Remember the ’90s when Pogs took the world of children’s games by storm? (See if you can remember classic 90’s toys with this quiz!) These small, collectible cardboard discs became a huge phenomenon and captured the attention of kids and adults alike. Along with their distinctive designs and collectible nature, Pogs offered a simple yet engaging game to play with friends, wherein players would use heavier “slammer” objects to flip and win the opposing player’s Pogs.
The game of Pogs traces its origin to the centuries-old Japanese card game called menko, wherein one player would lay a card on a hard surface and another player would attempt to flip that card with their own. If successful, the player would keep both cards and the winner would be determined by who collected the most cards. Pogs took this concept and adapted it, using circular cardboard milk caps and a variety of fun designs from popular culture, giving birth to a global phenomenon.
As the craze grew, Pogs evolved from a simple children’s game into a valuable collectible, with rare Pogs and slammers fetching thousands of dollars on online marketplaces. While their popularity has waned since the ’90s, Pogs hold a special place in the hearts of those who grew up playing and collecting them. The nostalgia associated with Pogs makes them an enduring symbol of ’90s pop culture.
- Pogs were a popular collectible game in the ’90s, played using circular cardboard discs and heavy “slammer” objects.
- The game was inspired by the Japanese card game menko and evolved into a global phenomenon, featuring designs from pop culture.
- Pogs transitioned from a simple game to valuable collectibles, with rare designs fetching high prices in online marketplaces.
History and Origin
Menko: The Japanese Influence
Menko, a Japanese card game that dates back to the Edo period, is considered one of the earliest influences on Pogs. Played similarly to Pogs, Menko involves players attempting to flip over their opponents’ cards. This game made its way to Hawaii in the 1800s, where it eventually evolved into the Pog game you know today.
Blossom Galbiso and the Pog Revival
In the 1920s and 1930s, Hawaii’s plantations saw a popular trading game with milk caps that resembled the Menko game. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s when Pogs gained widespread popularity thanks to a teacher named Blossom Galbiso. She introduced the game to her students at Waialua Elementary School as a way to encourage them to engage in a non-electronic form of play during recess.
Haleakala Dairy and the Pog Brand
The name “Pog” itself comes from a Hawaiian juice brand, Passion Orange Guava (POG). Haleakala Dairy, the company behind POG juice, used milk caps as a promotional item for their product. These milk caps featured the signature POG logo and eventually became a collectible phenomenon of their own. The popularity of Pogs quickly spread across the United States and beyond, reminding people of the simple joy in flipping and collecting colorful discs.
Pogs and Pop Culture
Pogman and Branding
In the early 1990s, Pogs gained popularity as a collectible game featuring cardboard bottle caps with various images and characters. The World POG Federation (WPF) played a significant role in popularizing the game with its official mascot, Pogman, and numerous branding initiatives. Alan Rypinski helped the game spread to all corners of the U.S. by securing diverse licensing agreements with businesses such as fast-food companies, movie studios, and retailers1.
Pogs in McDonald’s
One of these branding partnerships was with McDonald’s, which expanded Pogs’ reach and helped cement their status as a pop culture phenomenon. These branded Pogs often featured imagery from popular culture, such as cartoon characters, sports teams, and musicians2. This collaboration contributed to the game’s appeal to a wider audience and further popularized the craze.
Jurassic Park and The Simpsons
Two notable examples of branded Pogs include the Jurassic Park Pog set and The Simpsons. Jurassic Park Pogs showcased imagery from the blockbuster movie, capitalizing on the film’s success and adding a new dimension to the nostalgic gameplay experience. The Simpsons’ Pogs tapped into the popular TV show’s fanbase, creating another avenue for fans to engage with their favorite characters. These branded Pogs not only contributed to the game’s popularity but also helped Pogs leave a lasting impact on pop culture during the 1990s3.
By integrating pop culture icons and characters into their designs, Pogs transcended their simplistic gameplay and became a symbol of the 1990s era. Collaborations with well-known brands further established Pogs as a collectible craze and a beloved pastime.
The Pogs Gameplay
Pogs is a simple yet entertaining game that gained popularity during the ’90s. The main objective is to win your opponent’s Pogs by flipping them over with your Slammer. To start, you and other players should gather some Pogs and choose a flat surface for playing. Each player selects an equal number of Pogs, stacking them face down. You’ll take turns throwing your Slammer onto the stack, aiming to flip as many Pogs as possible.
When it’s your turn, hold your Slammer between your thumb and middle finger, and then swiftly strike the stack. The Pogs that flip face up are yours to keep. The game continues until there are no more Pogs left in the stack or all players agree to end the game.
Use of Metal and Plastic Slammers
Slammers play a crucial role in Pogs, as they are the tool used to flip the opponent’s Pogs. Slammers come in different materials, such as metal and plastic. Both types have their pros and cons, so it’s essential to select the one that fits your playing style.
