The Lego section had already been destroyed by vultures, picking apart Toys ‘R’ Us’ carcass before the sales had even kicked in. I lingered sadly on the empty shelves, with scattered remnants of Legos left behind, and I noticed something sad: Basic Legos pretty much don’t exist anymore. I remember buying huge castle sets and pirate sets, building enormous Lego fortresses with my Dad as a kid. But these basic sets no longer exist. Every set belongs to a fandom — Lego Star Wars, Lego Disney, Lego Movie, Lego Batman. I wanted to buy a cool-looking Lego castle, but these newfangled sets are all too decorative. Alas, I see my childhood disappearing.
It’s Nerf, or nothing! We all remember needing to have the biggest Nerf gun (or supersoaker) in the neighborhood. We played superheroes; we played war. In college, we even pulled out our Nerf collections for a campus-wide game of Humans Vs. Zombies. But Nerf has been around since 1970, and there are only so many ways to build a giant plastic gun. Do kids today use Nerf, or should I be looking for a Nerf first-person shooter to be released in 2019?
8. Video Games!
When the N64 launched in 1996, this gaming system was in short supply and high demand, so some kids had to wait to play at home. Fortunately, we could visit Toys ‘R’ Us nearly every day to play Mario 64. And since we couldn’t buy the system yet, our parents would usually console us with a new toy! Well, they still have a gaming display, but with so many games being bought online, the video game section was sadly quiet.
9. Hot Wheels
Like Legos, the Hot Wheels section was empty — likely collectors swooping in to gather what they can before Toys ‘R’ Us closes forever, forcing them to learn to shop on Amazon like everyone else.
10. Puppy Surprise!
I was shocked to see this toy still exists. Essentially, its gimmick is that it’s a stuffed dog, but inside her tummy hides an unknown number of puppies (it could be 3, or 4, or 5!) I actually owned several of these pups, as I was always hoping to be the lucky girl to discover five puppies inside. It never occurred to me that, having bought three Puppy Surprises, I already had 9 puppies.
In fact, other than merchandise for newer movies, many of the toys from 20 years ago are still exactly the same today. I found Carebears, Littlest Petshop, and a destroyed Transformers section. Read more….