Games from the 80s


A decade of gaming history

You will disagree with our list. We already know that, because we sent out early draft versions to our closest friends game designers, journalists and publishing execs and they all disagreed with us.

We listened to them and we argued and we negotiated and wheedled until the final list represented the world view of all of us here at Edge, and of some of our friends in the business. But not one of us not one single person involved agrees with every game on this list, or thinks its in exactly the right order, or does not harbour at least one game they really think should be on this list. Not even me, and Ive spent the last three months working on this, not to mention the last 30 years playing games or writing about them.

Some of these games are fun to play, even today, and some of them have been vastly surpassed in the intervening years by smoother, better-looking games that took what was there and improved. Thats what games designers do. Our criteria here is not how do these games stack up against the games we make and play today. Our criteria is which games of the 1980s do we owe the greatest debt to because they innovated so much at the time, and because they represent all that is best about original game design.

Its also, which games do we remember most fondly and, in this regard, we are aware that you will have an entirely different perspective. Nostalgia is a troublesome thing. We cannot possibly represent everyones golden memories of an entire decade, nor should we try.

50. Raid On Bungeling Bay (1984)

This was the game that spurred its author Will Wright to become embroiled in all those Sim games. Although Wrights first commercial title, Raid On Bungeling Bay was an enormously ambitious creation. What initially appears to be a polished, but typically single-minded eight-way scrolling shoot-em-up, is actually something rather more subtle and devious, with players flying over enemy islands where the urban sprawl actually evolves, grows factories and dispatches ever-more-deadly military technology. That changing landscape concept, along with some of the map visuals, would later work their way into Sim City.

49. 3D Deathchase (1983)

3D Deathcase is a reminder of just what could be achieved with a paltry 16K of memory back in the early days of the home computer. Lifting the speeder bike sequence wholesale from Return Of The Jedi, 3D Deathchase seemed almost comically single-minded even in an era of simple pleasures. Yet what it does, it does flawlessly, ratcheting up the challenge of bobbing and weaving through a forest while blasting at enemy bikes, tanks and helicopters, until either nerves or reflexes ultimately give out. Little wonder it remains so fondly remembered by UK gamers of a certain age, and why almost a decade after its release it was ranked as the best ZX Spectrum game of all time by Your Sinclair magazine.

48. M.U.L.E. (1983)

All but ignored at the time of its release receiving little critical acclaim and selling poorly, despite the publishing power of Electronic Arts M.U.L.E. is now rightfully acknowledged as one of the most groundbreaking videogames of all time. Though an update of the age-old Kingdom formula at heart, M.U.LEs innovative single screen multiplayer mode and arcade-style take on resource harvesting and economic strategy helped create a game style that would ultimately lead to the Civilization series, Dune, Command & Conquer and countless other real-time strategy titles. Author Dan Bunten (later Dani Berry) died in 1998, before completing an online version of the game.

47. Impossible Mission (1984)

Impossible Mission was the game that introduced many C64 owners to voice synthesis for the very first time. Stay a while, stay forever! bellowed the players unseen nemesis at the start of a heroic, against-the-clock battle across multiple screens populated with platforms, lifts and robots. Possibly even more sinister was the digitized scream that accompanied the many inevitable deaths that followed. One side effect of the somewhat cheeky title is that many gamers of a certain age still have trouble correctly naming a certain 1960 TV spy show (and the associated Tom Cruise blockbusters).

46. Scramble (1981)

Along with Space Invaders, Asteroids, Centipede and Galaxians, Scramble is undoubtedly one of the all-time classic first generation videogames, helping to play a crucial role in the rise of the coin-op in arcades and bars throughout the USA and Europe. Scrambles USP was sideways scrolling, with players piloting a craft over mountainous landscapes, through tunnels, and over cities replete with alien craft, missile silos and fuel dumps. In addition to Konamis own semi-sequel Super Cobra, its a formula that also went on to influence games like Vanguard and R-Type.

45. Lode Runner (1983)

It was generally the text-based adventurers that made the transition from the minicomputer platforms of the 1970s to the home computers of the 80s, but Lode Runner is an honourable exception. Bizarrely, architecture student Douglas Smith originally coded his ladders-and-levels chase game for the VAX system, before rebuilding it and refining it for the Apple II. Though maddeningly addictive in its own right, much of the games popularity and enduring appeal can be attributed to inclusion of more than a hundred levels, along with an editor enabling gamers to fashion countless more. Lode Runner even transitioned to the arcades, while variants continue to thrive to this day.

44. Star Raiders (1979)

Granted, the first iteration of Star Raiders hit shelves at the tail end of the 70s, but its subsequent appearance on other Atari formats at the start of the following decade legitimises its inclusion here indeed the 5200 version is arguably the superior, thanks to that consoles analog controller. With its fast-moving starfields, deep space dogfights and hyperspace effects, its little wonder a world in thrall to Star Wars fell so deeply in love with this game. Although preceded by one or two space-based 3D coin-ops, Ataris Star Raiders is the game that laid down the blueprint for a space opera genre that would later be inhabited by Elite, Wing Commander, the X-Wing Vs Tie Fighter games, and Egosofts X series.

43. The Sentinel (1986)

Sir Geoff Crammond spent much of the nineties placed on a pedestal in recognition of his Formula One racing simulations, but for the more cerebrally inclined it was his earlier, weird and wonderful foray into puzzle-based games that inspired real devotion. Its hard to fathom how Crammond actually conceived such an odd blend the chess-style powerplays, energy absorption , and virtual reality-style, procedurally generated 3D chequerboard landscapes but for whatever reason it worked (and still works) beautifully. Crammond gave his blessing to an official remake from Psygnosis just over a decade later.

