The Tamagotchi arrived in the United States in May 1997 and started a digital-pet fad that defined the holiday season. Virtual pets held three of the top five spots on their 1997 holiday best-seller list, according to the Toy Manufacturers of America, with the Tamagotchi leading the group at No. 2 overall.
The Sony PlayStation was the go-to gaming console for older cousins across the country. The original PlayStation was released in North America in 1995, and the lineup of games for the console was tailored to an older audience than that of the Nintendo.
The N64 was released in the fall of 1996 to positive reviews for its advanced 3D graphics and gameplay. The console maintained its popularity through the 1997 holiday season with help from games like "GoldenEye 007."
Beanie Babies were first introduced in 1993, but the toys took a few years to reach the peak of their powers. The pellet-stuffed animals first gained popularity in Chicago, near the TY Inc. company headquarters. They became a national fad in 1996 and 1997.
Published:Caption:Jessica LearishPhoto:Robert Lachman/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Star Wars action figures
When the Special Edition of the original Star Wars trilogy was released in 1997, Kenner produced a line of action figures to accompany the digitally restored movies. The line included plastic likenesses of Han, Luke, Leia and more.
The George Clooney era of the Batman movie franchise was great for the toy business. "Batman & Robin" hit theaters in June of 1997, and Batman action figures were among the most popular toys that holiday season.