Popular Pastimes of the 1980’s

The 80's Blog May 09, 2014

For a lot of kids today, the 1980s seemed like the Dark Ages. There were no Internet, people used typewriters all the time, and there were no smartphones. So just what the heck did people do for fun during those times?

Popular Pastimes Of The 80s

Before there was the internet or cell phones, people in the 1980s had to find ways to entertain themselves. However even with the seemingly archaic technology options, many who grew up in the 1980s would say it was one of the most fun times to be alive.
So what were the most popular pastimes of the 1980s?

Here is a list of a few of the most notable 80s pastimes:

1. Video Games

While today’s’ kids may debate on and on about the virtues of console vs. PC games, the 80s was pivotal for the development of video games. While it was a $5 billion industry at the beginning of the decade, by 1983 critics were calling it a fad due to flagging sales and unoriginal games.

But the industry bounced back in 1985 with the release of the original Nintendo entertainment system console, and the advances in PC games made sure that video gaming will never again disappear from our consciousness.


2. Rubik’s Cubes

This infuriating mind-bender was an unlikely craze, but soon enough quite a few kids were fiddling around with colored Rubik’s cubes trying to get them back to their original configuration. It was so popular that today it is widely recognized as the top-selling toy of all time.

Since it was launched in 1980, more than 350 million units have been sold. In 2011, it sold 7 million units. Not bad for what was supposed to be a tool to teach students about spatial relationships in 3D objects, developed by a professor in Interior Design.

rubiks cube

3. BMX Bikes

Bikes before BMX were either leisurely rides or designed for races across paved roads. But then BMX came into the picture, and the daredevil era of cycling was born. While it started back in the 1970s, it was during the 80s that it achieved its peak in popularity. Today, BMX competitions are popular all over the world. You can also blame the BMX for the laws which mandated helmets and pads for cyclists today.

bmx bikes

4. Skateboarding

This has been around since back in the 1950s, but it was in the 1980s when just about everyone was skateboarding to school—or at least tried to. Part of its popularity was the distribution of skateboarding video tapes across the nation, and movies like Back to the Future certainly helped.


5. Trivial Pursuit

Today, everyone who loves trivia can just go online and participate in trivia quizzes, or they can watch Jeopardy. Back in the 1980s they played Trivial Pursuit, and as one of the best board games of the 1980s it sold an estimated 20 million units in 1984 alone. Since the decade heralded the emergence of the nerds, the game appealed to a lot of people, including parents.

trivial pursuit

Browse Popular 80s Games And Pastimes On Amazon Here

6. Listening To Boom Boxes

These were the obnoxiously loud portable radios and tape players teenagers brought with them on the streets for background listening or impromptu dancing. Boomboxes were instrumental to the rise of rap music.

Listening To Boomboxes Was A Popular 80s Pastime

7. Going To The Arcade

The 1980s was the golden era of video games, and their popularity grew of course with people playing their favorite arcade games at the local arcade. There’s a reason why we remember some of the best arcade games of the 1980s, and it’s because many associate them with fond memories of their youth.

I mean who remembers placing a quarter on the ledge of the screen to “keep your place in line”, or returning to your favorite game to see some punk knocked you off the high score list? Ah those were the good ol days.

8. Watching Video Rentals

People in the 1980s people spent much of their free time watching VHS and Betamax movies from their local video rental store. I mean who remembers goin down to your favorite video store, grabbing a movie, and then watching it with your friends over some pizza and soda?

Over time VHS eventually won the video rental war, and popular chains like Blockbuster took the video rental store global. But many of us in the 1980s will fondly remember watching our favorite movies at home in front of our tube television.

So those were some of the most popular ways that people passed time during the 1980s. Did you think we missed something?

The 1980s was a time where the technology was nowhere as advanced as today, and these seemingly primitive ways to entertain ourselves at the time seemed quite revolutionary.

Browse Popular 80s Games And Pastimes On Amazon Here

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