1.) Masters of the Universe: For the love of all that is sacred... Is there a cooler sounding name for a toy? When I was a kid playing with a toy called Masters of the Universe made your imagination run wild, plus there was even a cartoon to help give the characters even more personality!!! These were some of the earliest toys I remember as a kid, and I also remember having a lot of them. (and I also remember that one day I didn't have any...MOM!!!) They just don't make them like they used to. These guys were so cool looking and not one looked the same as the other (unless there was a point to it... Like Faker) They were and are to this day super durable and even if they are beat up they still look and feel cool. They even went "back to the well" in the early 2000's with a new He-Man cartoon that was actually pretty good, and added more depth to the characters we grew up with... Anyway, this is just a bad ass toy... I look at them and they make me smile! (this is one of my personal favorites)
2.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: These sort of came out in the "golden years" of when I was a kid collecting toys. But I do remember having a solid amount of these guys. I knew nothing of the comic unfortunately, but I probably wouldn't have fully gotten why it was so important to comics anyway.( at least at that time and age) All I knew is that the cartoon was cool and mainly the awesome song and that the toys were equally cool. (the cartoon doesn't really hold up very well if you ask me) If there is any theme of the 80's toy it has to be built to last! These guys were tough too and could take a beating... The toys designers cared about the kids man. Or Maybe things have just gotten cheaper? The cool thing about many of the 80's toys is each characters individuality. They all sort of had their own style. (Well the Turtles themselves looked pretty much the same, but you get what I'm saying.) Anyway, these guys probably aren't one of my most favorite of this time, but they were crazy popular and very cool! (and I remember my Uncle Steve taking me to Toys R Us for my birthday and telling me to pick any two toys and I picked two of these party dudes.)
3.) ThunderCats: Okay, Hali and I own the ThunderCats First season of episodes and we still both "feel the magic and hear the roar." The back story of the show and characters is like Superman- meets Star Wars- meets Xmen.(or some crap like that) AND the show itself is so weird and imaginative and did a good job of reinventing older ideas... All that being said this is about the TOYS!! And these toys were awesome... They... like the Turtles and MOTU were damn near indestructible and also had rich individual back stories and histories. The paint looked great and they had a kind of "Barbarian style" type of body somewhat (I stress somewhat) like the MOTU figures, which really is always a crowd pleaser. I haven't mentioned this yet, but all of the 80's toy had great vehicles and accessories as well. I didn't have near enough of these guys, but I always thought they were really cool!
4.) Marvel Secret Wars: Okay... These may be a surprise to some of you because these figures didn't have the best articulation or the best and most lasting paint jobs... BUT I remember loving to play w/ these toys so much as a kid. I also remember them being around for years! I mean as I grew up I would find them in weird places around my house or at my grandmas, and when I would they would always make me happy. I think I just enjoyed how unique they were because they were so "low-tech." They all looked cool too and there was even a freaking Baron Zemo! That in itself is super cool! He is such a cool lesser known Captain America villain and he is Pink-ish too!!! Anyway, these guys deserve to be on my list simply because I loved them so much as a kid and would chew on their feet and somehow they never really got damaged that bad:)
5.) Star Wars: I know, I know... They started in the 70's... BUT ended up in the 80's and either way you look at it they heavily influenced the 80's toy... Both MOTU and ThunderCats have some similarities to the Star Wars Universe and you can bet that wasn't by accident... Star Wars was super hot during this time period and had to be influencing anyone creative who made up stories for toys!!!! ( Star Wars influences my life, like, seriously everyday) Anyway, these toys are not the best toy ever made in terms of aesthetic, but they were really the first of the highly collectible 3 3/4 in figures... And they, like many of the toys from the 80's were just so diverse! The vehicles are so cool and make up for the stiff and easily scuffed up figures tenfold! And again, these guys set the stage and honestly... I love them and have almost all of them!!! And I like how they look and feel personally... But from a critical stand point they are pretty rough and ancient seeming... And that is probably one of the reasons I love them too!!!! Someday we/man will finally blow ourselves up ,and the mutant- animal- human- alien -hybrids will find all our figures and theorize about the "Star Wars" religious idols we worshiped.
