"Catch Them If You Dare!" went the slogan. And very apt it was too, for these bouncy little balls where the most grotesque ones you would ever clamp eyes on. Disgusting they were! And because of this, they were, of course, an instant hit. After all, Nerfuls were there only real competition at the time.
Bouncy balls had always been a staple of kids toy boxes for their ability to cause havoc wherever you went. Well, imagine a ball heading straight for you, but this time you're staring straight into the eyes of a zombie or worse.
Practically speaking, Madballs were rubber spheres measuring approximately 2-3 inches in diameter and they boasted the most grotesque, disfigured faces on them. They were the brainchild of AmToy, who unveiled the range in 1985. That year, eight Madballs were up for grabs, promising that their new grossness would not compromise their bounciness as a ball. And they didn't disappoint.
Because each Madball was its own little character, they were instantly collectible. The range included: Screamin Meemie; Slobulus; Aargh; Hornhead; Dustbrain, who was a time-ravaged Mummy; Oculus Orbus, who was basically one large bloodshot eye; Skull Face and Crack Head, who had his brains exposed. Due to the popularity a second series was also released, including Badballs: Wolf breath, Bruise Brother and Lock Lips. This was then followed up with a range called Super Madballs, and later still some sports-themed Madballs joined the ranks. These included Foul Shot, who suffered from worms in his eye. They just kept on getting grosser and more goo-filled with time. Those AmToy guys must have quite literally had a ball thinking up the next creations!
While kids greed for all things gross kept growing, Madballs unfortunately just couldn't keep up, and they eventually lost their bounce. But that doesn't mean to say they've been forgotten. Some, in fact, may still have nightmares about them... especially tortured little sisters from the 80s!