Toys are great, just ask any parent. They allow parents to keep their kids occupied while they get stuff done. Most toys are innocent enough and aren’t designed to annoy everyone around them. But some toys seem to be designed with the sole purpose of annoying all of the adults within a 20-foot radius.
If you owned any of these toys as a kid, you can rest assured that your parents loved you because they were willing to put up with the excessive mess, noise, and other annoyances these toys put forth. It’s enough to make you wonder how we weren’t annoyed by them as kids.
The Furby took over the holiday shopping scene in 1999, moving 14 million units in that year alone. The demonic-looking gremlin-like little robot was able to speak and “learn” from its owner. The obnoxious toys could even communicate with each other, so as if it wasn’t enough to have one toy babbling to itself, you could get more than one in a room and really get the “fun” going.
In retrospect, the toy wasn’t really fun, but really just annoying little machine that served to make noise and annoy everyone around it. Still, I owned one (as did my stepbrothers and stepsisters), so I guess I got caught up in the hype as well.
2. Tickle Me Elmo
What if you had a stuffed animal that could “feel” when you tickle it and make annoying sounds and vibrations in response. It couldn’t really do anything else. Apparently what happens is you get one of the best-selling toys of all time. In just a few months, Tyco Preschool managed to sell over a million of these obnoxious little Elmo dolls while creating an absolute frenzy with shoppers trying to find one for their kids during the holiday season (if only they knew what they were getting themselves into).
At least Elmo wasn’t as demanding as Furby, and he would just hang out when he wasn’t in use. He’s still plenty annoying, with his insufferable (but catchy) songs. I have fond memories of my Tickle Me Elmo, specifically when I became annoyed by it, leading to me hitting it with a baseball bat into the family pool. Good times.
3. Bop It
This game screamed commands at players so they could see who could follow directions more effectively (as if kids don’t get enough of that from teachers and parents). The original game featured three commands—bop it, twist it, and pull it. Subsequent variations of the format added commands like flick it and spin it.
No matter which version you had as a kid (and how fun the game might be), can you imagine your poor parents sitting there listening to “bop it, twist it, bop it, pull it, bop it, pull it, twist it” all day long (you probably became annoyed just waiting for me to stop writing those commands over and over).
4. Hungry Hungry Hippos
This basically button mashing in video games manifested in the form of a physical game with hippos. A bunch of balls enter the playfield, and each player slams their lever as fast as they can, causing the hippos to “eat” said balls. The player who easts the most balls wins. While this happening, there’s noise—a lot of noise. Four kids slamming levers as hard and fast as they can creates a lot of noise pollution for any innocent bystanders.
When you really narrow down what Hungry Hungry Hippos actually is, you can’t help but wonder how we ever had fun playing it. There’s no skill, thought, or nuance to playing a game. Half of who wins or loses is based on where the balls happen to roll and not how fast you slam the hippo’s level anyway. Our poor, poor parents.
Playing with a Tamagotchi isn’t fun. It’s work. This annoying digital create demands your attention and provides nothing in return. Sure, you can “play” with it, but that’s just another form of work masquerading as fun. Kids were worried about who could keep their Tamagotchi alive the longest, but in retrospect, the kids who gave up on theirs after a day or two are the real winners.
To make this thing even more annoying, most of us weren’t allowed to have them in school, which meant our poor parents had to take care of them for us while we were gone. Not only did they have to watch us waste our time with a stupid digital pet, but we forced it on them as well.
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