Children in the 1980s enjoyed many similar, timeless hobbies as children generations before and after them, such as sports, collecting memorabilia and watching classic Saturday morning cartoons. The decade was a very specific time in popular culture that also spawned some new and unique hobbies, some of which were born in the '80s and endure today, others which have since lost popularity.
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Home Video Games
Home video gaming had launched in the 1970s with early systems by Magnavox, Atari and Coleco, all of whom introduced gaming systems capable of playing simple, preprogrammed video games. The fad seemed to be dying out in the early 1980s until the North American launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. The NES featured removable game cartridges, giving gamers access to potentially unlimited games, something early competitors lacked. Now, the video game industry earns billions of dollars annually and Nintendo is still a strong competitor.
Comic books were not new in the 1980s but it was in that decade that they became a marketing tool for popular culture. Cartoons were based off popular comic book series and pop culture icons like the New Kids on the Block, Guns 'n Roses and Hulk Hogan all starred in their own comic books in the 80s. The comic company Revolutionary launched Rock N' Roll Comics in 1989; each issue featured a different, popular rock act.
The high drama of professional wrestling has long been a popular hobby for fans of all ages, but it was during the 1980s when the leading league, the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment), brought wrestling into the mainstream in a big way. Many of wrestling's enduring superstars rose to fame in this era none higher than Hulk Hogan. The hype surrounding Hogan was of such proportions that it became known as Hulkamania and the moustachioed muscle man was featured on all manner of merchandise, from lunch boxes to action figures to the aforementioned comic books.
Although skateboarding had been around since the 1950s, by the end of the 1970s the sport had entered the second great slump in its popularity. The 1980s saw innovation and revitalisation through a do-it-yourself attitude: skaters built their own ramps and even improved boards in ways that allowed them more freedom of terrain. Trick riding gained popularity and young fans of the sport looked up to idols like Tony Hawk, who has made a career in skateboarding and related merchandising.
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