They had a book called Just Can’t Get Enough: Toys, Games and Other Stuff from the ’80s that Rocked. I’ve always been a sucker for gimmicks and the cover of J.C.G.E. was designed to resemble a Trapper Keeper (including the Vecro flap!) so I had to get it.
I love fun books like this, but they’re often horribly written. Usually someone just comes up with an idea for a novelty book, figures they can trick some rather peculiar people into an impulse-buy (yes, I know what I just said), and they make a few bucks. But not this book! Along with great pictures, the writing is both hilarious and insightful about being a child in that most awesome of decades.
It’s nice to know we live in a world where someone can be in a business meeting, pitch “a ball with a face that’s got snot and pus pouring out of it,” and have someone respond with a resounding, “Yes!”
Almost every time I read a chapter, the authors basically summed up my experience with that toy or book.
Let’s be honest here. We all played with the game Crossbows and Catapults, but nobody actually played the game as it was meant to be played.
The book also includes many interesting tid-bits about where the products came from.
Regarding the creators of Garbage Pail Kids trading cards: While Spiegelman is best known for Maus, his critically acclaimed graphic novel about his parents’ true life experience during the Holocaust, his day job involved deciding whether Richie Retch or Luke Puke was a better name for a green-faced child vomiting up his guts.
I also learned about a game which I never played and which, apparently, none of the girls at school filled me in on. But now that I know about it, it makes me wonder how any girl made it out of the ’80s without being crushingly self-conscious (oh right, very few did).
Regarding Girl Talk: If you chose not to do a dare or answer a question, the punishment was to stick a little red zit sticker on your face and leave it there for the duration of the game. A zit sticker. On your face. As punishment. Hooray for the ’80s!
Yes, I have great memories from the ’80s. That’s where I spent my life between the ages 4 and 13 (with a few months of 14 thrown in). In fact, when I turned 23, JoanMarie threw me a surprise party with an ’80s theme. Everyone showed up downtown at Farmer’s Market all dressed up. Since it was a surprise party, I didn’t think I’d have to wear anything funny because I didn’t know about it ahead of time. But JM brought enough goodies to transform me into…Michael Jackson.