Water Games from the '80s

Written by michael elkins
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Water Games from the '80s
Water wars ravaged the '80s suburban landscape. (George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The 1980s were a fun time for water games. You could pack up your portable water games for a trip to grandma's house, or unfurl the slip and slide for a slippery romp through your yard on a hot day. Reminisce about those glorious '80s water games; or, learn what your parents played when they were kids, and wonder how they survived some of the water games of the '80s.

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Tomy Water Games

Tomy water games were one of the original handheld games, popular in the late 1970s and '80s. You filled them with water and then pressed a button on the face of the game that shot streams of air into the water. These air jets moved plastic pieces into baskets or onto pegs. These non-electronic compact toys could go anywhere and were staples for long car trips.

Slip 'n' Slide

This toy, consisting of a yellow tarpaulin and water, was popular in the '80s and early '90s. You rolled the yellow tarp across your lawn and then turned the hose onto it. Run and jump face-first onto the tarp and slide across the lawn. A Wham-O toy, Slip 'n' Slides lost popularity in part because of injuries attributed to them, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which cited reports of paralysis or severe head and neck injuries to seven adults and one teenager.

Water Weenie

The water weenie was a long rubber tube that you filled with water. You then could control the release of the water through a nipple on the tip of the weenie. These toys were great for backyard water fights, but they could be overfilled, causing the tube to burst, which sometimes resulted in injuries. Later adaptations include a cloth cover over the rubber tube, helping to prevent overfilling and protect the user from harm should the tube break.

Super Soaker

Dreamed up in 1982 by nuclear engineer Lonnie Johnson, who was then working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, the Super Soaker high-power water pistol revolutionised the way childhood water wars were waged. The Super Soaker relied on air pressure created by the user instead of on a battery. Johnson licensed the Super Soaker and a few other toys to Entertech in 1987 after presenting successful prototypes to the company. Entertech produced a water-powered jet of Johnson's design, but folded before producing the Super Soaker. Larami, another water pistol manufacturer, picked up the idea in 1989. The Super Soaker went into production and was released onto the market in 1990.

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