The Top Christmas Gifts from 30 Years Ago – 1990
First of all I have to say I did nearly title this blog post as “gifts from 20 years ago – 1990” until I realised 1990 was actually 30 years ago, can you believe it??
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in an American comic book in 1984 as a one off meant to be a parody of popular comic books of the time, with a bizarre group of mutated heroes named after Italian Renaissance artists (Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo) lead by a mutated sewer rat call Splinter!
The comic proved popular and things escalated from there with a TV cartoon and action figures appearing shortly after. It wasn’t until 1990 Turtle mania really took hold in the UK, prior to this shops were reluctant to stock these strange new toys so they weren’t a hit straight away. Once the cartoon was in full swing with the toys on shelves people went crazy for them!
Stocks were short resulting in worried parents having to queue early in the mornings at toy shops when new stock arrived to ensure their children got the Christmas gift they were after.
The toys were slightly different in the UK, with the BBC deeming the word ninja to have excessively violent connotations for a children’s program and so everything relating to the Turtles as renamed to Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles.
Nintendo Game Boy
Nintendo regularly features in our series of past Christmas crazes, in 1990 it was the turn of a small device with a little green screen. Released in 1989 in Japan, the Game Boy made it’s was over to the UK arriving in September 1990, just in time to cause a Christmas rush. Soon children (and probably just as many adults) were addicted to the little handheld 8-bit gaming machine. In fact Nintendo of America announced that 46% of Game Boy players were female, prior to this gaming had been very male dominated.
The key to it’s success was it’s simplicity, long battery life and a game of Russian origin called Tetris, anyone who has ever played Tetris and is reading this will most likely have the theme tune playing in their head for the rest of the day. Tetris was a simple puzzle game with a never ending stream of blocks descending which the player had to place neatly into a wall which would result in them disappearing, fail to do that and the wall builds and it’s game over.