'90s Toys Whose Commercials Were Way Better Than The Real Thing

Over 1.5K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of '90s Toys Whose Commercials Were Way Better Than The Real Thing
Voting Rules
Vote up the toys with the most misleadingly awesome commercials.

There’s no greater form of entertainment than '90s toy commercials. These ads shocked and astounded and tantalized their young target demographics, offering kids from coast to coast the dream that they, too, could spray their foes in the face with water using only the sound of their voice. Or that a simple game night with a friend could turn into a futuristic battlefield complete with hoverboard fighting.

Of course, toy commercials from the '90s oversold their products to a ridiculous extreme. Every Saturday morning ad made it seem like the plaything in question was the most awesome, radical piece of merchandise ever created. The toys sold in '90s commercials could make you cool and popular and grown-up... and when you actually bought them, all those promises came crashing down.

Photo: Imokurnotok / Wikipedia / Public Domain

  • 1
    469 VOTES

    Nintendo Virtual Boy

    What Was Promised: The Nintendo Virtual Boy promised users the foremost technology in gaming. Supposedly, as soon as players jacked into the system, they'd experience a real 3D adventure the likes of which the world had never seen.

    What Was Delivered: The Virtual Boy did everything but deliver. Rather than offer the true 3D experience depicted in the commercial, it gave audiences a strange red world made of weird lines that messed with your depth perception. Speaking of vision problems, woe to the Virtual Boy user who wore glasses. Good luck wearing that headset and your spectacles at the same time.

    469 votes
  • 2
    797 VOTES

    Easy-Bake Oven

    What Was Promised: A night of fun with your friends, with the possibility of making real-deal cakes and confections - provided what you wanted to eat was smaller than a human fist.

    What Was Delivered: First of all, the light bulb wasn’t even included with the oven, so you had to hope one of your friends kept a 30-watt bulb in their backpack. But even worse, the ovens didn't actually make beautiful pastries. The results tended to be puck-shaped cakes that didn't taste so good.

    797 votes
  • Shout 'n' Shoot
    Photo: Cap Toys Inc / Fair Use
    391 VOTES

    Shout 'n' Shoot

    What Was Promised: The Shout 'n' Shoot promised the most intense water fight any preteen could ever imagine. The commercial showed a voice-activated, multi-directional water headset that sprayed your opponents with nothing but a word.

    What Was Delivered: Aside from the fact that the Shout 'n' Shoot made its users look like idiots while they were wearing the contraption, the voice-activated soaker, while functional, ran out of water quickly.

    391 votes
  • The He-Man Power Sword
    Photo: Mattel / Fair Use
    343 VOTES

    The He-Man Power Sword

    What Was Promised: In the commercial for this tie-in to the Masters of the Universe cartoon, a child is gifted with a magical saber that lights up with “power” and makes the sound of metal on metal. He's then forced into battle against Skeletor.

    What Was Delivered: Buyers didn't receive a magical blade, but instead a bendable, plastic toy that required a lot of batteries.

    343 votes
  •  The Ricochet
    Photo: Tonka / Fair Use
    308 VOTES

    The Ricochet

    What Was Promised: The Ricochet sold in the TV ad was a four-wheeled RC car that flips and bounces all over the place. Users were supposedly able to drive it off small embankments - and the toy would keep rolling no matter the position in which it fell.

    What Was Delivered: Kids who drove this RC at breakneck speed discovered the car wasn't as unbreakable as it seemed. If you bought the car, you also had to buy a separate battery pack, and there was no guarantee the whole thing wouldn't smash into a million pieces.

    308 votes
  • Cool Tools
    Photo: Tonka / Fair Use
    292 VOTES

    Cool Tools

    What What Promised: In the Cool Tools commercial, a group of kids are given a set of miniature tools that look and feel just like the set Dad uses. The toy tools allow the kids to help out with home projects - just what every kid wants.

    What Was Delivered: In actuality, Cool Tools were just small facsimiles of actual tools. There wasn't much the "tools" could actually do. They could bonk stuff and mess with screws, but as far as accomplishing anything around the house, they were useless.

    292 votes