If there’s one thing we love almost as much as hockey, it’s pop culture from the 80s. For any child growing up, the biggest part of popular culture is the toys. Having the right toys can turn you from the geeky kid who no one likes into the geeky kid who no one likes but has people over all the time to play games. They’re that powerful.
The game posted above is Wayne Gretzky’s Rocket Hockey. Our favourite part of that commercial is the voice-over that extols the virtues of the game. It’s clearly geared at parents who may not have placed “buy Rockey Hockey game for kids” at the top of their to do list. The game isn’t just fun, it helps develop hand-eye coordination and sharpens reflexes! Not only that, but it teaches kids to accept minor setbacks AND a provides modest sense of victory! Sure, playing an actual sport would also do all of those things, but this is much easier and it comes in a box from the store. The commercial also notes that batteries are not included, because they’re NOT required. So take THAT Teddy Ruxpin.
We recently found this game in the basement of our parents’ house. Most of the pieces were missing and it was a shell of its former self. It was quite sad really.
Wayne Gretzky was by far the biggest hockey name of the decade, so it only makes sense that quite a few toys used his name. And not all of them taught kids determination and made them better athletes.
Of course Wayne Gretzky needs a doll action figure, right? Before we go any further, that clip above says the toy cost $15.95. Does that seem like a ridiculous amount of money to anyone else? Remember, this is the 1980s. That’s at least $30 in 2010 money. Can you see anyone buying a Sidney Crosby doll for $30 today? Other than to burn it in effigy, of course.
Now, the measuring stick for any male doll from the 80s is whether or not the doll would be able to have sex with Barbie. This, above all else, measure the value of the doll. The CBC News clip above even poses that question. It also references Rocket Hockey.
We unquestionably believe that the Gretzky doll would be able to pick up the Barbie doll. Wayne in the 80s was a huge deal and he made a lot of money. Ken always seemed like a bit of an underachiever, and someone had to pay for the dream house and the pink Corvette, so we could see Barbie leaving Ken for Wayne. She probably would have pushed for a trade to Los Angeles too.
(Image from: Gunaxin)
We never played this game, but just by looking at the box we can tell you that it’s amazing. First of all, the goaltender looks like he’s about to murder someone. It’s probably because his defense is nowhere in sight. Somewhere Marc-Andre Fleury is sympathetic. The player with the puck has a bit of a Bobby Hull vibe to him as well and is the other skater Dirk Graham?
We’re not going to include any other video games in this post, because there’s enough there for another day, but this one needed to be mentioned.
(Image from: eBay)
Is this a hockey toy? Not really. But it’s Freakin’ Casey Jones! We spent many childhood moments wondering why Jones wore a hockey mask, but fought with golf clubs. Only now do we realize that he was a Leafs fan.
(Image from: eBay.)
We never had any, but VCR board games always looked like the most fun in the world on the commercials. It was like the television was talking to YOU. Of course, there’s no way they could be as fun as the commercials portrayed them, but the games posted above all look pretty intense. We probably wouldn’t wear full hockey equipment while play them though, VCR Hockey Game.
On a side note, how great is it to see the Whalers and North Stars logos on the NHL Hockey Challenge game?
There were no doubt many other great hockey toys in the 80s. There aren’t pictures online for a lot of them and playing Blades of Steel took up a big chunk of the 80s for us, so we’re sure that we forgot some good ones. Leave your best 80s hockey game memories in the comments!