42. Lords Of Midnight (1984)

Released at a time when other games might offer ten, twenty, or gasp even a hundred locations to explore, Lords Of Midnights canny ability to somehow squeeze almost 4,000 into a mere 48K of memory was nothing short of incredible, and the ability to view each of these from multiple angles **and** in 3D pretty much revolutionary. Somewhat shockingly, Lords Of Midnight creator Mike Singleton also appreciated that size isnt everything, and so the vast, Tolkien-indebted game world merely served as the backdrop for a mammoth turns-based blend of role-playing, wargaming and strategy. Even today, game developers struggle to combine so many game strands so seamlessly or conjure up such a fully formed fantasy world.

41. Pinball Construction Set (1983)

Having already introduced the very first pinball simulation to the Apple II format with Raster Blaster, PhD student Bill Budge inadvertently stumbled upon fame, a degree of fortune, and the honour of inventing a whole new kind of computer game, with the creation of this follow-up. With the ability to drop pinball table components onto a blank canvas and even modify the physics governing ball behaviour, players were effectively handed a game of infinite possibilities. Electronic Arts, who snapped up publishing rights, went on to sell almost a third of a million copies and further develop the idea with a number of other Construction spin-offs. Budges game also made a belated appearance on the Genesis platform in the 90s, under the name Virtual Pinball.

Vintage, innit (Picture: Tinderbox Games, MB, Hasbro)

Video games; whinging one way or another about Brexit happening or not happening; drinking triple whiskies alone at home on a Sunday night and crying about the bleakness of it all: all these things have superseded board games as the UK’s favourite national past times.

But back in the 80s and 90s, these trusty little blighters helped while away many a long summer holiday and dull Chrimbo Limbo afternoon.

17 of the best classic board games ranked

Sure, they may not be as popular now as they were then, but if you haven’t played one in a while, here are 14 of the best from the 80s and 90s to remind you what you’re missing.

Maybe it’ll even tempt you to look in the back of the cupboard and dust one-off to relive Christmases past, or try out some of the best from the 21st century for adults.

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1. Hungry Hungry Hippos

There is literally no skill or strategy involved whatsoever in Hungry Hungry Hippos.

It’s a game of chance and don’t pretend otherwise.

In board game terms, boasting you were the master at Hungry Hungry Hippos as a kid is about as impressive as saying you drew the biggest childish graffiti scrawl in the Louvre’s toilets.

Or doing the loudest burp in the crowd during a Pavarotti concert.

Or producing the smelliest fart ever produced by a human in Venice’s St Mark’s Square.

You get the idea.

(Picture: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

2. Guess Who

A lovely game illustrating the process of elimination.

But much better was playing it judgementally to reflect what you thought the characters’ personalities would be.

‘Does she look like she’s the type to be absolutely thrilled to be on jury service?’ (I’m looking at you, Claire)

‘Does he look like the kind of monster that enjoys Hawaiian pizzas?’ (That’ll be Frans)

‘Does he look like he’s realised he’s left the oven on at home while delivering the keynote speech at the corporation’s AGM?’ (Oh, Robert)

And many more suggestions that are just too rude for a family website.

Mostly, playing like this, you actually guessed who your mate had on their card correctly.

3. Trivial Pursuit

Sure, it’s fun.

But what you’ve gone and got there, mate, is just a really pricey quiz night.

Look, it doesn’t even need a board.

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4. Mousetrap

What a brilliant idea Mousetrap seemed on paper; or on the telly ads that goaded you into buying it.

A fiendish booby-trapped board game.

You couldn’t wait to see it work and trap your opponent’s mouse

But despite an hour’s hard work between you and your cousin Simon to set it all up, you realise you’d muffed it all up when the diver does a reverse ferret off the wrong side of the board and the trap failed to spring.

At which point you throw the whole thing in the box and banished it to the attic forever.

We’ve all been there (Picture: Hopper Stone/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

5. Ghost Castle

A bunch of kids get locked in a haunted house and have to find their way out, while pursued by a bunch of undead psychopaths.

You know, in hindsight, Ghost Castle was pretty bleak.

One of the ways to get knocked out, for example, was for a skeleton to beat your kid up.

Or get knocked out with a human skull.

Or have your character get literally frightened to death.

Wonderful fun, though

6. Cluedo

Ah, murder: the obvious theme for a fun, family game.

But despite the bloody plot device, Miss Scarlet, Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum have etched themselves pretty well on the public consciousness for characters who are nothing more than a headshot on a card.

7. Scrabble

You mainly got this out to see who could spell the rudest word.


Playing it seriously never worked; again, this was one that always ended in a squabble, because your mate, Big Trev, would insist capital cities were legal words to play.

(Picture: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

8. Super Cup Football

‘What, no Subbuteo?’, I hear you cry.

No way, Grandad! Try not to dry your tears on the green pitch that never lay flat, no matter how many times you ironed it, or stapled it down furiously to a board.

Super Cup Football was where it was at in the 80s. This had electronic throw-ins and corners and players that moved across the board thanks to the modern miracle of batteries.

Subbuteo is still a thing though, lovely though that is, but Super Cup Football has seemingly disappeared in the mists of time, proving there is no natural justice in the universe.

Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair.

9. Game Of Life

Go to uni, have some kids, attain your villa in the sun and flashy cars and retire early.

That’s the 80s version of Game Of Life.

Nowadays, realistic astonish-ya-chums status symbols would be renting a £1,200PCM one-bed studio flat with mice and damp in Zone 6, Netflix and NOW TV subscriptions, and a pension you can retire on… when you hit 83.

10. Test Match

A wonderful game featuring a batsman forever suspended on a plastic archway, and a bowler who, when not in play and getting on with daily life, presumably had to walk around with a massive chute attached to his hand.


The less said about the state of the poor wicketkeeper (who is essentially reduced to a couple of plastic claws for hands), the better.

In theory, you could play this with 21 other mates and carry out a whole Test Match, as the name suggested.

In practice, you played it for five overs, tops, before your mate Baz got bored and swung too enthusiastically for a six, sending, batsman, fielders, pitch, and groundside drinks flying off the table.

At which point you’d go outside and play it for real instead.

11. Lost Valley Of The Dinosaurs

An absolute belter from Waddingtons.

