Pocket Power was available at retail in 1988 to 1989. The sets were made by Sega, but distributed by Tyco Toys (who were later absorbed by Mattel) in the United States. Pocket Power was the type of toy line that you could find both in your major toy retailer, like Child World, or even in your local pharmacy’s toy aisle. Pricing ranged from about US$4 to US$5 making it a fairly affordable purchase. The wide availability and reasonable pricing made this toy fairly popular for a brief period and that is why today P is for Pocket Power.
There is not a lot of generally available information on Pocket Power. If one were to do a search for ‘Pocket Power toys’, only a few relevant results would be returned including the very incomplete entry on Virtual Toy Chest, a link to my own blog, and a few forum postings asking for more information. This blog post may very well be the largest Pocket Power reference on the internet to date, which is rather frightening.
The line consisted of at least three waves. On the back of each card backing, instructions and a large cross-sell were displayed. I have seen a variant of the card back that only displays the cross-sell, but I do not have any more information on it, nor do I even know what the front of the card looks like on that variation.
The variant cross-sell is essentially the series 2 cross-sell with the two guns, GI Supply rocket launcher, and hovercraft from the series 1 cross-sell tacked on to the bottom. Missing are still the Glo-bones skeleton and Top Fight top spinning set. I could not find any information on series 3 at all, but I own the Bowling set from series 3. The image below shows that series 3 simply reused the series 2 cross-sell. This makes it really difficult to really know what sets were released in series 3.
The Virtual Toybox, has 4 images of sets that I previously had not known to exist. A skateboarder, a lamborgini race car, a submarine, and finally a speed boat that looks very similar to the one from series 2, but has a different deco at the very least.
Most of the vehicles in this series were operated by using a plastic zip cord pulled quickly to propel the main wheel/propellor/rotor, while the case itself served as a launcher for the vehicle. Some of the weapon-based sets were a bit more infamous after making a few of the lists for dangerous toys in 1989.
In 1989 the consumer group, Americans for Democratic Action published a list of deadly toys. The “Bakers Dirty Dozen” was found to be particularly hazardous to young children. It is important for us to recognize and avoid their danger.
7. Pocket Power Rapid Fire
Hand-Held Multi-Shot Target Gun – Tyco Industries
Among the more ubiquitous non-vehicle sets available were the Survival kit, Glo-bones, and the Trick Squirt squirt gun. The survival kit had lots of neat built-in gadgets including a monocular, level, compass, whistle, and survival signal mirror on the back with a morse code legend. The Glo-bones set was a glow-in-the-dark skeleton action figure that came with halberd, short sword, shield and helm. The case has two flip-out tabs near the feet of the skeleton that allow the case to be angled as a display stand for the skeleton. The skeleton features a surprising amount of articulation considering his size and the times. Glo-bones is by far, one of my favorite sets of the series. The Trick Squirt squirt gun is pretty neat, in that, in addition to being a traditional squirt gun, it had a dial on the side that allowed you to select the direction of the water; forward, upward, or backward at the person firing. The last option often led to an amusing practical joke or getting in a lot of trouble. One or the other.
Not long ago, I came across my old stash of Pocket Power sets. Not only that, but I also located the card backs, in which, they were packed. Back then, a lot of action figure packaging featured bios, tech specs, directions and other things of note. Due to this, it was not uncommon for me to keep the packaging for a lot of my toys. I am pretty glad I did because it makes the articles I write these days a lot more interesting and information-rich. All of the card backs seen in this post with the exception of the variant are from my personal collection. If you wish to use these images, please link back to this post and site.
Today, these sets are a fairly rare find. They pop up from time to time on ebay, but never in abundance. Even after all this time, these sets still have a great amount of play value and that is why P is for Pocket Power.