Even if I had never played the game before, I’m certain I would still think Crossfire was the most badass game of my youth based off its TV commercial alone. Don’t remember the TV commercial? Let me remind you.
Once the credits finished rolling after watching Rugrats for the fifth time that day the TV would flash to a wide angle shot of a flaming arena. In a generic, action movie voice you hear, “It’s sometime in the future, THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE!” Then two kids fully clad in what appears to be hardcore motorcycle gang leathers swoop into the arena on hover boards. That’s when maybe the best advertising jingle ever jingled plays. “CROSSFIRE! You’ll get caught up in the CROSSFIRE!” The two bad ass looking kids in leather are then shown furiously playing the game, as though losing will require them to give away their light up tennis shoes (more on that later). In actuality, the loser gets spun into oblivion out of the flaming arena.
I remember after the first time I saw that commercial my brother and I immediately went to our mom and demanded the game for Christmas. And to be honest, the commercial really doesn’t demonstrate what the game even is. All we knew is that you shot little ball bearings and looked like a bad ass doing it.
The actual object of the game was to fire projectiles at two pucks on the playing board. Whoever was able to get the puck into their opponents ‘goal’ was the loser. The gameplay was almost as fun as the commercial made it out be. Unfortunately it didn’t make us feel as hardcore as the commercial seemed to indicate it would, which I think makes Crossfire, truly, one of the greatest advertising jobs of our day.
The Fisher Price Tape Recorder and Microphone
While the previous entry was badass because it was, well, badass, the Fisher Price Tuff Stuff Tape Recorder is badass for an entirely different reason: it made you feel more powerful than the goddamn president (or radio host or music star).
At six years old, it was painfully obvious that you had no power over your own life. If I had it my way the only outfit I would have worn until I turned 16 would have been my Batman pajamas and cape. How else was I supposed to be ready for my fight with a super villain? But my parents demanded I dress like a, quote, ‘normal person,’ and so I had to wear actual clothes despite my temper tantrums against their omnipotence.
Then I was given the Tuff Stuff Tape Recorder. Never before had a child had such a power trip as when I held that microphone in my hand and heard my voice broadcast to the world. While in reality the speaker didn’t amplify my voice passed the walls of my room, the power I felt with that microphone was euphoric. Literally like LSD for kids. Since I was the shy and imaginative type, I lined up my action figures and made them listen to my all powerful voice.
The fact that it doubled as a tape recorder made the experience even better. You could play back your own voice which you had broadcast to your minions. A week or two later the whole dictator routine got old I decided to make a spoken enclycopedia article on whales (I never said I was a cool kid). It was at this point that my mom decided to give my best friend next door a Tuff Stuff tape recorder too.
What ensued was a two week war between my best friend and I. While I thought I was supreme ruler of the universe while holding the microphone, she thought she was the best pop singer in the world. For hours every day I would be forced to listen to her sing boy band and pop songs with her microphone. Her tape recorder induced drug trip culminated in a 1 hour production of her performing Mary Poppins. Clearly, the Fisher Price Tuff Stuff Tape Recorder is one of the most badass toys from childhood.
L.A. Gear Light Up Shoes
Question: What little kid’s mind isn’t blown away by light up shoes? Answer: Every kid’s mind is blown away by light up shoes. Just take a look at 4 and 5 year olds today. Despite the fact that kids now have been playing with iPhones and iPads for as long as they can remember (my 4 year old nephew has beaten Angry Birds 3 times) they all are still to this day in awe of light up shoes.
Why are light up shoes so awesome you ask? Two reasons: they freaking light up every time you take a step! and they clearly give you super powers. To your childhood brain, if your shoes lit up, the clear corollary is that they also make you jump higher, run faster, and pretty much invincible (plus you don’t have to avoid the lava tiles).