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20 Craziest Toy Makeovers: From Monopoly to My Little Pony

Yes, we tell the world we had kids “because we wanted them,” but we also had an ulterior motive: to fill our house with all the toys we loved as kids. Then the toy marketing companies went and ruined it all. Classic toy remakes have sent parents rushing to the stores to stock up on their best memories, only to find that the new and improved version is really a hunk of junk. Here are twenty once-great toys that should have been left alone:

 

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    Monopoly

    At the very least, this Parker Brothers game has lived up to its name. Patented in 1935, the board game now dominates the market with hundreds of versions in 103 countries. But we can’t help feeling cheated by old Rich Uncle Pennybags when we have to plunk down a piece of paper money for the rental on a piece of the Krusty Krab. Is it really worth pulling a fast one on the banker to find out if Fantasia Borino is going to be shacking up on the Boardwalk? Give us our thimble, our cannon, our Scottie dog and the old battered shoe or don’t bother passing Go. Just go to jail.

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    Care Bears

    When your boss is being a big ol’ grump, you know all it takes is the Care Bear stare to make everything run smoothly. Just don’t expect any help from the Care Bears you knew and loved. Names have been changed, along with little belly emblems. And speaking of bellies, the Care Bears have been working out – probably to make room for Oopsy, the new bear pushed to the front of the line. So much for cuddly little balls of fluff who stand strong to teach kids about sharing, fun and friendship. With their slimmer tummies and gigantic heads, the new Care Bears look a little topsy-turvy.

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    Etch-a-Sketch

    To the true artists who can make something craftier than a box with those infernal knobs and the aluminum powder, we salute you. You can tell your kids about the art you made walking up hill both ways to school, because today’s kids have color on their Etch-a-Sketch. And when that starts to tax the imagination, they call up the Dora fun screen for a little relief from the stultifying world of creativity.

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    Lincoln Logs

    When they bring back your childhood favorites in the “Nostalgia” line, they’re trying to tell you something. You’re old. But you try telling me how a product that bills itself as “logs” for building “log” cabins can turn to plastic. Hey, I wasn’t born yesterday. Which means I remember the real Lincoln logs, the kind Pa would have used to build his Laura her own little house.

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    Chatter Telephone

    Maybe they’re trying to teach our kids to give up and move on to cordless, but the new version of this Fisher-Price classic is lacking in one major area – the length of the cord. They can’t be accused of providing a strangulation hazard to your child, but they won’t be accused of making a phone that’s any fun either. You try placing a call with a heavy chunk of plastic hanging in the air just off your shoulder and see how you like it. If you’re looking for a toy phone for your kids, skip the rotary dial and go straight for the cell phone. They’ll be sneaking off with it in a few years anyway.

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    Strawberry Shortcake

    So her hat was too big for her head, and she was awfully frumpy. She was sweet enough to eat, and that’s the way we like our Strawberry Shortcake. The new version of this ’80s staple has been told to hold the whipped cream – she’s going on a diet – and stay out of the sun, it ruins the complexion. A recent makeover has taken Strawberry’s freckles and curls in favor of a peaches and cream complexion and sleek locks that are a tad on the pink side for a fruit best served when it’s a ripe red. What’s next? A more feminine name for Huckleberry Pie? Or should we just make Orange Blossom less ethnic?

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    Don’t Break the Ice, Ker-Plunk, Cootie, Don’t Spill the Beans

    We want to thank Milton Bradley for bringing back the games we begged our parents to play with us night after blessed Friday night. Unfortunately we won’t be buying any more games, because the dog ate the tiny little pieces that fell off the flimsy construction, and we spent all our money on surgery to remove them from his intestines.

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    Polly Pocket

    Once upon a time, there was a little blonde girl who lived in a compact house. And wouldn’t you know it, with a name like Polly Pocket she actually fit in your . . . wait for it . . . pocket! She was one inch of hard plastic, and she was toted in our Osh Kosh B’Goshes everywhere we went. Now that we’ve gotten too big for our britches, Polly has too. Mattel’s takeover of the brand meant Polly hit puberty. She went through a growth spurt – she’s now closer to three inches tall – and her body made the freaky change from hard plastic to some sort of pliable rubber. She’s also moved out of her limited pocket-sized condo and into hipper digs. But we have to wonder – has this small-town girl grown up too big, too fast?

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    Holly Hobbie

    She’s been a toy since the ’70s, and they’ve already made her a grandmother. Yes, you read that right. At the ripe old age of forty-one, the original Holly Hobbie has been put out to pasture in favor of a younger, lither version. Her granddaughter – or great-great-granddaughter, according to some product descriptions – has torn off the bonnet and deep-sixed the pinafore for a goofy baseball cap and a pair of jeans with patches. If she’s already a tween, does that make her great-great-granny a bit trampy?