6.) Transformers: These guys are truly "more than meets the eye!!!" Now, I have to be honest... I was not a Transformers kid at all. I thought they were cool and everything, but mainly I think they were just out of my parents and my price range. Joes were like 3 bucks or something many of the Transformers would get into the double digits. Plus, I was sort of ADD and would lose interest in trying to "transform" them:) I am a more organic type of person... A Transformer was just out of my play time comfort zone. That doesn't mean that I didn't think they were very cool, because I did. I always liked Soundwave and Starscream a lot. I just wanted to play and they took too much time in my "little non-focusing kid world..." Very cool though!
7.) COPS: This was another show that I watched as a kid... And this is another toy that was in the twilight of my kid collecting years... But all the figures looked cool and they had the "Joe" style bodies... However, they were even more stylized. The figures had more varying shapes and sizes and all looked quite interesting. This is another toy I didn't really get deep into, but I had a few of the figures and liked to play w/ them. Mainly, I think these guys should be included on this list because they did sort of take the Joe bodies a step further and had some pretty cool characters. And I don't think kids get toys that are very cool anymore... Everything just looks too realistic and is all digitally scanned... I like when toys were stylized and more imaginative.( That is how I like my comics too.) Maybe these are a bit obscure, but I think they deserve to be here.
8.) Madballs: I loved these when I was a kid... There were so cool... I mean it's a simple concept, "let's make balls creepy, grotesque and weird." It was like taking Garbage Pail Kids and making them into balls. Anyway, I won't spend a lot of time on these guys, but they were definitely a big deal when I was a kid and they are super unique to the 80's toy! And they are the only non- action figure I find worthy to be on my list.
9.) WWF Wrestlers:( and yes kids it was WWF in my day) Yeah that's right these guys deserve to be here and I HAD and a bunch of these, MOM! I loved these guys, I had the ring and everything and would have matches with my brother, friends and cousins! I even remember taking these guys in the shower w/ me and that was a privilege that only my Joes got. (please remember I was a kid and not a sick bastard taking my toys in the shower to have... "play time.") These again are another super unique 80's toy... "I'm Vince McMahon I have an Idea for a toy... let's make them out of solid rubber, slap some paint on them, and then sell them to kids... MMYEAH SEE." I love this idea! And it was so much fun!!! Each character was a stylized version of a real wrestler. They weren't hyper realistic like today they had character and heart, which made them more fun to play with. Plus, they were impossible to break... The worst things that could happen was that the paint would chip/rub and honestly that took a lot. These were great toys that are again completely unique to the 80's!!!
10.) GI Joe: The Real American Hero: Best toy ever... Hands down! (I know I'm not ranking, but I truly believe this)This was toy articulation at its finest! Everything moved on these guys. And it was awesome. You could take them apart and put them back together if you wanted to or fix them if they broke. Each character was super unique, interesting and diverse. The cartoon ,in my opinion, is the best cartoon ever made and added so much to my play time experience! I played with these toys by myself and with my friends for what seemed like endless amounts of hours! They were just the right size and you could set them up anywhere! Joes where the only toy that I remember most of my friends having some sort of carrying case to hold them all in. My brother and I each had our own separate Joes in out own separate cases with our own systems for getting them all back into said cases. Joes would get mixed up w/ my friends collection and theirs would mix into mine and I wouldn't care!!! The Joes are the only toy that my mom never gave away. I think that she knew how much I loved them and could never bring herself to give them away. And to this day I still collect them and love the hell out of them! They are definitely my personal favorite.
Honorable mention 11: The Remco and Lanard corps figures: I think these guys deserve some sort of mention if not directly on my list... I had these guys find there way into my Joe collection over the years, and they have always been a pleasure to play with! There bodies are only slightly different from the the Joes so people would sometimes mistakenly get them for me... I even remember buying some because I thought they were cool and would fit in with my Joes. In fact, as a collector today I look for these guys and think a lot of them are super bad ass! (Like Lazer Force) Anyway, I have to say that although these figures aren't as mainstream or popular as some of the other figures on my list they deserve to be talked about on here, because they have a special place in my heart. ( and I am probably not alone)
Well, that pretty much wraps it up for my 80's toys list, and man was it a fun one! As always please share any toys you love during this time period as there are many I didn't include because I never had any or simply didn't know about, in my little kid world. Thanks for reading and I hope I inspire some of you to go to your moms house and start digging through old boxes in the garage... You never know what you might find.