Ah, nostalgia! Be it that old cartoon, a favorite toy or a comic book from days gone by, isn’t it great, when out of the blue, the memories come flooding back, and you’ve no choice but to exclaim “Holy Crap! Remember…“?
Bear with me on this. I know that some of our younger readers may find this hard to believe, but pogs were a genuine phenomenon and serve as the most golden and perfect proof that kids will buy into ANYTHING if you tell them it’s cool (looking at you, Bieber). Sure, the game’s origins lie in Hawaii in the 1920’s (or so the internet would have me believe), but all I’m talking about is the boom of the 1990’s. For those of you unfamiliar with the game and fad (or those that had simply tried to block it out of your mind), the game works like this:
- Each player (read: prepubescent sucker) amasses an insane amount of little cardboard discs called “pogs.” One side is blank and one side is printed with a graphic, often a licensed character, but just as often a piece of rad bitchin’ generic ’90’s garbage.
- Players also collect a smaller number of “slammers,” heavier discs (often plastic or metal) to use when playing the game. These were also printed with a design or in some cases, etched with a design, especially on the metal pieces.
- Each player builds a tower of pogs face down. The opponent throws his slammer on top, toppling the pile and then collects the pogs that land face up. The process is repeated until all the pogs are gone and the player with the most at the end of the game was declared the winner.
Yes, the game breaks down to stack, throw, rake, repeat. It’s AT LEAST as dumb as it sounds. But kids ate this crap up back in the day. They came in big bundles for the generic discs or in packs of a dozen or so for the cartoon or movie-based versions. They were everywhere. There was an honest to God national Pog tournament and the little bastards were outlawed by some schools for promoting gabling since some kids played “for keeps,” meaning (of course) they’d keep the losers pogs… Luckily he had a bajillion more where those came from.
The sheer range these things covered is staggering. Everything from sports stars to cartoons to even (I am NOT joking) the major players of the O.J. Simpson trial were immortalized on tiny cardboard circles. It’s astounding, and in the case of O.J., gross. I’d like to think that the quick fade out can be attributed to a massive wake-up call, but I’m sure it had more to do with something new and equally stupid stealing our collective attention. These things were contemporaries of the likes of Tamagochi and Pokémon, after all, so it’s not like kids were starved for weird crap to spend their parents’ money on in those days.
I had them. Hell, we ALL had them. If any American human in their mid-to-late twenties tells you they DIDN’T buy into this crap, they’re lying to your face. It’s nothing to be proud of and collectively I think we should all be mocked by the younger generation because of how insanely lame it was, so take your licks, people. Also, who’s up for a game of pogs at PoP!toberfest? Anyone?