A bunch of adventuring bounty-hunting teams coincidentally all discover a lost world filled with treasure.

Trouble is, that realm is guarded by a bunch of fierce T-Rexes, an over-sized pterodactyl, and a bizarre swamp creature that the creators seem to have taken a few historical and biological liberties with.

Also, despite laying dormant for millions of years, the resident volcano has decided that the moment your intrepid chaps turn up is the time to start spewing out deadly lava.

Ah, bugger.

But it made for a cracking game when you saw your mate’s final treasure-hunter get munched up by a giant dino, leaving your path free to gain that treasure haul.

Apart from the lava trail, of course. And the swamp thing. And the Pterodactyl.

You players are all doomed, is what I’m saying.

12. Go For Broke

Monopoly in reverse; have a million quid at the start of the game and try to be the first to lose it.

Notable for its incredibly fun, but somewhat dubious get-the-kids-into-gambling casino in the middle of the board.

13. Operation

The poor bloke had a toaster in his stomach, a bucket in his knee and a spanner near his foot (‘wrenched ankle’ – arf!).

There’s only so many injuries a patient can have before ‘unfortunate’ starts looking ‘irresponsible’

14. Monopoly

Of course, Monopoly gets on this list purely by default.

The rogue-landlord training device was, and is, so popular, it was practically sent through the front door of all households in the 1980s.

But Monopoly is the type of game that only seems like a good idea at the start.

Sure, everyone has a good time to begin with as players accrue their empire on London’s streets.

And Uncle Geoff keeps on making that joke about the money like no one had ever thought about it before.

But it goes on forever.

And the accusations start over who’s pinching cash form the bank when the banker goes to get a sherry.

Every single game of Monopoly ever played has surely remained unfinished, either through sheer boredom, or in someone’s divorce.

But, despite this, it’s somehow united families for generations, especially during the festive season, and acted as a gateway to many other board games.

And, for that, long may its reign of pure, terrible, unrelenting tedium continue.

MORE: 15 hen do games that will really break the ice

MORE: 14 PlayStation games all 90s kids wanted

MORE: 7 classic PlayStation One games that need a remake

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How To Find & Play 1980s & 1990s Console Games On Your PC

The modern landscape of video games is chock-full of exciting new releases, but sometimes the latest and greatest won’t scratch that retro itch. Every so often, the urge strikes for a quick round of Sonic the Hedgehog or Mortal Kombat, but we don’t all live in mansions lined with retro consoles or the appropriate setups to enjoy them with.

But you’re likely reading this article right now on the very thing that can allow you to quench your thirst for all things retro console gaming: your PC. Yes, it’s very possible to play old console games from the ’80s and ’90s (and earlier!) on your PC, and you don’t have to go around the law to do so.

If you’ve got some time, a PC capable of handling rudimentary graphics, and a burning desire to go on a retro gaming bender, there are plenty of ways to do so, all without spending a dime. Get ready for a blast from the past.

How To Find Classic Console Games Online

Ready to embark on your search? While there are plenty of dubious ways you can obtain games on the internet, we certainly don’t want to get you on the wrong side of the law.

Luckily, you don’t have to partake in any shady activities to play some of the games you miss the most from your childhood. There are plenty of them hiding in plain sight, but others you may have to dig a bit for. Here are a few great stops you should make on your quest to find classic console titles on your PC.

The Internet Arcade (via The Internet Archive)

Thanks to The Internet Archive, you can play nearly 1,000 classic console games online without having to leave your browser. Head on over to The Internet Arcade, a massive emulation project that let you explore a wide variety of classic games without downloading any potentially malware-infested files or trying to find an emulator that will run the game you’re looking for.

From Burger Time to Lode Runner, there’s a ton of different titles you can jump right into in the blink of an eye. By using your keyboard to control each game, you can jump into a fantastically retro gaming session on a moment’s notice, and jump right off the page when you’re doing playing. No muss, no fuss, and you don’t even have to look very far to find it.


If you’re ready to ride the retro wave, prepare to hit the motherlode. ClassicReload is home to a wide variety of classic games across platforms like the Sega Genesis, Atari 2600, Commodore 64, TurboGrafx-16, ColecoVision, and more. There’s a wide variety of PC titles to level out the massive collection, too.

Each and every game is playable in your browser, so you don’t have to go out of your way or do any extra work to get them to run. Plus, the site is always adding new archived software for you to check out.

If you prefer to play with a game pad, it supports those as well. Perhaps the real challenge will be hiding it from your boss and pretending to be busy?


If you’re tired of console games and want to spend some time with PC games, check out the Abandonia archive, which is home to a massive repository of downloadable games released for the PC between 1980 and the late 1990s.

There are thousands of titles hosted here, all for your downloading convenience. Best of all, you can grab as many games as you want to your heart’s content, because they’re all covered under the “abandonware” free software clause. This means that it’s essentially computer software that has been “abandoned” by its owner and is no longer being supported or sold.

The Abandonia team ensures every game hosted on the site falls under these guidelines before uploading, and as such has created a massive collection of games for you to sift through. If you’re looking for that favorite childhood game you forgot the name of years ago or just want to browse, this is your best first stop.

Keep in mind however that you will need to download the free DOSBox emulator if you want to be able to play these games on your computer, as they are not optimized for modern PCs, and may require special tweaking to get to work properly.


By now, you should have a modicum of places you can head to online to both find and play your favorite console games from the ‘80s and ‘90s on a PC. While there are still others that exist in a legally grey area, we recommend sticking to those that are above-board. With so many titles out there available by legal means, how could you ever have time to do anything but that, anyway?

Just remember, the next time you have a hankering for blowing out that NES cartridge slot or cleaning the yellow grime off of that Super Nintendo, you’ve got alternatives. You’ve got the internet and your PC – what a time to be alive.

