First Weekend of Flea Market Finds

It’s getting warm outside, which means it’s flea market and yard sale season again. So it’s time to do another installment of flea market finds.

First up is that Bombs Away handheld LCD game by Tiger Electronics, released in 1998. Except pardon me, it’s a high-resolution dot-matrix graphics game, not LCD. Only in the 1990s would the words dot-matrix mean something technologically impressive. The packaging also brags of “digitized 2-channel duophonic” sound. 8-bit fake stereo, people. Only in the 1990s. To think, I only paid two dollars for this amazing artifact.

Tiger was a very prolific toy company in the 1980s and 90s. They unleashed hundreds of these evil handheld games onto unsuspecting elderly relatives to buy for children who really wanted a Game Boy. Still, I have a lot of nostalgia for these games. Whenever I see kids at the grocery store or waiting in line somewhere, they’re always fixated on their little 3D-screened Nintendo DS consoles. Tiger games were our equivalent of that. Only we weren’t having fun playing them. We were actually living the worst moment of our lives. LCD games were frustrating, repetitious, button-mashing madness. We would have never played them while blankly following behind our parents in the grocery store. You know why? Because the grocery store was better. The grocery store was awesome. It had carts to ride on like scooters, freezer frost to trace pictures in, magazines to look through, and candy bars to beg for. I don’t know what is wrong with kids today.

Now here is an example of true old-school Ninja Turtles goodness, which I scored for two dollars. I love the design and shape, the round belly, the rounded-nubs for feet and hands. Unlike kids today who have soft plush Turtles to cuddle with, we had these hard, styrofoam-and-shredded-paper-filled Turtles. I’m not kidding. Shredded-paper is the first filling listed on the tag. And this was actually a licensed toy.

These guys are hard to find in nice condition because they were made with the cheapest-possible materials. It’s like they couldn’t afford even an extra half-inch of fabric for the bandanna, which for every single one of these dolls, just barely fits around the head. Each one of the stitches looks ready to pop and vomit shredded paper and polystyrene balls everywhere, but trust me, it seemed that way twenty years ago, too.

Nintendo games! For $2.50 a piece, I got Roger Rabbit and Dick Tracy in the boxes with all the original pieces inside. These games are infamously bad. In fact, of all the games I played as a kid, most of which are a blur, I still remember the regret I felt one Saturday morning after choosing to rent the Roger Rabbit game at Russ’ Video. I can’t even talk about it. The answer to “Can You Solve The Mystery” is no. I can’t even figure out how to get past the first level.

It’s interesting that I found these games together, because they’re pretty similar in gameplay as the detective going around collecting clues. Both games have parts where you drive around on a map to get to buildings, where the game then becomes a side-scroller. Also, am I the only who used to think Bob Hoskins and Warren Beatty were the same person? And if they weren’t the same person, they should have been?

These are squirt-toys made for Hardee’s. There are actually two sets of these, and the original food squirters came out in 1990. But these are the rad neon versions that came out in 1993. This is the complete set which I picked out for a quarter a piece. The french fries with sunglasses is obviously the best, but I have a soft spot for the hot dog.

These are a really great example of when fast food premiums used to be awesome. I read an article recently about children’s declining interest in Happy Meal and other fast food toys. There were a number of possible reasons given, including prices of the meals, the economy, kids’ interests in technological gadgets, and something about healthy choices. Blah blah blah. The reason is because the toys suck now. Plastic bag hand-puppets would be more fun than the unimaginative toys kids get today. Also, the separating of boy and girl toys now at McDonald’s is appalling. McDonald’s used to just turn kids into fat little butter beans, but now it socializes them into narrow gender roles, too.

And what’s up with the milkshakes these days at McDonald’s? They got this bargain-basement Maury Povich makeover, and now they come in a plastic cup with weird-tasting whipped cream and a cherry.

Here are some other loose things I picked up for a dollar a piece. First there’s a Ninja Turtle figure, one that transforms between the human form and mutated form of Rocksteady. It’s one of my favorite finds. Then on the right is a Masters of the Universe figure, Mekaneck. I’m convinced I’m the one who brings vintage MOTU figures home to die. I always find these figures so fragile and so deteriorated on the inside. He’s about three or four more handlings from a leg falling off.

Here are a few more randoms that were between fifty cents and a dollar a piece. I picked up another piece for my Pez collection — this guy is known amongst Pez collectiors as the “fat-earred bunny” or the “FEB.” Oh Pez weirdos and their funny language. Then there’s the Mario Ball, which I thought was a 1990s Madball-type ball, but it’s actually a 2000s-era Wendy’s fast food toy. No matter, it’s still awesome. Finally I found a dinosaur. “You love a good dinosaur,” was the wife’s response, which is true. I do love a good dinosaur, and this one is perfectly good.

So that’s one weekend for me so far. Total spending: Thirteen bucks.

14 thoughts on “First Weekend of Flea Market Finds

  1. I hear ya about the McD’s milkshakes. I found a Shamrock shake last month and the naive little girl tried to put that shit on it. I was offended that she even tried–you don’t mess with perfection. I have a vague memory of renting Dick Tracy and almost hating it more than NFL Football (my vote for the worst NES game of all time).

  2. Damn, apparently I’m in the minority for loving Dick Tracy. I can remember finishing it back in the day, and then again when I downloaded an emulator in college. I never played Roger Rabbit; which makes me a bit sad now…

  3. Great scores! I have a soft spot for WFRR?, and it’s much better than Dick Tracy. I traded my copy of Dick Tracy, along with Metal Gear, for a complete boxed copy of The Legend of Zelda(gray cart, Classic Series”). Still, $5 for two complete NES games is a steal.

    At first I thought the Mario ball was from a McDonald’s promotion about 5 years ago(I have almost 2 complete sets of the toys). Now I have a new series to chase.

    I can’t seem to find that Ultima NES game, but I’m still willing to trade another game. My copy of Ultima Exodus is complete, so I won’t trade that. I’ll look further for my exrtra copy, and if I can’t find it, I’ll e-mail you a list of games I’d be willing to trade and we can go from there.

  4. oh wow, i found that very same dinosaur in a backpack full of old toys from a storge unit… i decided to display him on a bookshelf holding a miniature ‘Heidi’ book…i like to imagine that the face he is making is in outrage of when Clara goes tumbling down the mountain…

  5. Pretty sure I used to have one of those dinosaurs (and may still do, in my parents’ garage). It came with a plastic bag of cheap candy stuffed into the mouth. Whether this was a “thing” or simply a bright idea from the store, I couldn’t say.

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