Today’s super fast doodlewash of a little thing (crazy busy day!) is another super fun retro toy, although likely not quite as magical as yesterday’s View-Master. This is just one example of the many Tomy Waterful games, where you push a button and air blows all the contents inside around while you desperately try to get all the little balls or rings in their proper place. These were popular in the late 70’s and early 80’s, so I was right in the sweet spot for the launch of these things and ended up with several of them. I also have a soft spot for this infuriating whale and a love hate relationship that continues to this day.
The goal of this game is to get the little balls inside the whale, without making him tip over and well… lose his balls. Looking back, this was sort of weird. To play, you press the button just so and try to get a measured air flow that will gently let each ball float up and around, hopefully landing in the little whale’s blow hole. Yeah, definitely weird. Actually completing this quest, was nearly impossible and much more difficult to master than the Rubik’s Cube. That I completed twice. I still never mastered this insidious contraption.
But I love these toys! So much fun in something that doesn’t even require batteries or have music and flashing lights. You did have to actually add more water into the tank as it would mysteriously evaporate even though it seemed so perfectly sealed. And it got sort of gross, even without the live fish inside. It was still super sad to see the little plastic whale with barely enough space to float when I would inevitably forget to take proper care of him. Luckily, I became a much better parent later in life when I actually acquired a dog. But I think dogs are lower maintenance than this guy and I could at least figure out how their games were meant to be played.
I often find myself wanting to check out eBay in search of some of these toys from my youth. The world seems to have gotten busier and somehow more complex. These little things take me back to take that felt simpler somehow. Perhaps is was just because I was a kid and didn’t know what adult problems would be like. Either way, it’s nice sometimes to journey back to a time when all you had to worry about was getting your favorite cereal on Saturday morning and taking care of a tiny little plastic whale.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Pyrrol Red, Cobalt Teal, Ultramarine Blue, Azo Orange, Azo Yellow, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal
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