From Mario to Mousetrap: What Gaming Looked Like Back in the '80s

The '80s were sometimes a very strange place when it came to gaming. Some things looked very much like what we have today while other gaming options were, let’s just say a little more "left field." If you didn’t live through the '80s then you should know that for the majority of the decade we didn’t have the cutting edge technology that we have today. There was of course no internet which meant no online video gaming or playing virtual casino games on Novibet. The '80s were very much the precursor to the types of gaming which we have now in terms of video games, but we also enjoyed some less technical games that gathered us around a table or a neighbor's backyard.

Board Games

Board games were what families were playing throughout the '80s, gathered around the kitchen table to enjoy some good clean fun. Games like Trivial Pursuit, Mousetrap, Taboo, Pictionary, Axis and Allies along with familiar favorites like Monopoly and Cluedo (or Clue in North America) were still being played during the '80s, much like today. While video games were popular, they hadn’t totally taken over which meant board games were incredibly popular.

Video Games

Video games had already started to enter into the culture as early as the '70s as arcades were viable businesses and home systems like the Atari 2600 were released commercially. However, the industry was almost destroyed in the early '80s because the allure of computer gaming was great, but the quality of the games wasn’t quite there. Also with the prices extraordinarily high, it would take some years and the technological advancements before the video gaming industry recovered, and boy did it.

In the mid-80s, the Nintendo Entertainment System was released, becming the best selling game console of the decade and the one which changed everything. The NES offered games like Duck Hunt and Contra not to mention the game which took Nintendo to new levels of success, Super Mario Brothers. The popularity of Nintendo didn’t go unchallenged and in the late '80s, the incredible Sega Mega Drive (or Sega Genesis in North America) was released, a follow-up to the Sega Master System but far superior in every way. This Nintendo and Sega battle continued into the '90s and while home computer gaming was still popular, these two brands completely switched up the fortunes of the gaming industry. As the decade ended, it was Sonic v Mario, Game Boy vs Game Gear and Sega vs Nintendo wherever you looked.

Backyard Games

Something that has been lost in many schools and neighborhoods today are the backyard games which we once loved. In the '80s, there were plenty of outdoor activities going on and here are just a handful of them:


One person in the middle of the field and everyone must run past them without being touched whoever gets touched joins the bulldog in the middle, until there is just one person left.

Skipping Rope

The abilities of young boys and girls on the skip rope has never failed to amaze and we would do this all through our school lunch break. The kids sing songs and swing the rope, the contenders would show off their skills by jumping over it in madcap ways. 


Each player takes a turn to be ‘It’, when it is their turn they must throw a ball up high, and try to catch it as the other players run as far a way as possible. if the ball is caught, the players freeze and the person who is ‘It’ must try to hit a player with the ball, who will then get the letter S (P,U,D if they already have letters) once you get SPUD, you’re out.

Backyard games required very little but offer a huge amount of fun.

As you can see, there were some similarities and some differences with gaming back in the 1980s. If you were a child back then, which ones do you remember?
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