Children's Games of the '80s

Updated April 17, 2017

During the 1980s, the most popular children's games were board games and video games. Board games allowed kids to play with a group of friends or family. Video games during the '80s moved from being available only in arcades to being in the home, thanks to game consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the hand-held Game Boy.

Hungry Hungry Hippos

Hungry Hungry Hippos, made by MB games, was a simple game for two to four players. The game had four plastic hippos around a square. The hippos had a lever which you could press to make them "eat" marbles. You put the marbles in the middle of the square before the game started, and when they had been "eaten" by a player's hippo, they rolled down into a collection area. The player who collected the most marbles won.

Mouse Trap

Although it was invented during the 1970s, Mouse Trap was a hugely popular game in the '80s. You had to set up an elaborate "trap" and then proceed around the game board. When an unfortunate player's mouse counter landed on a specific space, you would roll the marble, which started a chain reaction resulting in a trap coming down over the player's mouse.


Tetris was extremely popular during the 1980s. It was originally released by Nintendo on the NES and the Game Boy, but was actually created by Moscow's Academy of Science. The aim of the game is to rotate falling blocks so that they will fit together with no gaps between them. When a gapless line of blocks is created, it disappears. The game ends if the blocks pile up and reach the top of the screen.

Super Mario Bros.

The first three Super Mario Bros. games came out during the 1980s. Mario, however, was originally a minor character in the Donkey Kong games. Super Mario Bros. games were first available on the NES, and later on the Game Boy. These games started out as basic platform games, but the third in the series had additional features, such as power-ups and mini-games. New Super Mario Bros. games are still being released today for the Wii and the Nintendo DS.

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