Sunday, May 22, 2011


Pogs was (were?) a flash-in-the-pan craze on my elementary school playground that inexplicably took the world by storm in 1994. Originally played in Hawaii with milk caps (in 1927), the game involves stacking up cardboard discs with pictures on them and hitting them with a plastic disc called a "slammer." All the caps that landed face up were added to the player's score, either to be kept or to keep track of the winner of the game. Usually, the people on my playground played for keeps.

Sonic The Hedgehog pogs

These little tokens were mostly collectibles, and they could feature pictures of anything - Taz, The Tick, Animaniacs, or Cadbury Creme Eggs. Anything we liked had a pog version. Aside from collecting them, there was nothing else you could do with them except play the game, which was not very fun. There were a lot of arguments about how to hit the stack because the rules were poorly defined, and most of the time, the stack was simply knocked over with nothing flipping. Often the disputes over the rules led to fights.

I may have only played Pogs for a little while, but I can still remember my favorite slammer. I liked the slammers better than the pogs, because they were shiny and had simpler, bolder designs. I had a purple slammer that depicted an atomic bomb on it. It came with the first pack of pogs I got.


The teachers and the aides - the playground police -  hated it, and it was ultimately banned in many schools - possibly in mine. Part of the reason it could have been banned was that it was a form of gambling.

Another pog-related memory I have is of receiving some pogs for Easter one year. Instead of a plastic slammer, they came with a spiky metal slammer - which was much heavier and therefore able to flip more pogs. My memory is hazy, but I think the other kids viewed this as cheating and didn't let me play using that one. As far as I know now, that was a legal slammer.

Around that time, the whole Pog thing had just about run its course, as every kid in America (and around the world) realized that Pogs were boring. Like Beanie Babies, Tickle Me Elmo, and Furby, the mindless fad vanished.

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