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Pogs (1990s)

The game of Pogs originated in Maui, Hawaii in the late 1920s. A similar Japanese card game, Menko, has been around since the 17th century. We can thank Blossom Galbiso, an Oahu teacher and guidance counselor for the 90s Pogs resurgence. She incorporated Pogs into her fifth grade math curriculum and as a nonviolent schoolyard game alternative. This was in 1991. In 1992, a small Canadian packaging company that had been producing milk caps in Maui, began printing millions of pogs every week and the game spread to the mainland U.S. By 1993, Pogs had dominated the world. You could get Pogs in any type of style/image you could image: toys, cartoons, movies, games, sports, even famous celebrities and politicians were featured on Pogs.

Children would often keep Pogs won from others during play which led to school districts to consider Pogs to be a form of gambling. The games were so addictive for some youngsters that they became classroom distractions and led to playground arguments. This, of course, led to a ban of Pogs from some North American schools, many Western European schools and some bans in Australian schools.

Traditional Pogs were made of a rough cardboard, printed with limited colors and often had a staple in them. Modern Pogs were made with stiffer, thicker cardboard and printed with colorful, glossy images. The slammer is a heavier piece made of plastic that came in various thicknesses and were similar in diameter to regular Pogs.

Pogs are played by stacking them face down in a pile. Each player takes turns throwing his slammer down onto the stack, trying to make it scatter. Any Pogs that landed face up by the player were kept. After a player’s throw, remaining Pogs were restacked and play continued all the Pogs were taken. The player with the most Pogs won.