It’s 1995. Take That are still together, no one’s heard of the Spice Girls, and technology gets a shiny makeover with the appearance of eBay, the launch of Windows 95, and the announcement of a futuristic digital storage format called DVD. Toy Story (the first ever wholly computer generated film), Casper, and Jumanji have captured our imaginations and Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’ has taken the coveted Christmas number one spot. Here what we wanted for Christmas this year.
Crazes in the 90s were the IRL equivalent of today’s internet memes. They don’t really make any sense and no one’s sure where they came from, but the world and his brother are in on it. Never was this truer than for Pogs, small plastic and metal discs brandishing images of everything from cartoon characters and football players to milk company logos and car branding. Everyone wanted a set until schools starting banning them.
Beanie Babies emerged as a popular collectible in 1995, and come Christmas that year they were on the wish-lists of kids around the world. If you’ve still got yours stashed away somewhere, it’s worth digging them out – they could be worth a few bob nowadays.
‘He’ll eat almost anything – except sweets!’ Dream Phone was for many girls their first foray into romance, without the real-life accompanying stress of bad skin, greasy hair and adolescent awkwardness. You knew it was just a game, but how disappointed were you when your BFF found out James liked her first?
This was a big year for gaming, with Sony releasing the first ever PlayStation console across Europe and the fantasies of young boys marked forever by the appearance of a very angular and pointy-boobed Lara Croft not long after. Gamers nowadays will still remember the rush you’d get when the game loaded properly the first time around.
Make-up doll heads
From Disney princesses to Barbie dolls, it seemed that no end of iconic fictional female characters were immortalised in 3D head form to await clumsy makeovers and ill-advised – and irrevocable –haircuts.
Polly Pocket was first designed in 1983, but really hit her stride in 1995 when her pocket-sized wonderlands became a huge hit worldwide. Everything from pet shops and beauty salons to ice rinks and seasides were intricately hidden within these little plastic compacts. Hands up if you lost tiny Polly within nanoseconds of opening one up.
Ah, the seminal pink Lego: ‘Look! Girls can do building too!’ This year manufacturers churned out a series of beach houses and horse stables in pretty pastel colours, seemingly unaware that we’d been playing with the regular Lego for years already. Nonetheless, we still wanted the new stuff, but mainly because it was new.
Wooden labyrinth game
There was probably one of these baffling and infuriating puzzles in every games cupboard in the UK, thanks largely to the ‘educational’ nature of this toy (Agility! Logic! Etc!). The kids on the advert made it look way more exciting than it actually was, but to be fair to the makers the game has endured and is not only still in production but is also a popular smartphone app.
They got too hot, the ‘lava’ went weird and gloopy and they used a staggering amount of electricity, but lava lamps were still a must-have item for every style-conscious teen this year. Yeah, mood lighting!
Mid-90s Britpop was in full swing by now, and while the likes of Blur, Elastica, The Levellers and Pulp enjoyed their heyday, it was Oasis who ruled the roost, releasing the now utterly iconic Wonderwall. A copy of this next to your HiFi – maybe even in CD format! – guaranteed major cool cred.