12 Board Games We Played In The 80s

80s board games were the best. From Operation to Mouse Trap, everyone in the 1980s used to keep themselves amused with their favourite game. I used to get a board game every Christmas without fail. I was also an only child, which made the two player ones a tad awkward until I could get a mate round on Boxing Day. I owned ALL of these, and still actually have a few left.

In the article below, we’ve listed 12 awesome board games that we used to play in the 1980s. Scroll down the article below and prepare for some serious nostalgia. Enjoy!

1. Ghost Castle

We’ve all played this right? Make your way around the castle, trying to avoid the traps and shut the coffin lid so the glow in the dark skull can’t attack you. Bless that glow in the dark skull.

I melted mine by trying to make it glow EXTREMELY BRIGHT and holding it against a light bulb for as long as I could. I was a stupid child.

2. Game Of Life

The game that lets you test out adult life before you get it forced upon you. Not on one of the cards did it tell me how much fun getting up at 6am and cleaning up after my two kids, cat and elephant-sized-poo-making dog would be. You sold yourselves short there MB Games.

3. Mr Pop

Throw all those features from your selected card on the face before the head snaps up and hurls them into the air. As you can see by the picture above, these children have selected the card of ‘the man your mother wouldn’t sit next to on the bus’.

4. Blockbusters

Did you know Bob Holness the classic 80s host of Blockbusters once played James Bond in a South African Radio rendition of Moonraker? That’s obviously well before he managed to get us all saying “Can I have a P please Bob”, then crumbling into Rik Mayall-esque laugh snorting.

The same as the TV show, without the students. Pick your letters from the board and attempt to complete a line before your opponent does.


5. Guess Who

Guess the which character your opponent has by asking shrewd questions about the character’s description. Or sit opposite a mirror, which I got away with for months. There’s lots of bootleg versions of Guess Who around. I recently saw one entitled ‘Who Is It?’ which made me consider doing this article!

6. Mouse Trap

Looks nowhere near as brutal as the one my Uncle has in his shed. When a game takes as long to set up as it does to play, your parents knew they were on to a winner.

7. Escape From Atlantis

What a game! Get your selected team of unlucky sailors to safety, while avoiding sea monsters, giant squid and sharks. The island is built from three dimensional pieces, which you break down during the game’s progress.

I’ve had this game since 1986 and still have the odd game with my children. Now there’s value for money.

While video games became popular during the 1980s, board games actually ruled in many households back then. It was a swell way for kids to pass the time especially during the long summer days, and in some cases whole families played together even before “family bonding” became a catchphrase.

Take a look at some of the board games that enthralled us for hours and hours back in the 80s:

  1. Trivial Pursuit. This is one of the most popular board games of all time, and part of its charm is that it tested how much useless information you’ve retained through the years. It’s also been critically lauded as well, and parents appreciated its educational aspects. It was a devil to complete, however, but it really was fun. This was especially true for adults and nerdy kids.
  2. 80’s Trivial Pursuit Commercial

  3. Monopoly. Now it’s understandable if you object to this game’s inclusion on this list. After all, it was first sold back in the 1930s and it had earlier versions dating back to 1903. It’s still played today, and it even organizes world championships! Others may also complain that its design is not all that great either. Nonetheless, its greatness lies in its very compelling nature. Even though it can go on for hours on end (the longest game on record lasted 70 days straight), it really captures your fascination. It made generations of people into avid capitalists! Back in the 1980s, it seemed like every household owned a Monopoly.
  4. Scrabble. Again, this was a 1980s staple game though it was invented in 1938. People still play it to this day, either as a board game or a computer game. Back in the 1980s, it even became a daytime game show. People’s fascination with expanding vocabulary was partly due to crossword puzzles and this particular game.
  5. Boggle. This was a 1970s creation but it was a bestseller in the 80s. Its simplicity was part of its charm. You just shake the cube and letters appeared randomly, and you list words you can form with the letters shown.

  6. Boggle

  7. Pictionary. This became an overnight success when it was first released back in 1986. It was simple, as one person would draw pictures while the others try to guess the word represented. Players with artistic talents can team up with kids with large vocabularies.
  8. 80’s Pictionary Commercial

  9. Clue. This was a murder mystery game that fostered many kids’ aspirations to be detectives when they grow up.
  10. 80’s Clue Commercial

  11. Snakes and Ladders. For many young kids, it wasn’t Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly which started their love of board games. Instead, it was this very simple game that required mostly luck to win. The roll of the dice determined if you win or lose. That’s a lesson that many picked up early in life.
  12. Connect Four. This game was tic-tac-toe on steroids, and yet it offered a chance for you to develop a winning strategy.
  13. 80’s Connect Four Commercial

  14. Hungry Hungry Hippos. This was a 1980s fad game that fascinated many young players at the time, and it didn’t need skill or strategy.

  15. Hungry Hungry Hippos

  16. Sorry! This game was quite complicated even then, and new rules just made it more incomprehensible even for those who played it in the past.

When you’ve got a power outage or you’re out camping with your family, games like these can help you pass the time.

Down to the memory lane! We present to you 4 super nostalgic board games from 80’s-90’s. They are truly a unique and special part of our childhood and we can’t forget the fun times we had playing these games.

Mouse Trap

In Mouse Trap you took turns building the Mouse Trap as you moved around the game board in order to use it to capture your opponents’ mice. If you were the last uncaptured mouse on the game you won!

Mouse trap was a funny and interesting board game on which we spent a fair amount of time playing as kids. It was exciting to build the trap step by step and make things moving and watch the trap slowly falling on the mouse – yours or your rival’s!

  • Age: 6+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Playing Time: 15-30 minutes

Nostalgic Board Games | Go For Broke!

Go for Broke was like Monopoly except in this board game you were actually trying to bankrupt yourself instead of being the richer player.

It was a classic roll and move game with easy rules and simple gameplay. You received one million dollars from the bank and raced to be the first player to spend all of your money. There were cards, tiles with specific actions and spinners which determined the outcome of the game.

