Argos catalogues are a thing of beauty.
Just look at the cover of the 1991 catalogue. It’s like a magical time capsule full of reasonably priced goods.
That’s why Michael Hay, the creator of vintage siteRetromash, decided to scan and upload his whole collection.
Yep. That’s the first ever Argos catalogue. You can view the contents here.
Hay told us why he collected the catalogues:
“For me, one of the big parts of Christmas was flicking through the Argos catalogue to try to decide which toys and games I wanted. Looking at them now is like stepping into a time machine to relive moments of our childhood.
“They’re also a cultural snapshot that reminds us of how we used to play in a time right at the beginning of electronic gaming and before iPhones, YouTube, and on-demand TV.”
So here goes. Are you ready to travel back in time?
Prepare to rediscover toys you forgot you ever owned, not to mention terrible duvet covers and questionable jewellery.
1. Scalextric AFX Vertigo Set, 1999
The Scalextric Vertigo set was the very finest thing. Loop-the-loops, walls of death, banked turns…it was incredible. Also, if you got bored you could entertain yourself by launching the cars off the track into your friend’s face.
Here’s the Scalextric Vertigo set in action.
2. Animal Hospital play set, 1999
In hindsight it seems a bit strange to make a reality TV show into a child’s toy. Thank goodness they didn’t include a Rolf Harris action figure.
3. Game Boy Camera, 1999
This was the only way to take a selfie back in ‘99. As there was no Instagram back then, your only option was to wander the streets showing the image to strangers.
4. Virtual pets, 1999
We all remember Tamagotchis, but what about the less well-known Babe virtual pig and the A Bug’s Life giga pet? They deserve your nostalgia-love too.
5. Kids’ chairs, 1999
Tired after an exciting day playing with your giga pets, Scalextric set and Animal Hospital toys? Why not have a nice relaxing sit down on this giant banana-thing?
6. Office software and games, 1999
Before Wikipedia, there was Microsoft Encarta 99. But wait – what’s that – it’s £49.50? Maybe we should donate to Wikipedia after all.
7. Tyco Rebound 4×4, 1999
The Rebound was the best remote-controlled toy of the 1990s. You could run it into walls, spin it on end, bounce it over rocks and it would keep going, making it almost – but not quite – worth the whopping £75 price tag.
8. Disney Tiny Collection, 1999
Our last entry from 1999 is Disney’s choking hazard collection. The tiny pieces were easy to lose, meaning complete sets are rarer than hen’s teeth these days.
9. Take That dolls, 1995
Bet you didn’t know Tony Blair used to be in Take That.
10. Sega Megadrive and games, 1995
Back in 1995, Doom cost £49.99. These days, you can play it online for free. Thanks, the internet.
11. Handheld games, 1995
If you couldn’t afford an £88 Sega Megadrive you could always turn to handheld LCD games instead. Golf Master 2 looks particularly exciting.
12. Apple Macintosh Powerbook 150, 1995
A snip at just £1175.00.
13. Ryan Giggs SunBall, 1995
The SunBall was attached to a pair of sunglasses so you could practice headers while looking super cool. It was voted “best way to break your nose” in 1996.
14. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, 1995
Power Rangers: The Movie came out in 1995, so it was a big year for the brightly coloured space ninjas. Approximately 1.7 billion children owned the lunchbox in the bottom right-hand corner.
15. Kids’ jewellery, 1995
It’s your BFF’s birthday, but what do you get her? Why, some bumblebee stud earrings and a dummy necklace, of course.
16. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, 1995
What on earth is going on with Donatello’s eyes in the Pizza Tossin’ play set?
Seriously, Donatello. What have you seen?
Are you OK, Donatello?
17. Biker Mice From Mars toys, 1995
BMFM is – without a doubt – the best cartoon about a race of alien, anthropomorphic, motorsport-loving mice ever made.
18. Playhouses, 1991
In 1991, you could tell how much money your friends’ parents were making based on the quality of their playhouse. If it was a £225 Little Tikes cottage, they were minted.
19. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves playset, 1991
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was quite an adult film. There were torture scenes, murders, and an attempted rape, so it makes perfect sense to turn it into a series of kids’ toys.
Although they were pretty cool, to be fair.
Take that, Sheriff of Nottingham doll that looks nothing like Alan Rickman!
20. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles Disk-O Hopper, 1991
Despite the fact that no one could actually use those planet-shaped bouncing toys, everyone owned at least one. They must have had a great PR company.
21. Watch with interchangeable bezel rings, 1991
Interchangeable watches seemed like a great idea…until you lost all the multicoloured “bezel rings” about five seconds after buying one.
22. Nintendo Entertainment System, 1991
The NES was – without a doubt – the very best console of all time. Anyone who says otherwise is WRONG and a LIAR. I.D.S.T.
23. Simpsons and WCW toys, 1991
This page really does highlight just how old The Simpsons is. Also, that Bartman costume is the stuff of nightmares.
24. Fantasy board games, 1991
HeroQuest was a dressed-up, more accessible version of Dungeons & Dragons you didn’t have to be a bona fide geek to enjoy. It was amazing.
25. Count Duckula, ALF, and Gordon the Gopher, 1989
If you were alive in the ’80s, you probably owned at least four of these toys. You definitely owned Gordon the Gopher. Everyone did.
26. Jem toys, 1986
Jem was the most ’80s toy of all time. She was also truly outrageous.
Truly, truly, truly outrageous.
27. Keypers, 1989
Keypers allowed you to lock your possessions inside a pastel-coloured snail or horse that could withstand 0.01% of your brother’s attempts to break into it.
28. ThunderCats toys, 1986
29. My Little Pony toys, 1986
Sadly, Hasbro forgot to make a groom pony to accompany Wedding Bells down the aisle. She was basically an equine Miss Havisham.
30. Portable cassette players, 1985
There were a wide range of portable cassette players available in the 1980s – including one that looked like a washing machine, apparently – but if you didn’t have an official Sony Walkman you were basically an outcast.
31. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe toys, 1985
Castle Greyskull was the must have toy of the 1980s, which is why there were always about a hundred of them at every car boot sale you visited in the 1990s.
32. Return of the Jedi and The A Team toys, 1985
Note the bonus He-Man stuff in the bottom left hand corner. There’s He-Manmerchandise on almost every page of the 1985 catalogue, including the power tools, jewellery, and gardening sections.
33. Childrens’ bedding, 1985
Last but not least, we have this spectacular – and incredibly ’80s – selection of kids’ bedding. Now we finally know where Father Dougal got his He-Man duvet set from.
Sourced from Buzzfeed.com