’90s Toy Commercials That Taught Us To Be Men

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The older you get, the more practical your Christmas gifts become. Instead of a remote control car, which has no real purpose and terrible battery life, you now ask for a new cell phone. (Way more purposes, even worse battery life.)

But a fancy coffeemaker or tablet computer won’t teach you any life lessons, whereas your childhood toys prepared you for adult society. In fact, here are five toy commercials that made you into the man you are today…

1. Crossfire

In a futuristic dystopia, two children are forced to play a game of Crossfire. The winner receives social acceptance; the loser spirals off into nothingness. Welcome to corporate America, worker drone. So put on your best leather jacket (or three-piece suit), face your job interview head-on and shout, “Yeah! Yeah!?”

2. Vortex Mega Flight

The bulls**t record set in this commercial clearly prepared us for the era of performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports. Technically, Mark McGuire did beat Roger Maris’ home run record. But if McGuire was using PEDs, should it really count? Sometimes our heroes aren’t who we think they are. By the time we found out about Lance Armstrong, were we shocked? Hardly. Why? The Vortex Mega Flight.

3. Matchbox Car Wash

As the years pass, life feels more routine, more like a chore. You forget to enjoy the simple things. Even tasks such as getting your car washed can be fun as hell, if you have the right attitude. REAL JETS OF WATER! The world is endlessly exciting.

4. Power Wheels

“Someone’s gotta drive! Someone’s got a phone!” The National Safety Council estimates that 1 million car crashes occur annually due to cell phone use. Thanks to this toy, you know that driving an automobile and talking on a phone is a two-man operation.

5. Nerf

“You’re either at one end of a Nerf gun. Or the other.” As a kid, you had to worry about bullies. As an adult, you have to worry about home intruders. (The implication, of course, being that every man should learn how to take down a burglar with a Nerf arrow.)

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