Toys R’ Us’ Christmas 1996 Catalogue Is A Historic Wonderland

Toys R’ Us’ Christmas 1996 Catalogue Is A Historic Wonderland


Ah, 1996. The future, as the front cover of Toys R’ Us’ catalogue so boldly states, is here! Or…was there. And it was only really there for some of the systems involved (sorry, Sega Saturn!)

I love looking at these things. Not for the general nostalgic rush, but to see the individual games highlighted. Of the titles retailers thought would shift units that year, which ones do we still talk about today, and which had we stopped talking about by 1997.

That Saturn section, for example. Virtual On, Nights, Daytona…as good as the N64 and PlayStation were, if I had to go back and scoop up a bag’s worth of stuff, it’d be that Saturn section.

1996 [Save Room Mini Bar]











  • I love the way the Saturn claims “photorealistic 3D games”.
    Who am I kidding, I love all the bold claims made by the technologies. Especially looking back 16 years later.
    Also, it’s still weird as hell seeing a Playstation controller without thumbsticks.

    • THATS what was different. Looking at the Playstation controller and was confused, I swear it looks a bit different. Can’t believe I didn’t notice that 🙁 haha

    • We used to always laugh at Atari’s claim of ‘sounds that curl your hair’ because the Atari sounds seemed so ridiculously savage. Meanwhile we’d go nuts for the ‘super advanced tech’ of 1997.

  • The fact they were flogging the snes for $130 amongst the whole of the next generation is a testament to how far Nintendo have fallen

      • actually the whole thing seems moot as its clearly 2 different catalogues, as there is 2 different lots of pricing for the n64

          • The first one sounds like a on release ad, given “the future is here” line, and the gold controller didn’t come out for quite some time

          • The N64 was released in September of 1996 so I’d assume the first N64 ad is from the 1996 Christmas catalogue, and the gold controller ad is from November-ish of 1997. If you look at the Tamagotchi availability you’ll see it’s a proto-pre-order ad for a product that will be released December 1st 1997. If the first ad was in 1997 I think it’d have more than Mario 64 on it.
            I think the rest of the catalogue is from 1996. It doesn’t appear to have any major 1997 release games and all the sports games are ’97 which makes sense for November/December 1996. I think DualShock was released in the US by Christmas 1997 too, so if it were 1997 I’d expect that to be on the PS1 page.

      • I was referencing how close the SNES is priced im comparisson to the console of the gen after it, but they appear to be from seperate issues so who knows how long between them

        • Also keep in mind these are Toys R Us prices in a far, far less competitive era. They weren’t as desperate to clear stock as they would be today. Specialist video game stores were a thing but they tended to be made up of independent stores that couldn’t compete properly with places like Toys R Us or even K-Mart.

  • Funny thing is to get these games in brand new condition would cost the same today or more.

    Except the few staple collectors items that are worth 10x more sealed.

  • Haha the Game Gear. Had about 30 games donated to the Vinnies I work at the other day. No boxes just the cartridges in those hard plastic cases. Nostalgia overload as I opened the bag. Shame no actual Game Gear system though.

    • How does Vinnies go around pricing them? they might be worth a bit, however the walk in market is a tough sell or do they just abandon being good stewards and sell them for a buck each?

      • For our store it is usually just $2. That applies to any video game really. Even Xbox 360 or PS3. Do not get them in all that often but do get them. However never get consoles of any kind 😐
        Still praying for the day someone donates a working snes.

        • I’ve got 2 working SNES. Bought a backup from Big W when they where going dirt cheap sometime around 1998/99. Still unopened in the original box with eirther Mario World or Kart 😀

          • Aww you suck lol. Really wish past me had thought about things a bit more and bought a few, say 10 or so. One for my kids, when I have some. And the rest for me to use so when one dies I just go get another new one out of the shed/garage etc. At least there is always emulation though not quite the same.

          • I had a working NES, SNES, N64, PS, PS2, Sega Megadrive, GBA, Gameboy pocket and about three dozen games all up and they all ended up in the trash.

            Don’t scorn me for it though that’s the fate of most dated consoles unfortunately I still however kick myself for it I wish I was introduced to gaming at an adult age.

          • Haha yeah I know. Over the lifetime of the PS1 I had 7, and none died, for the PS2 I had 5, again none died. Though hell if I know what happened to them all. Old age, bad memory. Still kicking myself. My Snes alone had majority of the good rpgs available here including a lot of imported. So many great hours spent.

  • The American SNES always looks so weird to me. Give me the SNES PAL version any day.

    God. Why did I get rid of my old SNES years ago? I wish I could go back and say “Hey, idiot, you’ll get back into gaming some day and you’ll want that! Don’t ditch it!”.

  • Would have been Playstation for me based on those games. Destruction Derby 2 and Twisted Metal 2 are two of my favourite games of all time. Not to mention Crash Bandicoot.

  • are you kidding, snes always has been and always will be that awesome. you must be too young to remember it going toe to toe with the ps1 for a decent while as well…

    • Yeah look at that “Super Gameboy” Cartrdge, why didn’t Sony ever get in on that, could you imagine if PS2’s were able to play PSP Midi’s… Such a missed opportunity.

  • lol, to be honest, theres not much difference in the Aussie junk mail of 2012: Same fonts, same outrageous claims… australia is still basically stuck in the mid 80s/early 90s as far as I can see 😛

  • In a few years its hard to believe we will be thinking the same things of the xbox 360, the Ps3, the wiiU, ect.
    I’m going to get a second ps3 a few day before the Ps4 so I can get it for really cheap and play all my old games.
    I wish I was a few years older and could have played the nintendo 64, the sega saturn, I played a ps1 for a while though…
    I wish my ps2 had never died, god games were cheap back then, I don’t want to get a year old game for $100!

  • working SNES’s on ebay along with games range from about $100-300. Not too bad especially when some of them are in really good nick.

  • I don’t really think you can call it historic. It’s certainly historical, but it’s a bit much to call it historic.

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