  • Age: 8+
  • Players: 2-6
  • Playing Time: 60 minutes

The Grape Escape

The object of the Grape Escape was to be the first grape to make it through the Jam Maker and escape from the Jam factory.

First you had to construct the Jam Maker and after you had picked your own grape goop (which was a variety of Play-Doh brand mondeling compound) you could mold your own grape man.

It was really addictive seeing your playdough grape men get smashed by various traps; there were a giant boot crushing them, scissors cutting them in half and many others.

  • Age: 5+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Playing Time: 15 minutes

Nostalgic Board Games | Crystal Maze

The Crystal Maze was the official board game based on the popular UK Channel 4 TV game show of the same name that ran from 1990 to 1995 and was hosted by Richard O’Brien.

In Crystal Maze you had to travel around the four time zones (futuristic, medieval, Aztec and industrial) and collect a crystal in each time zone. In order to win the crystal you had to pass a challenge. If you were the first player to collect four crystals you earned the advantage to go to Final Round in which all players took a turn to catch the most gold tokens inside the crystal dome and win the game.

Crystal Maze was an excellent board game with smart riddles and nice design. It was our go to option for game night with friends.

  • Age: 8+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Playing Time: 60 minutes

So, have you played any of these vintage games?

Which are the games that you remember from your childhood?

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10 Games That Every 80s Kid Had

Games were a great way to keep us entertained in the 80s and so we always had a variety to choose from. Some of them could be played on our own and others required a friend. Either way, all we had to do was pick one from the pile that we had in the closet to let the fun begin. Here are the games that you had in that stack:

1. Perfection.

With this game, you had to put all the right shapes in all the right spots before the time ran out and everything popped out. It used scare me when it did that!

2. Hungry Hippo.

This one was best played with a friend and you had to hit the lever until your hippo ate all of the marbles that were rolling around. It was a loud and exciting game.

3. Monopoly.

This was a very involved game that took many hours to play. The purpose was to dominate the board with real estate and win all the money in the process.

4. Operation.

This game was pretty scary as well. You were supposed to get out all the parts of his body without touching the sides because when you did it would make a loud noise and his nose would light up.

5. Barrel Of Monkeys.

This was less of a game and more of a test of skills. You had to get all of the monkeys out of the barrel by using the tails and arms of the monkeys until they made a long chain.

6. Trouble.

The cool part about this game was how the dice was rolled inside the middle of the dome. All you had to do was push on it and it would pop and roll the dice.

7. Checkers.

This was the most classic game in your collection. Everyone knew how to play it.

8. Memory.

This was a great way to test your memory skills and it made you feel good to get it right.

9. Chinese Checkers.

When you were tired with the same old checkers game, you could try this version which was a bit harder.

10. Connect Four.

This was an easy and fun game to play.

Totally Awesome80’s theme party ideas!!


The 80’s was a very unique era of time. It was full of loud colors, extreme fashion, sky high hair, and forever defining music. To throw an 80’s theme party, you’ll want to include as many 80’s nostalgic ideas and items as you can. There are tons of fun ideas to help you make your theme party truly memorable and tons of fun.



The 80’s were defined by its music. Above all else, if you are planning on throwing this theme party you will need to buy or put together an awesomely 80’s playlist. Make sure you include some hits from the famous music icons that ruled this decade!

  • Michael Jackson
  • Madonna
  • Airsupply
  • Prince
  • Tiffany
  • U2
  • The Police
  • Aerosmith
  • R.E.M
  • Bon Jovi
  • Whitney Houston
  • Tina Turner

TOTALLY 80’S song picture scramble

This printable game can be played with as few or as many players as you want because there are five different ways to play.

Players compete to combine cards to create names of popular 32 hit 80’s songs. For example the cards below create the song:


You can play as teams or individuals, whatever is best for your group. See full details and game play.

totally 80’s trivia treasure hunt

Our printable Totally 80’s Trivia Treasure Hunt game challenges your guests to solve eight awesome 80’s clues. Players divide into teams and tries to be the first one to find the You Win card. Clues are fun and interesting and come in full color high resolution PDF file.


The next best part of having an 80’s party is dressing the part. Make sure to invite all your guests to put together their best 80’s outfits. There are tons of fashion fads that scream 80’s: legwarmers, spandex, dark sun glasses, side ponytails, high tops, excessive rubber bracelets, fingerless gloves, male earrings, shoulder pads…. The list goes on and on. Check out only80s.com for a fun list.

To encourage guests to go all out with their wardrobe, offer fun prizes for:

  • Loudest Make up
  • funkiest outfit
  • Biggest Hair
  • Most rubber bracelets

Try to come up with some cool categories of your own! For prizes I suggest staying with the 80’s theme. Consider Rubik’s Cubes, 80’s buttons, the Twister game, fun 80’s movie DVDs, etc…


Let your guests show off their funky 80’s skills by having some nostalgic talent contests at your party. Some fun ideas include:

  • Break Dancing Contest
  • Lip-syncing Contest
  • Air-guitar Contest
  • Moon-walking Contest
  • Rubik’s cube contest

pin the glove on michael

This is a D.I.Y theme party game to celebrate the King of Pop, and definitely the King of the eighties! You’ll need an iconic poster of Michael Jackson that has a close up of the hand. Check out these Michael Jackson posters from amazon.com.

To create the sequined gloves for pinning, trace a copy of the sequined glove onto a piece of paper, make copies for each guest onto card stock paper, glue on sequins or glitter, and have fun! Have a blast blindfolding each player and letting them try and tape their glove onto Michael’s without peeking. Great nostalgic fun!

80’s candy Name game

Our printable Candy Name Game challenges your guests to remember their favorite 80’s candy with a fun word play challenge. Would a candy by any other name taste the same? I don’t know about that, but your guest will be given an alternative name to 12 different candies and must come up with the correct candy name to score. Player who answers the most correct wins.

Game sheets come two per page, answer sheet is included. This game is ready to PRINT & PLAY for your upcoming 80’s Party.

