Pogs, AKA milk caps, easily the most popular game during the mid-90’s. Whether you were old or young you were playing this game whenever and wherever it was possible. To play pogs, you needed milk caps that are round, flat and made from cardboard. You also needed slammers that were made from plastic and are heavier than milk caps.
In this game players put an equal amount of Pogs and form a stack. Then, they take turns throwing the slammer on the stack. Each Pog that lands face up belongs to the player who threw the slammer. After no milk caps are left in the stack the winner was the player with the most milk caps. Best gift ever? Hell yeah, purchase yours NOW!
If you’re a 90’s child, you probably remember your school playground covered with thin circular cardboards before they were suddenly banned from schools for causing fights and promoting gambling among minors.
It was during the late 80’s and early 90’s when the slap bracelet and GameBoy craze had taken over the gaming market, but there was a unique toy that every kid wanted – surprisingly, it was a milk bottle cap that was attracting the attention of the youngsters around the country.
Yes, for those of you who don’t remember, Pogs were actually colourful milk bottle caps that dominated school playgrounds in the 90’s, but surprisingly, their origin dates back to the Edo Period in the 1600s with the creation of a Japanese game called Menko which had a lot in common with the modern Pogs.
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The classic game of Menko consisted of small circular cards, more or less of the same size as milk bottle caps, with colourful drawings of various cultural icons like famous Japanese warriors and wrestlers.
But unlike Pogs that were made from cardboard cut-outs, Menko cards were durable because they were either made out of clay or wood, although it later introduced paper cards which became popular in the Japanese gaming industry.
But no one outside of Japan knew about Menko until the 20th century when it was first introduced in Hawaii by Japanese immigrants who brought the classic game with them to America. The game started to evolve when kids started improvising and using milk bottle caps as playing pieces, since they were sturdy enough to be thrown.
It was actually a teacher named Blossom Galbiso who turns Pogs into one of the hottest phenomena in the early 90’s. Galbiso and her pupil collected milk bottle caps specifically from the Haleakala Dairy because it used special caps that resembled the Menko playing cards.
As the Pog trend started to pick up around mainland, the packaging company saw a sudden influx in demand for their milk bottles – not because the country wanted more dairy, but because it wanted to play Pogs!
No matter how inelegant the game might have looked during school lunchtime, there’s actually a technique to playing Pogs. The main aim of throwing a pog is to turn your opponent’s card, and if you flip their piece, you get to keep it.
In most schoolyard battles, players contributed an equal number of pieces to their stack and each of them would take turns to aim and shoot the slammer on the opponent’s stack. The player then calls dibs on the pog that lands face up on the ground. The players take turns until all the pogs have been claimed. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
As the game gained pog-ularity (get it?), these unique milk bottle caps started being used as a vehicle for all sorts of advertisements, even celebrities and politicians got pogs with their faces on them and some charitable organizations even used them to advocate drug prevention and raise awareness for different causes.
Companies were eager to put their logos on bottle caps, and plenty of fast food giants like Taco Bell, Del Taco, McDonalds and Burger King joined in on the action with their own branded pogs. Even Disneyland, Nintendo and Kool-Aid used pogs for advertising, and for once, people didn’t even need any gameplays for entertainment.