There’s always been a sort of brotherhood among lunchrooms spanning the globe. Despite the food fights, the relentless cruelty of teasing, and the eating disorders, elementary school cafeterias were always filled with an overwhelming sense of community. This unity stemmed from the pirate-like bartering system that existed in our 40 minute microcosm of lunchtime–trading snacks.
Whether it was a banana for a pudding pack or a handful of gushers for a fruit roll-up, there was always an endless amount of sharing and exchanging that went on between friends. Everyone remembers the kid whose mother wouldn’t let him have anything unhealthy and his desperate attempts to trade up his fruit cups for something more delectable. Sucks to be that nerd.
One of the hottest commodities on the lunchbox trading scene was the grandaddy of all snack foods in the 90s. This treasure was a product that still graces grocery store shelves with a deliciousness that cannot be denied and mascot who only ups the level of intrigue. I’m talking about the be-all, end-all treat that made normal kids turn into shivering crackheads at the sight of it. I’m talking about DUNK-A-ROOS.
Launched in 1988 by Betty Crocker, this amazing food was pioneered by mad scientists who knew how to please children. Its mascot, the Australian-accented Sydney the kangaroo was just as demonic and lovable as Joe Camel or any of the other kid-centric monsters of marketing. He knew exactly what he was doing when he hopped along the TV screen, enticing kids with his poor Paul Hogan impression.
I was a snot-nosed little rabscallion when I was introduced to, quite possibly, the most influential and inspiring piece of software ever to grace a home console system. In all my years of being entranced by bright pixels and engrossing game worlds, I had never been captivated by a game so completely as by Chrono Trigger on the SNES.
Chrono Trigger, at its core, is a game about a ragtag group of adventurers spanning many time periods who must work together to prevent global destruction at the hands of a being known only as Lavos. Throughout the epic journey, players are engaged with fully-developed characters and an intriguing and well-crafted storyline that still reigns supreme, in my mind, as the greatest game of all time.
Being a disgustingly obese capitalist American pig, I’ve had my fair share of dealing with snack foods over the years. Whether it be prepackaged snack cakes, chips, candy, soda, or those forgotten crumbs of deliciousity known as Munch Ems, I’ve taken quite the fancy to the evolution and study of such salty, sugary, calorically-overwhelming pieces of Americana.
Some of the most-consumed products of this type from my childhood were the holy triangular pieces of scrumptious delight known only as “Doritos.” Friday night horror movie viewing parties would not be complete without a bag of these flavor-blasted tortilla treats. If you lined up the total number of bags of Doritos I’ve eaten over the course of my lifetime, you could probably reach to the moon and back. They were something special.
Part of the allure and temptation of these kind of snack foods were the devious ways in which in which they were advertised. It was not just a product they were selling to you, but a sense of belonging and “coolness.”