If you were to come across a pog today — and you were a child or parent in the ’90s — no doubt it would unlock sense-memories from a bygone time. Your thoughts would be carried back to the larger-than-life cultural moment when the zeitgeist revolved, simultaneously, around that popular, cardboard-disc-based children’s game and the trial of O.J. Simpson for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson. Pogs’ heyday came smack dab in the middle of the ’90s. Local newspaper reports and other retrospectives on the pog craze point to early 1995 being the apex of the game’s popularity. This, of course, was during the thick of the O.J. trial, which is being explored again this year in the Ryan Murphy-created American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson and an ESPN documentary.
As a result, perhaps it’s no surprise that eBay offers us the option to bid on several revelatory O.J.-related pogs and pog sets. These artifacts are not only kitschy curiosities; but they also offer some insight into the divided public opinion about the murder trial at the time.
Interested consumers can get the most bang for their buck with this unpunched O.J. pog set, which pays tribute to his legendary sports career. Action shots and majestic portraits decorate the 11-pog “An American Tragedy” set.
Then there are the ambivalent pogs, which encourage players to dramatize the action of the contemporaneous trial in their gameplay. The 10-piece set currently available on eBay — titled “Innocent or Guilty?” — features unflattering caricature drawings of all the major players in the trial. If you’re looking for a Robert Kardashian or Johnnie Cochran likeness in pog form, look no further.
If you prefer a slightly more polished design, here’s another riff on the same idea:
Any pog player needs their own attention-grabbing slammer, and for those who believe that O.J. got too lucky in 1995, there’s the obvious pun to be made, and at least a couple of pog makers went ahead and did it.
For those who really want the full spectrum, this seller has a smorgasbord available. It includes a double-sided Guilty/Not Guilty slammer. You decide!
Sure, you could read the press of the time to really recall or understand public opinion during the notorious, world-famous trial, or you could just buy a bunch of pogs and learn that way. For those resourceful enough to opt for the latter option, bid away while you still can.