Mattel: The 15 Worst Toys They Made In The 90s (And The 15 Best)

When it comes to well-known toy brands there probably isn’t one that is more iconic then Mattel, a brand that has created everything from the Hot Wheels to the Barbie Doll. With every major company, there is always the narrative that you need to replicate your successes, and Mattel is just like every other major company that has had success and wanted to replicate that over and over again. During the nineties, the technology that is used in toys was just getting far enough that you could really enjoy yourself, and as such Mattel dumped a lot of money into many different toys, some of which failed. Still, the company has persevered and continued its successful run well into the current decade with the Hot Wheels and Barbie brands becoming more popular than ever.

But, there have also been successes for the company which is how Mattel has gone on to become one of the most popular selling toy makers in the world. Their portfolio of toys stretches far beyond the average realm of imagination, and the company has always managed to do something special for kids and adults alike. The nineties were a special time for the company as they had many hit products, and naturally, there were quite a few let downs during this period as well. We are going to be taking a look at some of the most notorious failures for the brand, and some of the toys that helped to define Mattel during the nineties boom period.

25 Worst: Aladdin TV Series Toy Figures

Via: Etsy

With the popularity of the Aladdin brand peaking during the mid-nineties, there was a rush to bring the brand to TV, and Disney did just that. So, another string of Aladdin toy figures was released in addition to the originals. These toys were also cheaply made and had no improvements over the originals, which was a let down considering just how popular the TV show and motion picture was at this time. Anyone who grew up around this time remembers how lackluster the toys were, and this was a letdown. (90s Junk)

24 Worst: Extreme Dinosaurs

Via: Bing

It would almost seem like Dinosaurs tend to go in and out of value during their time on the toy market, and the Extreme Dinosaurs brand is one of those notable flops. This brand is notable for having some pretty cool toys, which were quite innovative at the time. But, the quality of the toys was inferior like many of the Mattel products that were released around this time. The Extreme Dinosaurs will go on as one of the more well-known brands that suffered from poor quality toys. (List Challenges)

23 Best: Rocko's Modern Life

Via: Bing

Nickelodeon was hitting the balls out of the park with their cartoons during the nineties, many of which are still popular to this day including Spongebob. So naturally when one of their brands took off it was time to introduce a toy line and that's where Mattel came into the picture, with their Rocko’s Modern Life toy line. The toys were of very high quality and they were based on the TV show, which made them increasingly popular with consumers who were interested in buying toys that were based on the TV shows at the time. (List Challenges)

22 Worst: Aaahh!!! Real Monsters

Via: Bing

Nickelodeon had its fair share of hits during the nineties, and naturally with a hit TV show comes the matching toys to go with it. The Aaahh!!! Real Monsters toys that were sold by Mattel were actually quite lackluster, to say the least, with cheap materials and no real innovation they left kids at the time high and dry. Needless to say, Mattel has come a long way since this flop and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters has been returning to popularity in the wake of the retro trend becoming cool again for all the hipsters. (90s Junk)

21 Worst: American Girl

Via: List Challenges

Perhaps one of the most popular toys of the decade, the American Girl doll was a distant change from the ever-popular Barbie Doll. The American Girl dolls were immensely popular and remain a great seller for Mattel, but the dolls had their fair share of problems. The first of which was being a less than durable design, which made the dolls susceptible to quick wear and tear, and that's not a good thing when the prices for the toy are substantial. (List Challenges)

20 Best: Power Glove

Via: FantasyYIRMA

Probably one of the best but also the most forgotten Mattel toys of the nineties was the Power Glove, a one of a kind toy that really separated itself from the pack in terms of quality. The Power Glove was probably one of the more unique toys that have come along for quite some time, and most kids who grew up in the nineties will remember this unique looking you for sure. The Power Glove will definitely go down as one of the ten best for Mattel during the nineties, a period where the brand was hitting quite a few home runs. (List Challenges)

19 Worst: Beauty And The Beast Toy Figures

Via: List Challenges

Disney was cranking out plenty of popular kids movies during the nineties, and it should be of no surprise that the toys were equally popular sellers during this time. Mattel was responsible for bringing most of these cartoon characters to life, and Beauty And The Beast were another one of the popular brands. Unfortunately, we think that Mattel could have done better by bringing these toys to a higher level of quality. The Beauty And The Beast toys of the nineties can still be found online, although many of them are worthless. (List Challenges)

