The 1980s were a time of great changes across the board, from changes in world politics to changes in style, music, and tech. But one thing that the ’80s gave everyone (besides those funky bangs) was the array of entertainment choices that we still enjoy in some form today.

If you were a teenager in the ’80s, chances are you were really into Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson, or RATT among many others. But beyond those crinkly posters tacked to the wall in bedrooms of teens everywhere was a common theme among youngsters of the time.

The 80s gave teens of all ages a number of choices when it came to entertainment. And a few of these are still around today, only in much more modern formats.

Here, we’ll explore the entertainment from the 80’s that all teens loved.

Home Gaming

Where the arcade was home to some of the best computer games, during the early 80’s the Atari brought those games into the home for the first time.

Truthfully, Atari was released in the United States in 1977, but it wasn’t until a few years later that the gaming system became truly popularized with games such as Pac-Man, Q*Bert, Donkey Kong, and the like that hit the market in the early ’80s.

Teens would gather in rec-rooms across the country to play Atari. But the Atari 2600 was still an expensive piece of equipment at the time. Even in 1977, the standard home system cost around 200 dollars. Just for perspective, that’s the equivalent of about 900 dollars worth of purchasing power today.

However, the Atari met with an untimely demise due to most of the games being subpar in graphics. In fact, not many of the games beyond Pac-Man and Frogger were considered graphically appealing. And with the unveiling of the Nintendo NES in 1986, the Atari was buried in the dust of pop culture.

Home Computers

Home computers weren’t nearly as common as they are today during the ’80s. But for those who had access to a home computer, teens could easily entertain themselves in a variety of ways.

In 1980, Usenet, the brainchild of Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, was beginning to get noticed outside of academic circles. And for all of the retro nerds and computer geeks of the ’80s, this became the Holy Grail.

Usenet was one of the very first online message boards. As such, a user could log onto Usenet and download information, post information, and send messages to people with other computers.

Today, Usenet is still active and operates largely in the same fashion as a network separate from the Internet. In fact, you can access Usenet via the Internet today though it’s recommended that you do so using a quality Usenet service provider.

Street Sports

It might be hard to believe, but kids in the ’80s weren’t known for being indoors. This was the era of latchkey kids, and many teens simply didn’t want to be stuck inside when not in school.

To entertain themselves, many kids in the ’80s engaged in numerous outdoor sporting activities. And these ranged from streetball to cul-de-sac kickball and good, old-fashioned sandlot baseball.

Numerous outdoor activities were available for kids and teens in the 80’s, and the many parks that we have today were typically packed on the weekends and when school let out for the day during the week.

Skateboarding was also perhaps the most highly popularized activity during the ’80s, but you had to become a part of this special subculture which usually meant a teenage life lived apart from the popular crowd.

Teens today have their devices. But teens in the ’80s had to be creative and use what few modes of entertainment were available at the time. And though this often meant a trip to the arcade on the weekend with a fistful of quarters, you can be sure that teens in the ’80s were content with the entertainment choices available.

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