Pokémon Go’s in full swing and fall fashion is flashing right back to where it’s been for a while now: disaffected stares, tattoo chokers, clunky Doc Marten oxfords in every shade of the Windows 95 color palette, and disused flannels fashioned into something that can only be understood as a waist-tie. So one can safely say the ’90s are still making a comeback, as the decade continues to fascinate twenty-somethings who probably don’t even remember the OJ Simpson Trial and are only pretending to understand Ren & Stimpy references. But now all these ’90s-culture appropriators will have an opportunity to really feel what it was like to be a kid with dial-up internet and a pocket full of Bubble Tape– with the opening of Brooklyn Pogs.
The new Williamsburg shop, slated to open August 31 is calling itself “Brooklyn’s first and only Pog store” and is located somewhere near the Graham L stop– the owners haven’t released a precise address just yet. (However Facebook hints that the storefront’s located somewhere on Frost Street between Graham and Humboldt, but we’re still holding out for the big reveal to say for sure.)
Ok, so Brooklyn Pogs isn’t the first NYC store to sell pogs in the post-Y2K era– you can thank Mr. Throwback in the East Village (shop owner and previously B+B’s personal all-things-’90s consultant) for those sick Michael Jordan Pogs you got for X-mas one year.) And spots like Rivals where people can get together and drink coffee or whatever and play nerdy, analogue games have been thriving in Brooklyn for a hot minute. But Brooklyn Pogs is promising a full-dedicated, bona-fide Pog playroom and a showroom floor where you can buy Pogs and just Pogs.
They’ve also broken the surprising news that, “Pogs are BACK!” We’re not sure in which subculture and to whom they’re back, but we’ll find out in due time. The owners are throwing a grand opening party completed with drinks and food, of course a ’90s soundtrack and even a Pog tournament. (Although there seems to be no way to RSVP yet, your best bet would be to check their Facebook page for updates.)
And they’re staying true to pog culture, which always involved talking trash on your opponent’s pathetic excuse for a slammer in an effort to convince them to rid themselves of their garbage (i.e. trade you their actuall friggin’ killer, sparkly, spikey smash piece) in exchange for a couple of pieces that you really didn’t want to give up, your pair of Alf stacker pogs, that might be peeling a bit but are actually in great shape! That means Brooklyn Pogs will allow its patrons to trade and sell picks from their private Pog collections. No word on how that’s exactly going to work, but we’ll wait patiently.
The shop seems primarily interested in cutting out the middleman (aka eBay) and giving fans a chance to collect and sell all the Pogs their inner 8-year-olds could ever desire. They’ve already outlined different kinds of Pogs that will be available, ranging from “Pogs of little artistic or cultural merit” ($3.99) to “Pogs of genuine artistic merit” ($7.99), there’s something for every Pogs-thusiast’s budget. And once you’ve beefed up your collection, you can immediately put them to the test by playing against others in the store.
If we have to explain to you what Pogs are, well, then we pity you because you obviously didn’t have a childhood. Pogs, (aka “milk caps” if you were raised in Appalachia or something probably), were the most coveted collectible items for a child of the mid-’90s, only to be surpassed by Pokémon cards some years later. In typical ’90s fashion, the Pog craze was intense but short-lived, with certain disks bearing images of cartoon, TV, and movie characters, sports figures, and, of course, corporate branding.
The shop, however, goes a bit further with a history lesson of its own.”Some believe that the game of milk caps originated in Maui in the 1920s or 1930s, while others believe it has its origins in Menko, a Japanese card game very similar to milk caps which has been in existence since the 17th century,” their website explains.
To really drive home just how devoted to the ’90s they truly are, Brooklyn Pogs plans to feed their customers’ nostalgia, quite literally with their “cereal bar,” stocked with all the mini cereal boxes you yearned for as a kid (but had maybe once a year at camp when “Breakfast for Dinner “came around). Think: sugary childhood favs like Cinnamon French Toast Crunch, Fruit Loops, etc.
If for some reason a sugar high just doesn’t quite cut it anymore, the shop’s aiming for a liquor license too, and if all goes as planned, you’ll be able to booze while you fling little plastic disks across the room at one another– which, honestly, sounds a little dangerous. But fun!
The Pogs shop has two more ’90s-themed events lined up for early September. On Thursday September 1 they’re hosting the obviously named, ’90s Night (alright, we get it, millennials really do like the ’90s), with screenings of Full House and Step By Step, as well as another Pogs tournament. The following day, Friday September 2 they’re hosting a blast from the farther-back-past with an ’80s-themed night that includes a karaoke party.
We should point out that there have been suggestions floating around that this whole thing is a big fake prank, most notably from Brokelyn, who pointed out that the address listed on the shop’s Facebook page (175 Frost Street, according to the map on Facebook) is apparently a residential address. And there are no records of “Brooklyn Pogs” on the business license database by their stated name.
B+B reached out to Brooklyn Pogs and hasn’t received a reply, but damn are we hoping it’s for serious.