15 August 2016


My sons were kids in the 1990s and one of them became obsessed with a fad game of the time call pog.  By osmosis, I learned about things like slammers and helped him both buy, make and organize his collection in tubes. The fad bled over to include characters from Pokemon and sports card collecting. A comic book shop in our town even ran tournaments for a time where you competed against other kids.

The game was also known as "milk caps" but the brand name "Pog" was more popular and that capitalized version is owned by the World Pog Federation.

In that odd way that origins sometimes go, the p-o-g of the term comes from a brand of juice made in Hawaii by Meadow Gold from passionfruit, orange, and guava. In its earliest incarnation, players used Pog juice and also milk bottle caps to play the game. This early, pre-commercializtion of the game seems to have originated in Hawaii in the 1920s or 1930s.

The current Pog juice product via products.lanimoo.com

The origin of the game has also been associated with Menko, a Japanese card game that goes back to  the 17th century and that used circular disk cards in a similar way to compete.

Menko cards
The use of the caps as a game and collectible in 1990s was popularized by the creation of the World POG Federation and the production of the game by Canada Games Company using the Pog brand name in the 1990s.

The Pog fad grew quickly and peaked quickly in the mid-1990s. I don't know that it is still played very much, but the game is still available for purchase and I found an active collection of links to new pogs and accessories online in places like Amazon.com and eBay.

I also see that more modern characters, like Angry Birds pogs, have appeared, so there may be some life still in the game - and maybe some resale value in my son's collection. Now, if those Beanie Babies that he also collected would only have a resurgence in value...

My son's version of the game

I found that besides the game and drink the word is also associated with the POG FC football (soccer) team, Port-Gentil Football Club, which is a Gabonese club based in Port-Gentil, Gabon.

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