stickers Sticker enthusiasts bought them by the sheet and placed them in sticker albums. Styles ranged from simple scratch & sniff stickers to beautiful glitter and prismatic stickers. Sandylion and Mrs. Grossman's were two of the most popular sticker companies of the 1980s.
role-playing games Role-playing games got their start in the 1970s and became wildly popular in the 1980s. In these games, players choose fantasy characters and embark on virtual adventures, which are determined by the roll of a multi-sided dice and a published set of scenarios. Dungeons & Dragons was the most popular of these games, and gaming conventions like Gen Con had thousands of visitors each year.
arcade games The video game industry was born in 1972 when the public fell in love with a video tennis game called Pong. Old-fashioned pinball machines and shooting galleries gradually fell by the wayside as electronic games took over. The arcade industry reached its peak in the early 1980s, thanks to the success of games like Space Invaders (1978) and Pac-Man (1980).
home consoles In the early 1980s, several new consoles and hundreds of new games were released for the home market. Personal computers like the Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64 and Mattel Aquarius were also promoted as game consoles.
The console industry flourished until 1983, when a glut of inferior video games and oversaturation of the market caused the video game industry to collapse. The future of home consoles looked very bleak.
In Japan, the Nintendo Corporation chose this time to enter the American market. Their Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was released in 1985, and it completely revitalized the video game industry.
console & computer games Many arcade games were adapted for home systems, and hundreds of new games were written especially for consoles and personal computers. In the 1980s, Activision and Imagic were two of the most prolific publishers of video games. Activision players could celebrate their high scores by sending in photos of their game screens and receiving embroidered patches in the mail.
handheld games In the 1980s, most handheld video games contained only a single game. Examples included Nintendo's Game & Watch series, portable versions of arcade games like Pac-Man, and football and tennis games made by Mattel and Coleco.
In 1979, Milton Bradley's short-lived Microvision system was the first handheld game to use interchangeable cartridges. The handheld cartridge industry achieved success in 1989 when Nintendo released their immensely popular Game Boy.