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6 Awesome Toys 80's Kids Would Have Killed For

In the eighties, we had a lot of amazing toys, but there were a handful of toys everyone wanted, but couldn't have. Some of them cost so much, we could never afford them. Others were so hard to find they made you cry when you saw the empty shelves at the store. Now we're not talking about Cabbage Patch Kids or other toys parents thought we wanted. We're talking the really awesome toys. Here's a rundown of our dream collection.

6. AT-AT Walker

Source: Rebelscum
Released: 1981
Original Price: $47.99 ($125.83 adjusted for inflation*)
When we first saw The Empire Strikes Back, there were a lot of amazing visuals, but the AT-AT walker stuck in our minds. At the time, we thought it was the coolest thing we'd ever seen. Then to discover you could actually buy one was almost more than our little minds could take. Kenner’s toy AT-AT had everything you could want: a head you could turn to survey the battlefield, poseable legs to stomp rebel figures, little toy guns that lit up and fired when you pulled the trigger, and a body you could stuff full of action figures to carry onto the battlefield. It’s become the Holy Grail of Star Wars action figures, and we'd still love to have one.

5. Castle Grayskull Playset

Source: Toyworth
Released: 1982
Original Price: $26.99 ($59.79 adjusted for inflation)
He-Man was one of the most popular action figure lines of the eighties. We had our own collection of figures to be proud of, including an original He-Man and Skeletor, thank you very much. Of course, if you're gonna have action figures, you have to have some place to fight. He-Man had his own castle, and he didn't have one of those wimpy Lord of the Rings castles: his castle was in the shape of a gigantic skull. The toy version could have just stopped there, but no. Mattel took the castle and crammed it full of cool gimmicks like a working elevator and drawbridge, a rack of exclusive weapons, and a laser cannon. And what if Skeletor managed to get inside? Well, he'd probably head for the throne to sit his bony butt down. That's when you turned the throne and dropped him through a trapdoor. Yeah, that’s how we roll. While they were relatively cheap, they were hard to find, so you'd snap one up if you saw it.

4. Metroplex

Source: tfwiki.net
Released: 1986
Original Price: $34.99 ($76 adjusted for inflation)
The Transformers toy line was epic. It had trucks, planes, dinosaurs, and a fleet of construction vehicles that could combine into one big robot. How do you top that? With a transforming city. Sort of. I mean, it wasn't so much a city or even a small town as it was a base camp. But it was the shizzle. It was essentially a playset that could change into a vehicle or a robot. So it was three toys in one. In base mode, it had a helipad and repair bays you could park four other vehicles into. On top of that, it came with an arsenal of cannons and guns that could have armed Afghanistan. It was even composed of three smaller Transformers that turned into a tank, a sports car, and a gun wielding robot, giving you four Transformers in total. Now that’s value.

3. Thundercats Cats Lair

Source: thundercatslair.org
Released: 1986
Original Price: $??? ($??? adjusted for inflation)
The Thundercats wanted to hang out when they weren't fighting mutants. That’s why they built the Cat’s Lair. It was sort of like a Sphinx, only way cooler, functional, and not full of mummies (unless Mumm-Ra attacked). The toy was an epic version. Its head turned, its paws would flip up to expose “Ion Beam cannons.” But what really took it up a notch was its combat element. If the enemy Attack Sled flashed its lights at the head, it would register as a hit. If the Lair flashed its lights at the Sled, it registered as a hit. Three hits on the Lair would make it blow open the door, and three hits on the sled would drop its shield. You could have your own little battle, right in your bedroom.

2. The Technodrome Playset

Source: Turtlepedia.wikia.com
Released: 1990
Original Price: $50 ($91 adjusted for inflation)
The evil Shredder joined forces with Krang to make the weirdest base ever. They made a giant ball on tractor treads with a huge eye mounted on the top. The toy version was even crazier. This thing had interactive elements up the ying yang. The eyeball on top could pop off and roll down as a weapon. It had a prison to store those pesky shell-heads. It had a “mutation chamber” where you could put in a figure and drench them in “ooze” (green slime). It had a throne room with a secret trapdoor to the weapons chamber below. You could strap a turtle to a spinning “brain scrambler” torture device. It connected to the Sewer Playset, so the Turtles could escape out of the jail into the sewer pipes. And more. Really, you could spend hours running around in this playset alone. It almost made up for the lack of the Internet.