Metal Slammers are heavier and generally more effective at flipping Pogs due to their weight and density. However, some players find them more challenging to control, as they can easily overshoot the target or cause damage to the playing surface. On the other hand, plastic Slammers are lighter and easier to maneuver. As they are less likely to cause damage, they are ideal for beginners or those who prefer a more delicate approach to the game.
It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with both metal and plastic Slammers to determine which one suits you best as you develop your Pogs gameplay skills.
Collecting and Valuing Pogs
Collecting Pogs is a nostalgic hobby for many who grew up in the ’90s. In today’s world, you can still find numerous enthusiasts dedicated to preserving and expanding their Pog collections. When starting or enhancing your Pog collection, it’s essential to focus on the ones that catch your interest, whether it be specific designs, themes, or promotional sets. While newer versions of Pogs may not hold the same nostalgic value, they can still be a fun addition to your collection.
Valuing and Rarity
The value of a Pog depends on various factors such as design, rarity, and condition. As with any collectible, the rarer a Pog is, the higher its value will be. Some valuable Pogs include factory errors, limited edition promotional items, Stussy Pogs, and The Simpsons Pog set. To protect and maintain your Pogs’ worth, ensure they are preserved appropriately, ideally in plastic sleeves or storage containers specifically designed for Pogs.
As you build your collection, it is helpful to research specific Pogs and their value to ensure you are making informed decisions. Websites dedicated to Pog collecting, trading forums, and auction sites can provide valuable information and insights on rarity and pricing.
Finding Pogs on eBay
eBay is a popular platform for buying, selling, and trading Pogs. The auction-style format provides an opportunity to find unique and valuable Pogs at different price points. Be cautious when purchasing Pogs online; check the item’s description, images, and seller’s rating before placing a bid. As with any online platform, scammers may attempt to take advantage of collectors, so it’s essential to remain vigilant and conduct thorough research.
In conclusion, collecting and valuing Pogs can be an enjoyable and rewarding activity. By keeping the above-mentioned tips in mind, you will be well on your way to building a cherished and valuable Pog collection.
Pogs: From Fad to Controversy
Banned and Gambling Allegations
In the early ’90s, Pogs became a cultural phenomenon, captivating children and adults alike. These small, colorful cardboard discs quickly gained popularity as both collectibles and game pieces. However, controversy soon followed, with some schools and institutions banning the use of Pogs due to concerns about gambling.
The game itself, which has its origins in the Japanese game of Menko, required players to stack their Pogs and take turns throwing a heavier “slammer” at the stack. The goal was to flip over as many Pogs as possible so that you could add them to your collection. This competitive aspect of the game led to accusations of gambling, especially when players chose to play “for keeps,” meaning the winner would permanently keep the Pogs they flipped over.
As a result, many schools in the United States decided to ban Pogs out of concern that the game was encouraging gambling behavior among young children. Instances of lost or stolen Pogs sparked disputes, and educators worried that the game was becoming a distraction in the classroom.
Despite these controversies, Pogs continued to be wildly popular for a time. Their downfall came as the fad eventually faded, replaced by new trends and interests. Nonetheless, the impact Pogs made in the ’90s cannot be denied – they remain a fond memory for many who grew up during that era.
Remember, it’s essential to approach subjects like this with a clear and neutral perspective. It’s also important to avoid making exaggerated or false claims. By considering multiple viewpoints and presenting your information confidently, you ensure that your readers receive a thorough and accurate understanding of this nostalgic topic.
Frequently Asked Questions
When were Pogs popular?
Pogs were most popular during the 1990s, especially in the early to mid-90s. Originally used as a game in Hawaii, they gained widespread popularity in the United States and eventually around the globe.
How to play Pogs and Slammers?
To play Pogs, you’ll need a collection of Pogs and a slammer. First, players stack their Pogs face-down in a single pile. Then, each player takes a turn using their slammer to strike the stack, attempting to flip as many Pogs face-up as possible. The player collects any Pogs that are flipped face-up during their turn. The game continues until all Pogs have been played, and the player with the most Pogs at the end wins.
What is the value of Pogs and Slammers?
The value of Pogs and slammers can vary greatly depending on factors such as rarity, condition, and popularity. Some rare or limited edition Pogs and slammers can fetch a higher value in collector markets. However, most Pogs and slammers from the 90s are not considered highly valuable.
Why were Pogs banned?
Pogs were banned in some schools during their peak popularity, primarily due to concerns that the game encouraged gambling-like behavior among students. Additionally, some schools viewed the game as a distraction from the main focus of education.
Are Pogs worth any money?
While most Pogs are not worth a significant amount of money, certain rare or limited edition Pogs can be valuable to collectors. However, the vast majority of Pogs from the 90s have minimal value today.
Are Pogs still in circulation?
Pogs are no longer widely in circulation, as their popularity has significantly waned since the 90s. However, there may be some niche markets or collectors who continue to trade and collect Pogs.