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    My Little Pony

    Whooooooaaaaa, Nelly! You won’t want to brush the manes of the grown-up “Struts” version of your old “My Little Pony.” Taller, leaner and dressed in barely-there clothes, these are the bitchy big sisters of the sweet little ponies we lusted after in the Toys ‘R Us Look Book. Playmates Toys is calling them “fashion with a kick.” Well, they would, if they could raise those spindly legs high enough.

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    Slinky

    Couldn’t get your slinky to walk down the stairs when you were a kid? The plastic version that’s out there now isn’t going to do it for you as an adult either. Slinky’s makers still promise it will stretch and snap back and make that “slinkity sound,” but the only thing stretchy here is truth in advertising. Better still, they call it the “original” plastic slinky. It does stretch, that’s true, for the first six, seven or even seventeen stretches. But hard plastic bends in a way that metal doesn’t, and the wonders your dad worked with metal can’t be replicated in plastic. So slink on back to the store and buy the real thing.

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    Cabbage Patch Dolls

    Little girls love their baby dolls – keyword here being baby. So when did the Cabbage Patch Kids become the big sister dolls? Their doughy little legs have been liposucked, and the yarn hair’s been replaced with perfect coifs I’ve yet to see on a real playground.

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    Trivial-Pursuit

    You used to be the Ken Jennings of your neighborhood. Now it’s you against a DVD? The new versions of the game of useless knowledge have dumped the big box brimming with questions in favor of a box that’s half the size. They’ve also dropped the “extra card” sales, so you have to cash in on another version. The incentive? You get a movie that asks a portion of the questions. But Mr. Announcer can’t possibly taunt you with the answer that’s been on the tip of your tongue quite the way your best buddy can. It used to be the geek’s only chance to show up the jock and the musician. Now it’s a quick game and you’re back to the store for more.

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    Slip ‘n’ Slide

    There’s just one word you don’t use around water and kids who grew up in the Jaws era. Roy Scheider has made wussies out of us all, it’s true. But do we have to let our kids show us up in the backyard on a hot summer day? Let’s go back to a hose, a sheet of plastic and a long running jump.

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    Tonka Trucks

    Nothing says rough and ready for the construction site like a hunk of plastic on wheels. A lot of today’s Tonkas are flimsy plastic with a tin shell – okay for the sandbox, but not much use if you’re digging in real dirt. Coming soon, the new Tonka truck adventure series: how to dig the missing wheel out of a sandbox!

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    Barbie

    Today she’s the doll we love to hate, but back then we just plain loved her. Because back then, she was all about the clothes. If you were a boy, you ripped them off and took a peek before you proceeded to give your sister’s favorite doll a swirlie in the toilet. And if you were a girl, well, you begged for the Dream House and the Corvette while you changed her outfits over and over and over. You were set for a career as a fashion designer, or at the very least a job in retail. But just went you thought Barbies outfits couldn’t get any tighter, you were dead wrong. Now half a dozen Barbies actually have their clothes painted onto their bodies. From collectible “Batgirl Barbie” to the Fairytopia series, the folks at Mattel have successfully sucked out every last bit of creative-play potential.

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    Sit ‘n’ Spin

    When we were kids, we sat. Then we spun ourselves silly. Yes, to recreate the teacup ride at Disney on the living room floor, the little plastic seat with the wheel in the middle was all we needed. Ah, those were the days. Today’s kids are treated to a talking seat that orders them to spin – faster and faster. Heaven forbid they really get into the spinning and forget to listen, because, come to think of it, Simon didn’t say! The only thing more annoying than Simon horning in on our playtime? Diego telling us how to whirl in Spanish. I’d like to tell him to go spin.

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    GloWorm

    He was a squishy green inchworm when he debuted in 1982. Now he’s sprouting tentacles and his eyes bear a striking resemblance to a visitor from outer space. The GloWorm’s gone from something we wanted to curl up with at night to the creature that’s going to send your kids off to nightmareland. Even the folks at Wendy’s did better than this with the Glo Friends. They were cute and glowed in the dark! The Playskool versions on the shelves today are just plain creepy.

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    HackySack

    Stoners everywhere are groaning and grabbing another handful of Cheetos. The Hacky Sack, that cheap bag of beans that provided hours of amusement has gone commercial. Wham-O’s sixty-year celebration has their marketing team in a whirl trying to modernize the classics. The results? A “striker” Hacky Sack that looks like a floppy soccer ball, a “Superstar” with a 32-panel construction, the “Impact” with just three panels and, of course, the classic rainbow bag, now called the “Freestyle.” Duuuuuuude. We just want a freakin’ bag with beans.

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    Spirograph

    The fridge was covered in works of art that amazed the eye – and all it took was one of those colored pens and a piece of plastic that looked like a little gear. Now all it takes is some bidding on eBay, because the shapes, pens and gears – everything that convinced us we were bound for art school – have been scaled down or eliminated in this new version.

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