Toys R Us… Were toys better back then?

I look through the Toys R Us circulars now and again. What can I say? I’m still a kid at heart. As I look through them, I think, “These toys don’t look like much fun.” Is it true? Are modern days toys less fun than their 1980s counter-parts? Or like a lot of things, everything just “seemed” better when you’re a kid?

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Justin M. Salvato

Writer/Vlogger at Retroist
Seeker of 1980s nostalgia, rummager of vintage computers and player of retro video games.When not writing posts of The Retroist, I'm converting Retroist audio podcasts to Retroist video podcasts.My own videos can be found at
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7 thoughts on “Toys R Us… Were toys better back then?

  1. datedgamer says:

    as the parent of twin 5 year boy and girl I can tell you they are pouring over the Toys R Us toy book with pen in hand drooling over the toys. So yes the toys today are just as amazing for them and twenty years from now they will online pining about their La La Loopsy doll or Stinky The Garbage Truck.

  2. I feel like there’s a lot more blatant licensing now, and a lot less pure fantasy. Action figure lines were really weird when we were little. These days, everything’s a little too “cool” and too over-developed to leave much room for imagination.

    One of the only really good things about being a supposed grown-up is having money to buy your own toys.

  3. Doug says:

    I agree with Garsh. I really think it’s something that you couldn’t get Star Wars action figures for months after the movie, but today movie tie-in toys are in stores six weeks before the film comes out. The marketing gimmicks are too perfected.

  4. I’m unsure about toys, but I know Toys R Us used to be way better when the aisles were relatively straight. The weird configuration of their stores now makes it a chore to look through the store let alone find a particular toy. I also swear they have much less inventory now than in the past due to this change.

  5. plcary says:

    A very good question. I think it depends on one’s level of nostalgia. I annoy my wife on a daily basis with stories of items from my childhood and I rarely hear her mention things like that. And is the fondness for old toys, shows, etc more of a guy thing? Hmmm, if only I had kept my Magic 8 Ball we could get some answers.

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