Man. I remember her having fun, but she held the joystick weird - holding the base with her fingers and using her thumb to move the stick. I think we tried to tell her the other way to hold it, but she wouldn't listen.

Of all the games we owned, the one that boggled the frak out of my mind was Swordquest. I have this vague memory of staying in the car while my dad returned a game that didn't work or something so instead they exchanged it for Swordquest. No manual, no nothing. Just an odd game that different colored rooms which inside were marked by signs of the zodiac. Some rooms had items that you could pick up but instead of having a save chest or whatever to keep all your items in, you could only hold so many at once, so you essentially had to either pick a room to stow all the other stuff in or just drop at random. And the weird number that would pop up in the middle of the game that meant nothing since we didn't have a booklet that came with the game. Or the room of red beams that you had a climb all the way to the top to a door that once inside HELD NOTHING!!! (I hated that room. It frustrated all my pissy bits!)

Since things always come in threes, the last item(s) that came to mind (that I think my bro and I still have... somewhere) are these adorable little Dukes of Hazzard wind-up cars. We had one General Lee and one police car (which just assumed was Roscoe).

We played with them in the kitchen - which back at our old house in Fontana had this bumpy yellow/green/white floral tile. We'd wind them up and "chase" each other. I liked being the General Lee. If you did it right, you could make them pop a wheelie and spin... but I don't remember if I ever accomplished the spin part.

Later on my brother got a metal model of the General Lee, and it looked so cute to have the little baby wind-up car next to the big daddy display car.

I loved Dukes of Hazzard. (How 'bout that John Schneider? Yum! Helloooo Bo Duke!) *grin*

And there you have it... three toys from my childhood. There are more, but three will do for now.

Until next time my darlings...

Later my lovelies.

Have Goodness!
me chillin' with my favorite monster

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