  • Pop Rocks : Wouldn’t be the same if they were called “Exploding Stones”
  • Nerds : Wouldn’t be the same if they were called “ Dorks”
  • Now and Later: Wouldn’t be the same if they were called “ Immediately or in a Whiles”
  • Pixie Stix: Wouldn’t be the same if they were called “ fairy twigs”
  • Jawbreakers : Wouldn’t be the same if they were called “Mouthcrackers”
  • Fun Dip: Wouldn’t be the same if they were called “Amusing Dunk”
  • Lemonheads: Wouldn’t be the same if they were called “Sourbrains”

classic 80’s movies

Why not have some iconic movies from this decade playing for your guests? Consider some of these classics:

  • 16 Candles
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Revenge of the Nerds
  • Breakfast Club
  • Police Academy
  • Ghost Busters
  • Goonies

80’s scene it game

You can test your knowledge of this iconic decade by challenging your friends to the 80’s edition of the Scene It game! This game will determine who remembers the most about this rockin era. Jam-packed with trivia and filled with 80’s themed on-screen challenges, it includes more 80’s movies and music clips than a Betamax library!


Write as many 80’s related clues as you can think of on slips of papers. Your friends will have a blast trying to act out nostalgic themes and trying to get the rest of the players to guess what or who they are.

  • Terminator
  • Alf
  • Slap bracelets
  • Parachute Pants
  • Back to the Future


Twist your way back in time and get tangled up with your friends in this nostalgic game?

Give the spinner a whirl and see what’s next as you try to keep your hands and feet on the mat! Right hand green! Can you do it? Left foot red… you got it! Be the last player standing to win.

classic 80’s party kissing games

Remember the classic teen kissing games of the 80’s? Get up close and personal while playing these famous games:

  • Seven Minutes in Heaven
  • Spin the Bottle
  • Truth or Dare

Refresh your memory of the rules to these games and others like them in my Kissing Party games section!

rockin’ 80’s decorations

Last but not least, you’ll need to set the mood for your party with the perfect decorations and party supplies. Here are some fun ideas for taking your party space back a few decades.

  • Cover the walls with posters of quintessential 80’s pop stars
  • Look for paper cups and plates in bold and dramatic colors. Consider neon colors, animal prints, or black and white geometric patterns.
  • Find old records at the thrift store and hang those with fishing line from the ceiling. Another idea is to hang shapes such as circles, triangles, and squares cut from neon-colored poster board
  • Get a strobe light!
  • Rent or borrow a projector to play old 80’s movies on the wall.
  • For favors check out our printable Rubik’s cube favor boxes and printable candy bar wraps featuring 80’s controller.

This Rubik’s cube favor box is a great addition to any 80’s party decor. Simply open file is adobe reader. Print, then fold along the lines and glue the flaps to make this totally awesome favor box. Each square measures 2 inch x 2 inch, and comes in 2 different style (completed Rubik, and mixed up). One box prints per 8×11 page.

instant download $3.99

Candy Bar Wrappers are a great addition to any party! They make for an easy and simple party favor to add to thank you bags, or to have sitting on tables to bring your theme to other parts of the room!

This 80’s style candy wrapper features a Nintendo controller design, with a section in the right corner for you to add your personal message. This can be up to three lines of text. To edit simply open in adobe reader and replace the generic text with your own, Voila! Print and then wrap around standard size Hershey bars.

Then all you have to do is print, cut, and wrap around standard size Hershey bars. Voila! You have the perfect fun, memorable party favor.

Wrappers come 1 per page.
Print as many as you need for your personal occasion.

Printable party invitations

I had so much fun making these. These invitations come in a INSTANT DOWNLOAD and all you have to do is open in adobe reader, replace the generic party details with your own, and then print as many as you need for your event!

These invitations capture the iconic 80’s celebrities, trends, cartoons, fashions, and flair that the 80’s were known for. Such a fun way to set the tone for your Totally 80’s party!


First of all, let me say that making that Pinterest graphic was the most fun I’ve had in a while. Golly, the 80s were ugly/amazing. I grew up in the 80s in a typical suburban neighborhood. The houses all had chain link fences, but all the fences had gates so you could get into each other’s yard. All the neighborhood kids would just kind of roam from yard to yard playing backyard games like Tag or SPUD all summer long. Thankfully, my family still lives in this kind of a neighborhood now. All the neighborhood kids play together in one yard or the other, but they never seem to be playing any actual games.

I tried to explain to my kids the fun of playing Bloody Murder (which scandalized my daughter) and Chinese Jump Rope (who NAMED these games?!), but they hadn’t heard of either of them. They have a general idea of how to play Tag and Hide and Seek, but that was it. Well, that just won’t do. It occurred to me that we 80s kids haven’t been educating our own kids about the joys of backyard games. And, yes, I am sure there are 70s and 90s parents out there who played some of the games too, I’m not trying to say we 80s kids invented them, so don’t get your undies in a bundle.

In case you need a refresher before passing this knowledge on to your kids, I wrote up the rules for some of the backyard games I remember most from my childhood. If you played different games, or played these games with different rules, please chime in in the comments. I’d love to hear all about it!


Needed: 8 or more kids, a playground ball, and a large playing area

All players count off and must remember their assigned number. Choose one player to be It for the first round. All the players gather around him, and he throws the ball straight up in the air while calling out a number. All players run away as fast as possible except the player whose number was called. She must try to catch the ball, and when she does she yells, “SPUD!” When Spud is called all players must freeze. The player with the ball must try to hit another player with the ball, and she can take three giant steps to get closer to any player. Younger players can take more steps, if needed.

Players can attempt to dodge the throw, but they may not move their feet. If a player is hit with the throw, he gets an S (or P or U or D, if he already has letters). If the player successfully dodges the throw, the thrower gets the letter. The player who received the letter, whether thrower or dodger, gets to be It for the next round. When a player has all four letters (S.P.U.D.), he is out. The last player standing wins.

S.P.U.D. is a classic game that is even fun to play as adults. For about ten minutes, then everybody is too winded to keep playing.