18 Worst: Batman

Via: List Challenges

The nineties was a time when many brands made a resurgence, and Batman was one brand that started to gain momentum with a whole new audience. The Batman toys that Mattel made during the nineties ranged from the Batman Forever TV Cartoon all the way up to Batman-themed Hot Wheels cars. We think that the Batman toys of this era could have been made of higher quality materials, which seemed to be a problem with many toys that were coming out of Mattel during this time period. (List Challenges)

17 Best: Pocahontas Barbie-Type Doll

Via: Bing

One of the more innovative movies of the nineties was Pocahontas, which was a flick that really set the bar high for Disney at the time. The movie introduced a whole new series of love and affection that hadn’t been seen in a Disney movie prior to this, and the movie remains a popular flick to this day. The toys, on the other hand, were also quite well received, and because they were a clone of the ever-popular Barbie Doll there were some resemblances there, to say the least. (List Challenges)

16 Worst: Cabbage Patch Kids

Via: Bing

There is probably no denying the force that was the Cabbage Patch Kids, especially during the early nineties. The Cabbage Patch Kids were a doll that took off like wildfire, and they were popular with little girls and boys. The basic design of the doll was lackluster at best though, and there could have definitely been more effort put into the quality. With a higher price point than most, the Cabbage Patch Kids begin to wear pretty early on and this was a drawback to these toys. (List Challenges)

15 Worst: CatDog

Via: Bing

The latter part of the decade was a great one for new cartoons, as there was the birth of many new popular shows that are still on today after all this time. From Spongebob to CatDog, there were quite a few cartoons that we all remember and love. The CatDog toys that came from Mattel were sold as stand-alone units and also Happy Meal toys for quite some time, and they were cheaply made, to say the least. As with most of the plastic toys that came out of this generation most of the early CatDog toys haven't survived the past few decades, and finding them can be tough. (List Challenges)

14 Best: Mighty Ducks

Via: Bing

When it comes to cult classics the Mighty Ducks are about as classic as they come, and the movie was among the most popular Disney flicks of the nineties by far. What made this movie so cool? Well, seeing Donald Duck on ice for one thing. The toys that followed were sold in a variety of formats including happy meal toys and the usual action figures that you are used to seeing on toy store shelves. There were also a series of video games as well, which made the movie even more popular at the time. (List Challenges)

13 Worst: Casper The Friendly Ghost

Via: Bing

I’m sure that everyone remembers Casper at some point in their childhood, especially if you grew up in the nineties. The Casper the Friendly Ghost toys that were sold during the nineties were part of the massive wave of popularity that the childhood movie series experienced, but they were also cheaply made and tended to fade very often. No one wanted to play with a Casper toy that had no eyes right? And this seemed to be a common problem with most of the nineties toys that were coming out of Mattel. (List Challenges)

12 Worst: Computer Warriors

Via: Bing

Interestingly enough with the computer revolution on the horizon, Mattel was quick to jump on the bandwagon, and the Computer Warriors were another batch of very successfully selling toys for the company. The line of toys was only made from 1989 to 1990 and was quite popular during its run and there was also an accompanying TV show. The Computer Warriors line of toys was probably not the most unique to come out of Mattel, and with the quality being lackluster the line only lasted for a single year. (List Challenges)

11 Best: Magic 8 Ball

Via: Bing

Who can forget about the Magic 8 Ball? A toy that has been around since just about the dawn of time. This one of a kind toy grew in popularity during the nineties, and the toy has remained on store shelves since then as a one of a kind seller. We like everything about the Magic 8 Ball, and the toy will remain one of the best sellers for Mattel because of its timeless design that has made for a one of a kind product. There is no doubt that the Magic 8 Ball is one of the ten best toys to come out of Mattel. (List Challenges)

10 Worst: Dinosaur (Toys Based On Dinosaur)

Via: Bing

Disney was on an animation kick during the nineties, and especially after the success of The Lion King. The movie Dinosaur was a step in another direction for the powerhouse company, and naturally, there were going to be toys to follow. The Dinosaur toys were, in fact, based off of the movie, but their quality was lackluster as with most of the Disney toys that had followed and this was a downfall for the brand. Still, Dinosaur was an immensely popular movie, to say the least. (List Challenges)

