Technology

The Hardest Tech Toys to Find Since 1983

Unlike their American counterparts, Filipino children are not squeamish when it comes to gifts. A toy is a toy, and Pinoy kids are always appreciative when they get something for Christmas. But secretly, just secretly, there are some kids who would have loved to get the latest trending toy, just to show off to their friends. Unfortunately, the hardest thing about shopping for toys is precisely keeping up with the latest fad, especially if that fad toy is a tech toy.

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Since 1983, there are some years that have the hardest tech toy that almost every kid wants. This may wake up some memories for some readers, especially for those who never got that dream tech toy they’ve always wanted.

1983 – 1984 – Transformers

Yes, that’s right, for our young readers who are shocked to read this; long before CGI made the Transformers possible as a Hollywood series, they were comic books and toy trucks and cars that could transform into robots.

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And these toy robots were so popular that they spawned an animated television series in 1986. That’s a couple of decades before the live-action Michael Bay movies were even thought of.

1988 – Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

The NES revolutionized video games, selling 7 million units in 1988 alone. The market for NES cartridges that year was also bigger than the entire computer software market for 1988.

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It also paved the way for subsequent Nintendo home consoles, like the GameCube and the Wii.

1989 – Game Boy

What are the chances of a single company getting back-to-back tech toy trending hits? Nintendo had another hit on its hands with the Game Boy, which quickly trounced every other handheld gaming console on the market.

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Nintendo sold more than 118 million units of the Game Boy and its successor, the Game Boy Color.

1990 – Family Computer

In the early 90’s it was common to enter a home with kids and see a Family Computer sitting beside the TV. Although the NES sold well a year or two back, the Family Com, as it was called, was more affordable and so were the cartridges sold.

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And the games were so much fun that it had the whole family playing in turns instead of just the kids. Compared to the NES and Game Boy, the Family Com actually lasted longer in the living rooms of many families, lasting as long as the end of the 90’s before being finally supplanted by the desktop.

1991 – Super Nintendo

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Well, Nintendo was able to make it big in three years with three products. If the NES was the defining home console of the 8-bit era, then Nintendo won again in the 16-bit era with the Super Nintendo. Over its lifetime, it sold more than 49 million units.

1993 – Talkboy

It had a memorable turn when movie audiences saw it in the move “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” But you probably didn’t know that the Talkboy, which records audio and plays it back on demand, was originally just an invention for the film.

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Demand for it led to the toy being manufactured in real life by Hasbro, and it became so popular that Hasbro had to pull ads for it because their supply couldn’t keep up with demand.

1997 – Tamagotchi

Long before the latest AI robot pets started coming out recently, Tamagotchis were handheld digital pets that people could play with and feed.

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Because they needed constant attention to stay healthy and nourished, they took over the country’s attention span for some time, especially in Japan. By 2010, 76 million units were sold, but the franchise mostly lives on now in Nintendo DS and smartphone games.

2002 – Beyblades

Actually Beyblades were considered tech toys for the 2000 decade. The toy let you launch spinning tops on the ground and “battle” other tops by smashing into them. They became so popular that they spawned a television series.

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Though the concept comes from a very simple spinning top design, the futuristic looking tops with their futuristic looking launchers and accessories ensured this “tech toy” to be a top trend among the kids.

2003 – 2004 – Robosapien

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The remote-controlled toy robot has a bunch of pre-programmed moves. The TV commercials made them seem like the toy of the future, and they sold more than 1.5 million units in 2004 alone.

2005 – Xbox 360

Inspired by the success of the Nintendo consoles in the late 80’s, Microsoft decided to give resurgence to the playing consoles, but this time using game CD’s.

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It rushed the Xbox 360 gaming console to production to beat the Sony PlayStation 3 at the market. It worked, and the Xbox sold 1.5 million units by the end of the year.

2006 – PlayStation 3

Of course, Sony would eventually give Microsoft a run for its money. The lower cost of the Sony PlayStation 3 and its better performance would see the PS3 do alright for itself.

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Eventually it became the coveted toy in 2006 and unseating the Xbox trend. It sold 340,000 units in the United States in its first week of release, and a total of 80 million units in its various iterations by 2013.

2007 – Nintendo DS

Gaming platforms continued to take over the toy market with the Nintendo DS, the biggest update to Nintendo’s handheld devices since the Gameboy.

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The dual-screen, touchscreen system became the most popular handheld system in history, selling 154 million units.

2008 – Nintendo Wii

Just like the late 80’s era, Nintendo’s hot streak became unabated.

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The Wii was released in 2006, and continued to sell a huge amount of units for years, selling more than 13 million units by the end of 2008 in the United States alone.

2012 – Wii U

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Nintendo’s Wii update had better hardware to compete with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and offered a touchscreen handheld controller. Gamers loved it so much that it sold more than 3 million units by the end of 2012.

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