Retrocon 2024

7 Games That Were Incredibly Popular in the '80s

7 Games That Were Incredibly Popular in the 80s

If you lived through the eighties, you’ll remember it as a bright and fun time to be alive. Clothing was colorful and made to be worn to do exciting things, snacks came in every shape, size, and variety you could possibly imagine, TV and movies were overflowing with adventures, and futuristic sci-fi films and games were at their weirdest and most wonderful. For those of us who grew up in the eighties, a sense of nostalgia goes along with games from that era. We remember playing with our friends on Friday nights at sleepovers or with our families on Sunday mornings. Even if you weren't born as far back as we were, eighties nostalgia is alive and well! Many popular things back then have re-emerged in modern formats, but it's the original formats we adore. There are a lot of board games from the eighties that have really held up well: bingo games, crazy trap games, building games…the works! If you have a little spare time on your hands this holiday season, why don't you try a few?

Trivial Pursuit

This was a family game through and through, but let us tell you from experience that it caused more than a few squabbles! If you liked feeling smarter than your siblings, you always had to win at Trivial Pursuit. This game was released onto the market at the end of 1979, and its seemingly never-ending sets of question cards could keep you entertained for hours at a time. The board always looked the same: like a weirdly colored wagon wheel. Each roll of the dice is a chance for the player to one-up the previous player and topple them from their throne of intelligence. The questions covered topics like sports, literature, music, science and nature.

80s Flashback Bingo

Though this game wasn’t released in the eighties, it was too cool not to include! This pop-culture time capsule will have you in stitches at how people used to talk, act, and dress. The packaging is also suitably eighties, so you get the whole experience! Random bingo cards, 48 tokens, all with eighties flavor.

The Dark Tower

Well, we told you the eighties were weird: here is an excellent example of that weirdness! The Dark Tower was released in 1981 to much fanfare. The eighties was when the role-playing craze was at its peak, and a fantasy game like this, which included an actual model of a tower and little figurines, was the perfect choice for a Milton Bradley game. The medieval, fantasy-like storyline asks you to defeat the evil within the tower. The game has lost none of its original charms and is worth playing if you can get your hands on a set.

Mall Madness

There's nothing more eighties than going to the mall. So many people spent so much time at the mall in that decade that they actually made it into a board game! An exciting set to look at, Mall Madness encapsulates all the fun and excitement of a weekend trip to the mall to get some new clothes, visit the food court, or just do some window shopping. It was the perfect way to get people out of the mall while still allowing them to have fun that felt like being at the mall!

Girl Talk Date Line: The Talking Dating Game

While the title is a mouthful, this game is quintessentially eighties and a lot of fun to play on a wild Friday night in. You and your girlfriends would get together on your fluffy bedroom rug, with snacks aplenty and a crush apiece to daydream about. The game came with an electronic phone handset with pre-recorded messages corresponding to where you were in the game. You'd set everyone up on dates, find a date for yourself, and see whose went best.

Dungeons and Dragons

Though this is technically a tabletop game and not a board game, because there is no board, only a twenty-sided die, Dungeons and Dragons was hugely popular in the eighties. It caused an uproar among parents and a craze among kids. You could make up intricate characters completely of your own design, and the worlds you could create were limited only by your imagination. Dungeons and Dragons is one of the most popular games that the world has ever seen, and it's still played by many, many fans today.

Guess Who

Before Carmen Sandiego was even a glint in her mother’s eye, there was a whole other generation of young ones becoming amateur sleuths to find out Who they were playing against in Guess Who. This game came out in 1982 from game giants Milton Bradley and was an excellent way to spend a few lazy hours. You'd have to get your detective hat on for this one and figure out which character your opponent was playing as. Asking the weirdest questions often got the best results!

Wrap Up

These wacky games kept us entertained throughout the eighties and for years. If you can get your hands on any authentic, original sets, you’re in for hours and hours of family-friendly fun.

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  1. I was an 80s kid but never played most of those. Trivial Pursuit was huge but the others...... nerds played D&D and the rest I never heard of. I'd have to ask though, how could you leave off Jenga??


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