9 Best: The Lion King

Via: Bing

Perhaps the biggest hit of all for Disney and Mattel during the nineties was The Lion King, a movie that simply broke new ground for what an animated movie should be. The Lion King had a series of toys which were all unique, to say the least, and the brand has remained a strong seller to this day with many renditions of the original movie making their way to the big screen. The Lion King toys of the nineties were made of higher quality products, and they were innovative which made more kids want them. (List Challenges)

8 Worst: Diva Starz

Via: Bing

Although the Hot Wheels brand in itself is a monster steller for the Mattel brand, girls toys have long been the bread and butter for the company. With the release of the Diva Starz dolls series, the brand was hoping to capitalize on a younger Barbie doll market. The Diva Starz were pretty unique, to say the least, and the dolls offered a cool looking toy that was different but the traditional Barbie doll that we have all grown up seeing. But, in the long term, the brand just never caught on in the same way. (List Challenges)

7 Best: Hercules Toy Figures

Via: Worthpoint

Not to be left out, the Hercules movie was another staggering success for Disney during the nineties in their string of popular animated movies. On top of being a box office success, the movie was also a major player for Mattel, and the toys that followed were high quality and went across a broad spectrum including happy meal toys and electronics. This was definitely one of the crowning jewels for the Mattel brand, and the Hercules movie is still one of the most popular Disney movies to this day. (List Challenges)

6 Worst: Aladdin Film Toy Figures

Via: Bonanza

Disney movies were all the rage during the nineties, so it should come as no surprise that the brand was having a successful run with these Aladdin toy figures. The Mattel Aladdin toys were sold in stores as well as McDonald's Happy Meals alike, and this successful run of toys went along with the theatrical release during the nineties. Still, Mattel could have done better with this line of toys and they know it. And, if you were a kid that grew up during the nineties with these action figures you already know how cheap they were. (90s Junk)

5  Best: Fisher-Price

Via: Etsy

Perhaps there has not been a more well-known brand for young children then Fisher-Price ever, and that has come from a long portfolio of interesting products. When you think of children's toys generally the first brand that comes to mind is Fisher-Price, and this is because the brand has been a fixture in the children's toy market for a long time. With that being said, the company is also branching out into the app market as well, which has become quite popular with school-aged children. (List Challenges)

4 Worst: Construx

Via: Bing

Building toys are some of the most memorable for us growing up, from Legos to Tinker Toys there have been quite a few different brands to make their way across playrooms. During the late eighties, Mattel had released a brand that was called Construx, and these building toys were quite popular for some time up until 1997 when the brand was dissolved. Still, with a little more innovation Construx could have been more popular than Lego’s and we might have still had the brand around today. (List Challenges)

3 Best: Hot Wheels

Via: Bing

There is no denying the broad appeal that the Hot Wheels brand has managed to find over the last sixty years, and this is part of the reason that Mattel has become such a powerful toy maker. There is perhaps not a brand that is as well known as the Hot Wheels brand when it comes to toy cars, and many parents are quite familiar with this brand and everything that it has to offer. We like the Hot Wheels brand, and during the nineties, the toys really hit their stride for being unique. (List Challenges)

2 Worst: Doug (1998 To 2000)

Via: Bing

Nickelodeon was on fire during the start of the nineties, and their brands have continued to grow ever since. One brand that many of us probably forgot was Doug, a children's cartoon that featured a young boy who would write in his journal about anything. The show proved to be so popular that Mattel actually released a series of toys that were based on the series, and although the toys were never really popular some of them can still be found online and have managed to go up in value. (List Challenges)

1 Best: The Hunchback Of Notre Dame Toy Figures

Via: Bing

The nineties were a great time to be a Disney kid, and there were plenty of cool movies that were hitting the big screen. When it comes to one of the most memorable it was definitely The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a movie that has transcended the big screen and gone on to be one of the best selling brands for Disney. The toys that followed the movie were some of the highest quality toys to hit the screen, and for the most part, the toys truly did resemble the movies which were a big accomplishment. (List Challenges)

More in Toys