Weird History

10 Wild '80s Cereals We Can't Believe Actually Existed

List Rules
Vote up the branded cereals you actually enjoyed as a kid, or at least think look reasonably appetizing now.

The idea of branded cereal is pretty weird, when you think about it. Movies, cartoons, video games, and action figures don't taste like anything. There's nothing intrinsic to Batman or Pac-Man or G.I. Joe that carries over into a comestible.

Of course, the idea does make some kind of commercial sense, or it wouldn't have happened so often. The cereal aisle in a supermarket is a Darwinian jungle in which all but the most entrenched brands must struggle for survival using any tricks they have - colorful box art, enticing pack-in toys, and famous entertainment brands. If grownups are largely indifferent to these embellishments, their kids certainly aren't, so the boxes fly off the shelves - at least until the next fad comes along.

The 1980s might have been the decade that saw Peak Branded Cereal. Take a sugar-sweetened, vitamin-fortified stroll down memory lane with these vintage cereal boxes. Vote up the ones that actually tasted good, or at least look like they might have been digestible.

  • 1
    42 VOTES

    Nintendo Cereal System

    Nintendo Cereal System
    Photo: taybar_63 / eBay

    In the late '80s, Nintendo was the undisputed lord and master of the video game universe. The company was too cool to have a cereal; it had a cereal system. This hybrid approach does seem like a missed opportunity to market "Super Mari-Os" as a cereal line unto itself, but far be it from us to question the wisdom of their marketing team.

    It's also unclear how you distinguish "fruity" from "berry" flavors in a sugary milk sludge, especially because berries are a kind of fruit, but... as Nintendo-obsessed as kids were in those days, this cereal probably flew off the shelves for a time anyway.

  • 2
    41 VOTES

    Mr. T Cereal

    Mr. T cereal is shaped like little T's. Simple and straightforward. The cartoon-style illustration seems to denote a connection with Mr. T's 1980s animated series, rather than one of his other gigs, like The A-Team.

    Of course, Mr. T is pretty much always his inimitable self, wherever you may find him.

  • 3
    33 VOTES

    G.I. Joe Action Stars

    G.I. Joe Action Stars seems like a pretty low-effort endeavor. Okay, they are shaped like stars, the G.I. Joe logo has a star, and the American flag has stars, so there's a vaguely patriotic vibe going. But frankly, it's a pretty tenuous connection.

    Now, if the company had tried to shape the cereal like tiny Cobra Commanders, that might have been more interesting.

  • 4
    35 VOTES

    Gremlins Cereal

    Shouldn't this technically be called "Mogwai Cereal," since it features the adorable Gizmo on the cover, and not one of the horrifically destructive monsters that Mogwai turn into if you feed them after midnight?

    The cereal pieces are shaped like tiny humanoids, which could be Gremlins... or teddy bears, or astronauts for that matter.