The Pog Man was the mascot used for the Pog series, what are Pogs you might ask? Well if you were born after the 90s ended, then it’s understandable for you to not know what a Pog is. Those who remenber what Pogs were likely to have bought atleast one set of them. Come on, I’m sure any of you out there did had a collection of Pogs. Even I once had a collection of them in two different containers. One being a plastic lunch box with a skate boarding dinosaur(I’m not sure what company made such a thing) and the other was a pencil box that I was going to use in the 1st Grade, except my teacher forbid me. Why she forbid it is a mystery to me to this day. It only had images of the U.S.A. & carribean islands on it, it wasn’t like it had images of Playboy on it or anything that would be inappropriate for school. I’m sure all of you are saying to yourselves “What kind of teacher would list North American countries as inappropriate?” But yeah, she was an old fashion teacher who doesn’t approve of students who aren’t above average in her own class. Plus she resembles Mrs. Doubtfire, and no I have no evidence if she is a woman or a man pretending to be an old woman to get a job at a school.
Anyways sorry for that brief moment about about my First Grade era. Now for the real topic which is pogs, and don’t worry I’ll explain what the heck these things are and why were they a popular game in the 90s. Pogs were small cardboard discs that originated in Maui, Hawaii in 1927. There are some sources that claim the game evolved from a Japanese game called Menko which dates back to the 17th Century. The game later got it’s name from a fruit drink baring the same name in 1971. The other name for Pogs were “Milkcaps” since the discs are the same size as a cap. The game didn’t officially became popular until the World POG Federation and the Canada Games Company reintroduced them to the public in the mid-90s. It was a multi-million dollar idea until the game faded out of exsistence before the 90s ended.
The rules of the gameplay may vary among players, but the game variants generally have common gameplay features. Each player has their own collection of pogs and a slammer, a heavier game piece often made of metal or a thick plastic.However, metal pogs were not allowed in some games because they were too heavy and knocked too many pogs over too quickly, thus giving the player with the first turn an unfair advantage. Before the game, players decide whether to play ‘for keeps’, or not. ‘For keeps’ implies that the players keep the POGs that they win and forfeit those that have been won by other players. The game can then begin as follows:
-The players each contribute an equal number of pogs to build a stack with the pieces facing down, which will be used during the game.
-The players take turns throwing their slammer (heavy rubber, metal or plastic cylinder shaped piece, with different textures and colors) down onto the top of the stack, causing it to spring up and the pogs to scatter. Each player keeps any pogs that land ‘face up’ after their throw.
-After each throw, the pogs which have landed ‘face down’ are then re-stacked for the next player.
-When no pogs remain in the stack, the player with the most pogs is the ‘winner’.
I never once played a game of Pogs in my whole life since I’m more of a Pog collector than a Pog player.
Throughout the 90s, there were many themes to Pogs including collections with images of tv shows, movies, etc. Those include Alf, Animaniacs, Batman, Dragonball, Disney’s Gargoyles, R.L. Stines’ Goosebumps, Hot Wheels, 1994 Little Rascals, Matchbox, MAD Magazine, Power Rangers, Disney’s Pocahontas, Reboot, Sailor Moon, Spawn, Star Trek, DC Heroes & Villians, Marvel Heroes & Villians, The Tick(Animated), & 1992 X-Men. While in Mexico there were Spongebob & Simpsons editions. Various marketers were getting involved with this game including McDonalds, Burger King, Del Taco, Carl’s Jr.(or Hardee’s if you live East coast), Checkers & Rally’s. I only recalled getting pogs at a Del Taco once. While the biggest collection I had was the 1994 Knott’s Berry Farm limited edition, which was back when the place hardly had any roller costers. With every kid in the neighborhood owning a set of pogs this lead to a new school activity during recess. However because the winner of the game gets to keep the pogs it was viewed as a form of gambling and cause fights and distractions at various schools. So every school in America banned Pogs just like what they did to Pokemon cards, Chinese jump rope, & Tamagachi. It wasn’t long until the game was banned in schools in UK, Germany, Sweden, & Australia.
Let’s talk about the Pogman. Just what is he? To me I always called him a caveman due to his resemblence to Captain Caveman. Funny thing is as a kid the only Captain Caveman I watched was “Captain Caveman & Son” segments of “Flintstone Kids” which was Hanna Barbara’s attempt to make something as successful as Muppet Babies except without the stock footage. Which they attempted three more times with “A Pup Named Scooby Doo”, “Yo Yogi”, & “Tom & Jerry Kids”. While years later I discovered Captain Caveman has been around much longer than the 80s. Other than Captain Caveman the Pogman has a similar personality towards the Tazmanian Devil. Ah “Taz-Mania” such a classic spin-off for a Looney Tune.
In closing, Pogs today are either an underground activity or a hot ebay item. The game is no longer that big any more, but you’re likely to hear about them from time to time depending who you talk to. Such as people like me who knew what it was like when the game was as big as Pokemon cards. The Pogman is still being used for the mid 2000s editions of pogs sometimes in his classic look or in a new art style. I manage to find some archive commericals on pogs including a pog making device which I was deprived of never owning. Imagine the Metal Gear pogs I could of created if I own one today? Anyways the first one is a little staticy but the other commercial I found is better quality.