Needed: 4 or more kids, imagination

This is a game that the kids in my neighborhood played growing up, and it may or may not be an actual thing. For each round, one player is picked to be the Buyer and one to be the Seller. All other players are statues. The Seller calls out “GO!” and all statues must spin and twirl and dance and make crazy gestures until the Seller calls out “Freeze!” Then the Statues must freeze and hold that position. The Seller then leads the Buyer through the showroom of “statues,” using his imagination to name and describe each Statue player. The Seller then chooses one Statue to “buy.” That player then becomes the Seller and is allowed to choose any other player to be the Buyer for the next round.

We had fun coming up with silly and hilarious descriptions for each “statue.” Here you see a rare ballerina turtle in the middle of a tea party. This is a toilet repairman eating a giant sandwich.


Needed: 3 or more kids

This is a great way to get younger kids to wear off some energy. One player is It for each round. All the other players stand on the start line, while the player who is It stands 10 or more feet away, facing away from the other players. When he yells,”Green Light!” players begin to run forward, but when he calls out “Red Light!” and turns around, players must freeze. Any players caught advancing after Red Light has been called have to retreat back to the start line. The player who is It repeats the Red Light, Green Light turning process until, one player gets close enough to touch the player who is It. She is the winner and gets to be It for the next round.

Red Light, Green Light is a great game for tired adults to play with energetic kids. You can park yourself in a shady spot, declare yourself All-Time It, and bark orders to make the kids run.


Needed: 4 or more kids, sidewalk or driveway, chalk

This is one of the few games on this list that requires a defined playing area. Start by drawing a large (think 8’x8′) square on the sidewalk or driveway. Divide that large square into four equal squares; marking them 1-4. Each of the four players stands in one of these four squares and the point of the game is to stay in the #1 (or serving square) as long as possible.

The server begins by bouncing the ball in her own square and serving it into the #4 square. That player must hit the ball so it bounces into another player’s square, and so on. If a player commits an error (see below), she is bumped out of the game (in the case of more than four players) or to the #4 square. The other players then all rotate up a square.


  • Hitting the ball into her own square
  • Letting the ball bounce more than once in their own square
  • Hitting the ball out of bounds
  • Catching or holding the ball

If you have more than 4 players, a new player rotates into the #4 spot when a player is eliminated.


Needed: Large group of kids, large playing area

This is a classic backyard game that you’ve likely played a hundred times. Players are divided into two teams who line up facing each other, leaving at least ten feet between each line. Players from each team hold hands, and choose one player from the other team to play that round. The calling team chants, “Red Rover, Red Rover, let so-and-so come over!” and that player runs from the opposite line and tries to break through the line created by the calling team.

If he does break through, he chooses a player from the calling team to return with him to his original team. If he can’t break through, he joins the calling team. Teams take turns calling back and forth until only one person is left on one team.

If you haven’t gotten an injury while playing a game of Red Rover, you haven’t had a real childhood.


Needed: 3 or more kids, playground ball

This is the first of several problematically named games we 80s kids played. I am sure there is nothing Asian about this backyard game, but I do I have found memories of playing it growing up. Two holders stand a few feet apart, a large elastic band around their legs. The band makes a sort of rounded rectangle shape; this is the “jump rope.” The jumper performs a choreographed series of jumps over the band.

The rhyme I used growing up was:




At first, the holders place the band around their ankles (only an inch or two off the ground). The jumper has to perfectly complete the jump sequence four times, once jumping, once jumping and clapping the rhyme rhythm, once jumping and snapping, and once jumping with here eyes closed. When the jumper masters the ankle level, the holders move the band up to knees and finally to their waists.

There were rumors of people advancing to neck level, but I think they had to be an urban legend. No kid can beat Blindsies at waist-height.


Needed: 4 or more kids, best in a neighborhood setting

Neither of these are particularly PC names for kids’ games, but it was the 80s so nobody cared. First, you must establish home base; it can be a porch or a tree or a swing set, whatever. Choose one player to be It. She closes her eyes and begins to count slowly, “One o’clock. Two o’clock. Three o’clock….” all the way to midnight. During this time, all the other players must run and find hiding places. When the It player calls out “Midnight!” the rest of the players try to run for home base before It catches them.

Alternately, the It player is the one to hide, while all other players count to midnight. Then the non-It players reluctantly search for the “murderer” until they find him. The non-It player who finds him yells, “Bloody Murder!” and all non-It players run for home base. If a player is caught, he must be It in the next round.

So there you go. Seven perfectly good backyard games that your kids might not even know exist. Teach them the rules to these games, and they have a summer of fun waiting for them. And, maybe you can finally get some peace and quiet in the house!

More ways to keep your kids occupied this summer:



In 1980 the home computing era was just about to kick off. The ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 were both still two years away from launch, but the video games industry was in full swing.

Most games released in this period were on coin-operated arcade cabinets, but a few were developed for the mainframes found in most universities and large businesses. Some even found global acclaim.

Join us on this stroll through the archives as we remember the best games of the ’80s, starting at the very beginning, in 1980.

Or, if you’re more interested in the top ZX Spectrum games of all time, this should tickle your retro bone.

Amiga games more your thing? We’ve got that covered too.

Or, for a more hardware-based rundown of the best machines of the home computing era, try this.

10. Space Panic

Released originally as an arcade game in November, Space Panic is notable for being revered as the first ever platform game. The game’s aim is to progress through the levels, digging holes in the platforms then knocking aliens in to kill them.
The game wasn’t wildly successful, a fact which its publisher put down to its novelty – it wasn’t just the first platform game, it was also the first ‘trap ‘em up’, where the bad guys couldn’t just be shot. Apparently this was all a bit much for audiences in 1980. What on Earth would they have made of Mass Effect: Andromeda is anyone’s guess.

In 1983 CBS Electronics ported Space Panic onto the largely forgotten Coleco Vision home console – a machine which largely owed its sales success to the fact that it came bundled with the original Donkey Kong, itself often and incorrectly hailed as the first-ever platformer.


