Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 4: Pog Warfare

By this post, I have come to the realization that there can never be a guaranteed entry for the night because of certain social events. Three days into new classes and I've already drank two of those nights, but this is not what I'm here to talk about. I was sitting on the Brooklyn College quad with some friends, having some chit chat when this amazing 90's fad came up.

Wtf ever happened to pogs?

As some have told me, "It was just another one of those stupid fads, why do you love them?" Maybe it was because the slammers were always awesome... or maybe because if you knew how to kick some serious ass at the play ground in Pogs, you would love them too. Besides that, I'm here to get down with the history of the Pog.

Pogs were one of the great 90's fads that have come and gone, but besides that.. where did they come from. Research into the game's origin shows me that the concept for the game first originated during 1920's in Hawaii on the island of Maui, where workers from a bottle cap company started the game. The only problem is that it doesn't account for the 60-70 years between then and the 1990's. One source tells me that it was a Hawaiian school teacher that reintroduced the fad 70 years later... improbable? I think so. Further research into the phenomenon known as Pogs shows me that it has very little relation to its namesake, a drink named POG that consists of a blend of juices from passion fruit, oranges, and guava fruits. It was said that the caps would be used for the game, but by the 1990's glass bottles were rarely used, meaning that the POG juice that was distributed in the states did not use the caps. So if that wasn't how the craze came over the entirety of the United States, how did it? There are two stories of how it went big. It starts with Charlie Nalepa who was hired as a marketing and promotions manager for the Hawaiian Haleakala Dairy company. He saw that there was a large demand for the cardboard discs that came with the milk. POGS printed their logo and used it as a promotional strategy for their drink. It seems as if the drink was forgotten and the Pogs lived on. The second story is the reintroduction of Pogs, from classroom to nationwide fad. In 1991, there was a fifth grade teacher in a Haywain elementary school who introduced the game as a way to learn math. Of course there are rumors of other elementary school teachers doing this or similar, so what I can take from this is that multiple teachers had similar ideas for using Pogs as a math game or just fun in the yard. This created central points of popularity of the game, leading it to spread fairly fast.

Of course there is the Milkman POG conspiracy. Groups believe that the fad was actually spread milk truck to milk truck around Hawaii till one lone milkman known by Johhny "white stach" Butifler was transferred to a west coast milk company. This is where he introduced the introduced the Hawaiian game and learned that it had not been taught anywhere outside of Hawaii. He decided to travel milk company to milk company teaching people about the game known as "Milkcaps". After most of the country had been exposed to the game, the POG juice company had caught on and mass produced the cardboard discs, changing the game forever. There is little to no evidence to prove this theory, but it has traveled by mouth for centuries.

Name of the game:
Milk Covas

Pog facts more useless than knowing the orgin of Pogs
  • In 1992, the milkcap game became so popular that milkcap tournaments were held and milkcap collecting became a phenomenon known as “Milkcap Mania.” The phenomenon created such frenzy; it made CNN's national headline news.
  • An international company reached $150,000,000 in sales in the United States and Milkcaps won the “Toy of the Year” in the UK
  • By 2000 there were up to 10 pages of milkcap auctions online at Ebay.
  • In 2001, the U.S. military issued milkcaps as a form of currency during Operation Iraqi Freedom andOperation Enduring Freedom. It is stated that metal coins were too costly and heavy to ship to the Middle East. The milkcap currency for the War in Iraq is still used today and accepted at exchanges worldwide. For coin and milkcap collectors there are 8 different printings sought after.

For those still interested, there are still people selling Pogs on ebay at decent prices if you have a disposable income for things such as Pogs.

Just in case anyone is wondering how to play the game, I have given you a convenient link to the rules.

As for any other research that will be done on the topics of Pogs, it will not be done by me because if I say the word "pogs" again in my head I will probably have an aneurysm. Now I may go to sleep knowing that my head is swarming in useless information.

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