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.
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.Did this awesome ad sell a vicious lie?
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.Did this awesome ad sell a vicious lie?
- Photo: Cap Toys Inc / Fair Use3
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.Did this awesome ad sell a vicious lie?
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.Did this awesome ad sell a vicious lie?