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In an era when portable video gaming had yet to hit the mainstream (the Game Boy launched in 1989), kids on the go relied on cheaper handheld electronic games for portable entertainment.

These units usually featured pre-fabricated LCDs, LEDs, or vacuum fluorescent displays (VFDs) for visuals, which meant they could usually only play one game apiece. Their graphics, with a few exceptions, were typically frozen and unchangable, only lighting up or activating when a certain event happened in a game. Sound was typically limited to bleeps and bloops, and controls were less responsive than their home console counterparts. But gosh darn it, we liked it that way.

Below, you’ll see electronic offerings of every shape and size from the big names of the era, including Nintendo, Tiger Electronics, Mattel, and Radio Shack. These units sold in toy stores, department stores, and mail order catalogs for a reasonable $15-$30 at a time when a home video game console, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) cost about $200.

While dedicated handheld electronic games like the ones you’re about to see flourished for a time, their popularity diminished greatly once handheld video game systems like the Nintendo Game Boy and Sega Game Gear became common and affordable in the 1990s. But forget that for a moment and check out a selection of 10 interesting and popular handheld electronic games from the ’80s.

(This story was originally published on Aug. 12, 2011.)

1. Nintendo – Super Mario Bros. Game & Watch (1988)

Long before the Game Boy, Nintendo launched a handheld electronic LCD game series called Game & Watch. The units displayed prefabricated liquid crystal graphics that darkened or turned invisible at the right time during game play.

As Nintendo’s home video games became more popular, the company began producing Game & Watch units that tied in to their popular franchises. Super Mario Bros. was no exception: it received its own Game & Watch translation in 1988.

(Photo: Nate Savage)

2. Tandy – Cosmic 1000 Fire Away (198x)

Radio Shack sold many electronic handheld games in the 1980s, especially through its Tandy brand. Here we see one such device, a cleverly designed three-column game inspired by Space Invaders. It used a vacuum florescent display with pre-drawn figures that lit up or extinguished based on circumstances in the game. The author spent many a car trip playing this exact game.

(Photo: Tandy/Radio Shack)

3. Entex – Electronic Baseball 3 (1980)

Entex produced a series of electronic baseball games starting in the late 1970s. They used simple red LED lights under a baseball diamond-shaped play field as a display. Here we see the last in the Entex baseball line, Electronic Baseball 3.

Sports were a common theme in electronic handhelds at the time. Mattel’s classic Football unit, released in 1977, also remained popular throughout the early 1980s.

(Photos: Handheld Museum / Tom Walters )

4. Mattel Electronics – Dungeons & Dragons (1981)

When Dungeons & Dragons wasn’t busy entrancing a generation of teenagers on paper, it lived a rich second life as an electronic game by Mattel. While bearing little in resemblance to the actual pen and paper RPG, this handheld unit allowed players to navigate a dungeon maze and slay monsters in black and white, prefab LCD glory.

(Photo: Handheld Museum)

5. Tomytronic 3-D Games (1983)

Tomy released a line of handheld electronic games with 3D stereoscopic displays starting in 1983. Every unit in the “Tomytronic 3-D” series contained two separate LCD screens and colored transparent filters, each with a slightly different set of graphics for each eye. While holding the binocular-like device up to your eyes, one could see an impressive 3D effect. The player controlled the game with buttons on the top of the unit.

(Photos: Tomy, The Moog, Modojo.com)

6. Nelsonic – Zelda Game Watch (1989)

In the 1980s and 90s, Nelsonic Industries produced a line of digital wristwatches that featured built-in playable LCD games, similar to Nintendo’s Game & Watch series of the same era.

The Legend of Zelda received its own Game Watch in 1989. In the game, Link must complete four dungeons, each with four rooms. At the end of every dungeon, Link must face a main boss that drops a Triforce piece when defeated. Not bad for a watch.

(Photos: Adam Harras / Digital Watch Library)

7. Tandy – Hungry Monster (1983)

Pac-Man (1980), a huge arcade smash hit, spawned dozens of copycat games in the electronic handheld market. Hungry Monster is but one of them. Predictably, the player’s goal is to gobble down as many pellets (in this case, green dots on a vacuum fluorescent display) as possible while avoiding Bogey, the ghost-like antagonist.

(Photo: Tandy / Radio Shack)

8. Tiger Electronics – Electronic Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (1988)

Tiger Electronics produced a diverse line of LCD-based handheld electronic games from the 1970s all the way up to 2012. While that era spans quite a few decades, one could say the 1980s marked the golden era for Tiger handhelds. That’s because the portable video game competition was slim to non-existent at the time.

Here we see one of the more popular games in its handheld line, a unit based on the NES video game Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. It features a white case and rounded form-factor that will no doubt look familiar to those who were kids in the 1980s.

(Photo: Handheld Museum)

9. Entex – Select-A-Game Machine (1981)

This Select-A-Game Machine walks a fine line between “handheld” and “tabletop.” Entex designed the cartridge-based S-A-G for potential two-player action on a table, but during single player matches, it was easy to hold somewhat upright. It included a vacuum fluorescent display with elements arranged in a 7×16 grid. Entex only released six game cartridges for this system, most notably versions of Pac-Man and Space Invaders.

(Photo: Rik Morgan of the Handheld Museum)

10. Nintendo – Zelda Game & Watch (1989)

Super Mario Bros. wasn’t the only hit NES game to receive its own handheld Game & Watch translation. Nintendo released a deluxe, two-screen clamshell unit based on The Legend of Zelda in 1989. The top screen even featured an area for a complex inventory display. Nintendo DS, eat your heart out.

(Photos: Lette Moloney)

Further Reading

  • Retro Console Paradise: A Look at Seoul’s Video Game Alley
  • The Best Retro Gaming Consoles
  • Hands On With the Nintendo Switch Lite
  • 5 Reasons To Subscribe to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Right Now
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