Before we all knew it, parents were scratching each others’ eyeballs out trying to grab the last one, because the stores kept running out. Nobody could keep them in stock. And at Christmastime, it was every collector for herself.
Cabbage Patch Kids literally swept the nation back in the 80s. Today, they’re just another toy on the shelf, but they were the reigning kings and queens of 80s toys just a couple of decades ago.
80s Toys and Trends
In the 80s, toys and trends had consumers running to the nearest department stores in a perpetual state of frenzy. Every week, it was something new — the Rubik’s Cube, Atari, and Cabbage Patch Kids.
If any decade knew how to bring out the inner child in every adult, it was the 80s. Because these trendy toys and games weren’t just for kids. The grown-ups got in on the action. Those Rubik’s cubes graced plenty of office desks. Parents sat in line right behind their kids to get a turn on the Atari. And yes, even the matronly ladies who didn’t know what leg warmers were had crazy Cabbage Patch collections.
Because in the 80s, you didn’t just buy something and enjoy it. You had to buy lots of somethings. Lots of the same thing, only slightly different: Rubik’s cubes in different sizes and colors, every new model of Atari along with all the games you could play on it, and as many of those squash-faced baby dolls as you could get your hands on.
Cabbage Patch Kids
At first, they were butt ugly. People were simultaneously put off and enchanted by their squished faces. Oh, and the strange fact that they claimed to have literally been seeded, sprouted, and grown from an actual patch of cabbage. That made them even weirder and more alluring. They even came with adoption papers.
In terms of 80s toys, I remember Cabbage Patch Kids being the biggest craze. Atari was huge too, but people weren’t assaulting one another in toy stores to get an Atari. Cabbage Patch Kids, on the other hand, well, let’s just say I’m surprised it never escalated into an old-lady riot.
In my memory, it wasn’t unusual for grown-ups to play with 80s toys. But games like Atari or puzzles like Rubik’s Cube are pretty age-neutral. What were all those grannies doing lining up for three blocks to get one Cabbage Patch Doll for each of their granddaughters plus five for themselves?
It was an odd phenomenon. Exactly the kind that could only happen in the 80s.
Today, these silly dolls go for $199 apiece (and again — you don’t buy them — you adopt them), so if you want to add one to your family, go ahead and get one at cabbagepatchkids.com.
The Rubiks Cube came out of nowhere. One day, you’d never seen such a thing and the next day, everybody had one. Year after year, new variations came out – a little Rubik’s Cube you could put on your key chain, a big one for extra puzzling, and a whole rainbow of colors and hues to choose from. It was the ultimate in 80s toys!
We Loved Rubiks Cube
The Rubiks Cube is a mechanical puzzle – a cube that you twist and turn. Each of the six sides of a Rubiks Cube are colored with nine little stickers. Traditionally, these were red, blue, white, yellow, green, and orange, but eventually there were variations on the colors. Spin the cube to mix up the colors, and then try to align them all again.
It’s totally harder than it looks, people.
The toy was named after its inventor, Erno Rubik, who was a Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture. He licensed his puzzle to Ideal Toys in 1980 and Rubiks Cube quickly became one of the biggest and longest lasting 80s fads. The Rubiks Cube was even the subject of a patent lawsuit in the early 80s, and cheap knockoffs of the Rubiks Cube have been showing up on sales racks for almost three decades.
Long Live 80s Toys
To date, over 350 million of these 80s toys have been sold, and that makes Rubiks Cube the number one selling puzzle of all time. Some say it’s not only the biggest selling puzzle, but the bestselling toy as well.
Rubiks Cube hails as the king of 80s toys and the mother of 80s fads.
Even today, almost 30 years after Rubiks Cube first hit the market, speedcubers still compete in championships to see who can solve the puzzle fastest. Meanwhile, the rest of us are just trying to solve it.
The standard Rubiks Cube is a 3x3x3 cube. However, variations go up to a 7x7x7 (for cubemasters) and down to a 2×2 (for the little ones). The beloved cube has inspired tons of similar puzzles (often called twisty puzzles), with all different sizes and shapes and even a few that actually change shape (like Rubiks Snake). Word even has it that Mr. Rubik is releasing a brand new puzzle in the summer of 2009, and Rubiks Cube fans await with great anticipation.
Long Live 80s Fads
Today there are tons of variations on the Rubiks Cube, which means that 80s fads live on, just like we 80s people always knew they would. You can get cubes with your favorite sports teams, globe-shaped cubes, and even cubes with your own personal photos instead of the colored stickers.
Like all 80s fads, Rubiks Cube inspired books, t-shirts, and a host of other items. Can’t solve your Rubiks Cube? Get The Simple Solution to Rubik’s Cube and you’ll be twisting your cube to solution in no time.
Rubiks Cube is probably the best of all the 80s fads and it’s definitely the number one among 80s toys. It’s outlasted many other fads and toys (go on, try to buy a brand new Atari) and has outsold pretty much all of them. Now we’ll just wait and see what Mr. Rubik has in store for us next.