Kids had to work to find things to do before the internet was widespread enough to consume all our lives. Desperate for something, anything to occupy their tender minds, they scavenged for dead animals to poke with sticks, hunted for stuff to set on fire, and, most troubling of all, devoted themselves to collecting branded milk caps that were stacked in piles and hit with metal discs.
If this last activity sounds unfamiliar, allow us to introduce you to the wonderful world of Pogs through a 1994 video all about the trend called “Milkcap Krazy.”
“Milkcap Krazy,” which comes courtesy of YouTube’s Consumer Time Capsule, introduces viewers to Pogs with a concentrated hit of spastic, mid-‘90s video editing and some old-fashioned ‘tude. The host, a guy called Jesse Hynes, is practically bursting out of his skin while detailing the game’s boring origins. After oodles of tilted B-roll sets the scene, Hynes, plaid shirt tied around his waist, sprints around a park, gesturing maniacally while tracing the illustrious Hawaiian history of “the milk cap game.”
As this continues, an adult man dressed as a young boy tells us that the name “Pogs” comes from an acronym for the “passion fruit, orange, and guava” bottles where the first caps came from. Through it all, the camera swings drunkenly from side to side as the era’s color-warping and shitty CGI scene wipes underscore some truly righteous radio rock. Hynes eventually “sneaks in” to a tournament to narrate some high-octane, Pog-flipping action, in which a woman in an arm brace awards a bowl-cutted child a certificate in recognition of his milk cap mastery. God, we’re exhausted just typing this.
The true highlight comes about five minutes in, when a kid in tie-dye dutifully explains regulation Pog equipment. “When you start collecting a lot or buying a lot,” the boy says, “you’re gonna want one of these to store ‘em in.” He holds up a neon green tube and the scene freezes, a rush of dramatic guitars and crashing cymbals hanging over his image as if something of great import has just happened. A bass bows in and the tune becomes psychedelic. Images of ‘90s comic book character-branded Pogs flash by and the viewer’s third eye, like some spiritual milk cap, finally blinks open.
Seriously, just watch the rest of this thing for yourself. It’s never to late to learn about Pogs and begin a truly life-changing hobby. As the tie-dye boy tells us, even his “old guy” grandpa collects them “because, in the future, they’ll be worth a lot of money.” Invest now and maybe in 25 years you, too, will be as well off as that man surely has become by now.
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