1. U.S.S. Flagg Playset

Released: 1985
Original Price: $109.99 ($243.64)
To us, G.I. Joe was quite simply the greatest action figure line of the eighties. They were like superheroes and soldiers, wrapped into one. They had an insane number of awesome vehicles, but there was one towering over them all: the USS Flagg. We remember the moment we walked into the store and saw this. It was the most amazing toy we had ever seen, and remains so. I mean, look at it. It’s a freaking aircraft carrier. Seriously. It was modeled after a real aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz. At over seven feet long, you could put multiple planes and cars on it like a real battleship. It had a working public address system. To this day, it’s the biggest playset ever produced. This thing is so awesome, they should have used them in the Gulf War.

* Inflation calculations for 2014 from The US Department of Labor

UPDATE: Corrected battleship error

What was your dream toy as a kid?

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  1. The Flagg would have been awesome but I don't think we would have had room for it.

  2. I must have been rich and spoiled, I had the AT-AT and Grayskull. My son has the AT-AT now It is missing the side door, and the guns under the head don't light up and move anymore.

  3. I think those of us who grew up in the 80s fall neatly into one of two categories: those who wanted the AT-AT and those who wanted the Millenium Falcon...

  4. David, good for you!
    I had a ton of those G.I. Joe sets from the 60's and 70's, so I can't think of one I wanted and didn't get.

  5. I couldn't even dream about any of those growing up. But the smaller ones worked just fine.

  6. Claire GriffithssoontobeAldridAugust 21, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    i would use my powers to read peoples minds so i knew what was troubling them and how i could make them happy

  7. I'm a mum so I would have super speed so I can do everything at once and stretchy and extra arms to hold the baby and make dinner in the kitchen at the same time.

  8. Wow, things have certainly moved on from my day!

  9. By day I would be Tony Starch and by night I would be "Iron Man"-helping people by doing their ironing when they don't have time!

  10. If I had super powers, I'd probably be considered a super villain. I would use my powers to take what I want and form a dominating corporate empire. I would use them to get to this point and establish a constant influx of cash and funds. Then I wouldn't use my powers any more once this starts. I would let a board of directors run my company while I chill back and go on vacations and support me and my loved ones for the rest of their lives. All while doing this, never letting the public know who my alter ego is(this is key) but using a figurehead instead that does my actions.

    I would purchase the best audio and video equipment and continue to make videos and content for a website or probably make a movie. I would also use the cash to go back to school and master writing so I can start writing and publishing my own comic books. Since my alter ego is unknown, I will have to start from the bottom up(which is what I prefer) but won't have to worry about working or having no money.

    Finally, I would buy every single copy of Chrono Trigger on eBay regardless of the price and just hoard them all until I die.

    I would be 100% selfish and basically abuse my powers to get things established financially for myself and those closest to me and then just go back to being me. This is the truth.

  11. I want to say something magnanimous like using my super powers to bring world peace, end suffering and cure disease, but frankly, I'd be lying.

    There's an old saying that states: "Eavesdroppers never hear any good of themselves" - well, that depends who you're listening to, doesn't it?! I would use my superpower, batlike sonar hearing to listen.

    New product being talked about in a boardroom? My company would bring it out first! Celebs behaving badly? My media would have the scoop. New film plots being floated? I'm there. Contract tenders being whispered about? I'll do it for less!

    I'd be known as the Mistress of Innovation and nobody would know how I was doing it!

    I'd also use it for good - if I overheard skulduggery being planned, I would of course attempt to prevent it, but ultimately the power is all about me.

  12. I would use my super invisibility to listen to trading conversations & buy good stocks!

  13. I would use my powers to fly to war torn countries and rescue all the children that are caught up in it.

  14. I would use my electronic capabilities to destroy all recorded answer machine messages so that nobody would ever have to go through the pain of 'press one to be given another long list of options' again.

  15. I had Castle Greyskull, the Cats Lair and the Technodrome (actually still do, back at my parents' house) and I actually have Metroplex today (both the original G1 and the recently released one). A friend of mine had the USS Flagg and that always astounded me.

    Another one that would have been good on this list is the firehouse for The Real Ghostbusters and the sewer playset for TMNT, both of which I still have too. :)

  16. I'd be invisible and see all the wonders of the world :) x

  17. I would be similar to superman, bullet and rocket proof but without being vulnerable to kryptonite, i would then scoop up all the terrorists, murderers and general scum bags into a giant net and fly them into space and chuck this giant net full of evil directly into the sun, of course there is not air in space so most would probably be dead by the time they reached the sun but i would at least be clearing up the rubbish from the planet and disposing of it by incineration.

  18. I would be super fast so I can get all the rubbish cleaning jobs out the way in the matter of seconds!

  19. I would use my superpower of flight to avoid all those annoying long waits and endless queues at airports.


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