The Golden Age of Radio Shack: Five Awesome Toys!

March 1, 2021 10:26 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

For those of us who were children in Woodward, OK in the 1980s and 1990s, the golden age of Radio Shack meant one thing: toys! While the chain also offered the first personal computers and new developments in cellular technology, many of us reflect most fondly on handheld games and computer camp days. Take a trip through the ‘80s and ‘90s Radio Shack nostalgia and learn about these five wonderful toys.

  • Armatron: AI was mere science fiction, but you could play with a real robot arm! The Armatron was a favorite among nerd kids in the ‘80s. Using a joystick, you could maneuver the arm and pick up objects and place them into box holders or other spots. It was limited to moving light objects, and it ran on the low power of two D batteries, but it also created some fun memories and a strong interest in STEM fields.
  • Handheld games: Before the Game Boy and iPhone Touch, there were Radio Shack’s handheld games. They started selling them in the 1960s and continued offering them into the 2010s. The first was Black Jack, which was an electromechanical game that allowed you to play cards. Later, they released LCD games. A favorite was Space Alien, which felt like a tabletop arcade. Most of these games featured space themes because these were quite cool and futuristic. We considered them the optimal gaming technology for the time!
  • Walkie talkies: The Space Patrol Headset Two-Way Radio included handheld walkie-talkies or headset units that came with a single-ear headphone with a microphone. We all asked for them for the holidays, only to discover the limited range did not extend to our best friend’s house. But we still played with them and deafened our friends with the loud Morse Code button. The more scholarly among us learned Morse Code to use that button more productively.
  • Science Fair 30-in-one: This kit featured a circuit board, various electric parts and wires. You could use the circuit board and parts to create rudimentary devices like beepers, radios and light sensors. The coils on the circuit board allowed you to make temporary connections, so you could assemble one project, make it work and move on to the next one. These types of toys are popular once again as parents seek interactive STEM-inspiring toys for their kids.
  • Golden Arrow Buggy: Radio Shack was well-known for remote-controlled toys, and we still sell many at the store today. The Golden Arrow was one of the faster, more powerful remote-controlled cars sold by Radio Shack. It offered off-road capabilities with its speed, which made it a great car both indoors and outdoors. You could make obstacle courses with it, but had to remember to change the batteries, lest you find yourself dead in the dirt!

Devine’s Electronics Authorized Radio Shack Dealer remembers the toys and gadgets that arose from the ‘80s and ‘90s Radio Shack. While we may no longer be in the golden age of Radio Shack in Woodward, OK, we still offer quality consumer electronics and attentive computer repair services. Visit us today to see our inventory!

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