'90s playground fads that would make great AR mobile games

Running with the POGs

'90s playground fads that would make great AR mobile games

This week we learned that '90s playground fad POGs were due a comeback in the form of a mobile AR game.

POGs AR mobile game incoming

POGs: The Mobile Game has its own Indiegogo campaign underway, with a pitch video fronted by UK TV presenter Ortis Deeley. It's safe to say that it's hardly racing to its $50,000 goal, though there's still a month left to push on.

As a child of the late '80s and early '90s, it got me to thinking about the other silly fads of the time, and which of them would make for a good AR-enhanced mobile gaming experience.

Monster Max/Polly Pocket

We've included these two things together because they represented a similar concept, but with the kind of boy/girl dichotomy that was insidiously forced upon us '90s kids.

Both Monster Max and Polly Pocket gave you miniature playsets all contained within a compact fold-out carry-case. Imagine a virtual version with a bunch of self-contained platform-puzzler levels unfolding before you.

Naturally, it would work brilliantly with AR. Just see Lego's recent AR demo at WWDC 2018 and add an extra dose of '90s 'cool'.

Image: Mighty Max Wikia

Monster in My Pocket

You think Pokemon was the first highly-collectible pocket monster game in town? Hell no. There were loads, and for a time at the turn of the decade, Monster in My Pocket was all the rage.

These were tiny squishy rubber figures modelled after hundreds of of creatures from myth, legend and literature. Each creature had its own value rating, which essentially turned them into contraband among '90s pre-pubescents.

I'd like to see them brought back with an AR-enhanced toys-to-life angle. Then I might finally get that level-25 Great Beast.

Image: Little Weirdos


Boglins were massive in the late '80s and early '90s. These were a range of hyper-detailed, freakishly rubbery, grotesque-looking hand puppets. Essentially, they looked like a gargoyle's head with two floppy arms dangling from them.

The key appeal of Boglins (other than the gross looks) was that you could manipulate their mouths, facial expressions, and even eyes with your fingers.

I don't know how this inherently tactile appeal could be translated to mobile, but I really need someone to figure it out for my own mental wellbeing. Being banned from having one due to their 'demonic' appearance still hurts to this day.

Image: Artoyz

Desk tidies

Some time in the early '90s, desk tidies became the must-have accessory in UK schools. Each was basically a series of variously-sized plastic tubes stuck together, into which you would plop all of your stationary for the term.

That was what our parents though we did with them, anyway. In reality, things swiftly escalated to the point where they became miniature forts in a protracted war.

Anchored bendy rulers became catapaults, elastic bands were suspended between two desk tidies to form slingshots. Those who lacked the ammo (mostly chopped up erasers) or the will could cower behind the walls of their makeshift Minas Tiriths.

Needless to say, an AR-enhanced desktop war simulator would be brilliant. In fact, Apple has pretty much made such a thing to show off iOS 12.

Image: Present and Correct

Tech Deck

Imagine being able to flip a little skateboard using your fingers as legs. That was Tech Deck for you - a fad that for once required genuine skill to perfect.

Personally, I think this would make for a great mobile game concept. What's that? Touchgrind Skate and True Skate already did such a thing? Oh. Well, that's just proved my point then, hasn't it? Hmph.

You'll be telling me they've made a Micros Machines game next.

Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.