That fifty quid was earmarked as spending money for a trip to America to visit my sister, who'd inadvertently married an American called Jim-Bob (not a joke - he grew up in a swamp, drove a pick-up truck, took a pair of shotguns camping with him, and wore dungarees).
Visiting American shops - full of Star Wars toys you couldn't get back home, and which I would've desperately loved to add to a collection I no longer owned - was the sort of deep irony Alanis Morissette could scrawl a song about.
But there weren't just Star Wars toys on those American store shelves. There was something brand new jostling for space - a new range of toy robots that turned into cars and planes and Sony Walkmen.
Over the next couple of years Star Wars faded away, while those transforming robots became The Next Big Thing. Meanwhile, I was busy struggling to be a teenager, only tangentially aware of kids buying those toys, enjoying those cartoons and comics... Yet somewhere in my subconscious I linked Transformers with the abrupt end of my childhood. Somehow... it was to blame. "Transformers killed your innocence", whispered the little voice. "You hate Transformers".
Don't get me wrong; I've tried to understand Transformers. I've seen the films, barring the last one, in a bid to try and wrap my head around their popularity.
Yet, I've not enjoyed a single one of them. Indeed, I literally had a bout of diarrhoea during the first sequel, and had to leave the cinema.
I remember reading a cover "exclusive" in a games mag many years ago, which misled the reader into believing the publication had some sort of exclusive info on a new Transformers game. In reality, the piece was entirely speculative, merely over-enthusing about the potential merits of what a Transformers game could offer. Something clearly written by a fanboy, and that irritated the lungs out of me.
Well... this is probably that speculative game, some 20 years later... and the established story for it - if you read the current crop of reviews - is that it's far better than anybody was expecting.
Except: no it isn't. It's just sort of alright. It has visuals that look like an iOS game (because they're trying to recreate the look of the 80s cartoon series), gameplay that cribs from Bayonetta (while jettisoning some of the balletic flow and depth), chronically bland level design, and about five hours worth of life.
Oh, but wait... it's got the shitting Transformers in it, so let's give it 10/10.
I don't care how authentic Transformers Devastation looks and sounds. I'm not a Transformers fan, so all I'm seeing is a sub-par game starring a bunch of dorky robot characters.
It's a game that seems to be getting by on the strength of its faithfulness to its license, but I defy anyone to play this and think it's on a par with - say - something like Shadows of Mordor. Or Batman: Arkham Knight. Or Alien Isolation. They were just as faithful to their source material, but didn't look, feel, and offer the same value for money as an iPhone game.
Transformers fans: stop kidding yourselves. And Transformers-loving game reviewers: stop telling people to buy this. Pick a handful of other reviews of this game, and most of them seem to praise it for how successful it channels nostalgia. Is that really sufficient?
The basic, Bayonetta-lite, controls are fine - it feels meaty and visceral - but the battles between the Fartobots and their evil counterparts the Decreptivorbs take place in such achingly dull, repetitive, profoundly un-engaging arenas, that the fights just become a trudge.
Has my loathing of Transformers blinded me to this game's qualities? No. It's just meant I've not been blinded to its flaws, like others seem to have been. Transformers: Robots in disguise (as an iOS game).
SUMMARY: The opposite of this: "Oooh! Look! This thing looks exactly like a thing I really liked when I was 12 years-old! 1,000,000,000%!!!".