The 1980s marked a period of significant change for society. Now referred to as “The Decade of Greed,” the 1980s showcased the power of materialism, but also represented a period of iconic pop culture references, catchphrases and some of the most popular trends to date. With this in mind, it is no wonder that the 80s remain a nostalgic sweet spot for so many people. Here are some of the things only people who grew up in the 1980s will remember.

The Video Games

The 80s was the decade of gaming for a generation of kids. Games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and Asteroids were incredibly popular because they represented a new kind of interactive experience. Though these games were often seen as rudimentary compared to today’s video games, at the time they were ground-breaking.

The Music

During the 80s, music took a new direction from earlier decades, and became more synth-focused. This type of sound was characterized by iconic bands such as Duran Duran, The Human League, and Depeche Mode. MTV paved the way for videos to become an integral part of how we consumed music with groundbreaking videos like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” or Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”.

The Movies

The 80s was a hotbed of unforgettable characters and cult classic movies. From E.T, Ghostbusters and The Breakfast Club to Die Hard, Gremlins and Top Gun, so many classic films defined the decade. It was an era where the big studios began taking risks, which resulted in the production of some of the most memorable cinematic moments of all time.

The Television

The 80s was an incredible decade for television. Sitcoms, soap operas and all sorts of shows lit up TV screens, thanks to the development of cable television. Aside from showcasing existing shows, the 80s saw the creation of much-beloved series, such as Cheers, The Cosby Show and Family Ties.


Toys were a huge part of the 80s-era childhood experience. Barbie dolls were incredibly popular and inspiring, while other must-have toys of the 80s included Transformers, He-Man, Cabbage Patch Kids, and My Little Pony. As well as the physical toys, board games were all the rage, especially Trivial Pursuit, Cluedo and Operation.


The style of the 80s was like nothing seen before, and featured vibrant colors, acid-wash denim and loud patterns. Legwarmers, shoulder pads, big hair and headbands became incorporated into the street fashion of the decade.

The Popular Culture

Aside from the fashion sense and the iconic trends of the 80s, the well-known sitcoms, ads, and slogans made a huge impact on the decade’s pop culture. Popular phrases like “Where’s the beef?”, “Eat my Shorts”, and “I’ll Be Back” still remain in our common language today.

The Big Events

The 80s was a decade full of memorable events and significant moments in history. It was the decade that saw Reagan’s inauguration, Gilligan’s Island leave our screens, the death of John Lennon, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the introduction of Lifetime’s TV network for women.

The Technologies

The 1980s saw the very beginnings of technology as we know it today. The first cell phones were invented by Motorola, the IBM PC was made available to consumers, the camcorder was invented, and Nintendo’s GameBoy was born.

The Video Rentals

Video stores across the country filled shelves with blockbuster movies. Customers had to go in store and browse to find their movie of choice. Watching a movie at home was a whole other kind of experience. It was an exciting pre-Netflix era that is now fondly remembered.

The Cringe & Quirky Fads

The 80s was a decade filled with some hilariously cringe-worthy trends, that we look back on with a combination of embarrassment and nostalgia. The infamous aerobics video ‘Sweatin’ to the Oldies’ by Richard Simmons is a prime example of this. Choking slogans like ‘Git R Done’ were also incredibly popular. Other trends included pogo-sticks, hoverboards and tying your laces in a Christmas Tree bow.

The 1980s will undoubtedly remain a memorable and iconic decade for many. Looking back, it was a period of unprecedented change, filled with unique trends and fads that will forever remain embedded in our collective memory. Whether it’s the music, the movies, the toys or the technologies, many of these cultural touchstones still remain relevant to this day – making the 80s an exciting and nostalgic period in history.