80s Awareness

ZeldaToday I saw Kevin Bacon’s video campaign to raise awareness for the 1980s and this is my bit to support him and 80s awareness. I am an 80s kid. Millennials, can you even imagine a world in which you have to write down phone numbers, go outside for fun, and meet people face to face?

Here are some of the things we had to deal with back in the days before tablets, MP3s, and video games so real that couch potatoes actually consider careers as a sniper.


A little thing called D&D, my friends. I was a combat-tested cleric capable of 3rd level spells and healing potions. I know what you’re thinking – hot! We used to spend rainy days on Mike Barr’s porch, eating bologna sandwiches and getting genuinely freaked out by non-virtual zombie and ogre attacks. We were a simpler folk.

Later on, there was Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Brothers. This social network involved all the kids from our street gathering in the one kid’s wreck room who actually had the game. When there was a tech problem our IT department (John) took care of it by slapping the top of the Nintendo and then blowing into the slot.

If that didn’t work, we went outside.


How, you ask, did we ever live without Mp3 players? We did have them, but we called them “cassette players.” In the 1980s, we had to go to a place called a “music store” in order to buy physical cassettes. What’s more, we only bought one at a time. I know, crazy. Can you imagine the inconvenience of being forced to buy one cassette instead of downloading an artist’s entire catalog in 10 minutes? It was a real pain falling in love with one album before moving onto the next. However, as your cassette player ran out of batteries you got to hear what your favorite musician would sound like possessed by a demon.

Youtube? Not so much. For music videos, which were, you know, all the rage, we had to rely on a thing called MTV. MTV was an entirely different entity back in the 1980s, because it used to show – get ready for this – music videos. No joke. Wrap your head around that, young’ns!


If you were lucky, your dad had the Playboy channel or Cinemax (after 11 pm: Skinemax). And at night you could sneak downstairs and peruse. If he didn’t have it, you could fiddle with the dial enough to allow the screen to show you some boobs through streaky lines. Then you could tell your friends about it the next day, being sure to distance yourself from intent by saying, “I was flipping through the channels, when…” This phrase has morphed nowadays to “A friend sent me this crazy clip,” or “On Reddit there was this video…” Because, let’s be honest, whether it’s the 1980s or now, you never want people to know what you went out looking for to satisfy your sexual curiosity.

If your dad didn’t have Playboy Channel or getting downstairs at 2 a.m. was tough then you had to improvise with the magazines under your dad’s bed. Sometimes some of the older kids left a stash in the woods. Then you used the 1980s porn generator: your imagination. See, Miss September was usually bent over a stool or lying in some hay and not doing the things that you really wanted her to be doing. Therefore you’d have to go to your room and think her into all the scenarios you wanted her to be in.

Millennials, who do you think makes the porn you are watching now? That’s right, 80s kids.

Adventure games

Yes, at the risk of sounding clichéd, we called this “outside.” In my little corner of the world we had three venues for our adventures: the woods, the deep woods, and the deep deep woods. This is where we created adventures that lasted all day and usually ended with someone bleeding or at dinnertime.

Outside adventures were where we got attacked by real life arachnids called ticks and got skin blemishes not associated with sitting on the couch too long or avoiding sunlight to an unhealthy degree.

Dating Websites

You really had to navigate a social minefield to date in the 1980s. Things usually started off when you met a person and had a thing called a “face to face conversation.” Then, if you had interest in them and some courage, you could go on a thing called “a date.” You often arranged this by picking up a telephone, calling the person, and talking to them (and one of their parents) for a short period of time. Then you could go to the movies or hang out at the mall.

If you had no such person or lacked courage, never fear! You could go to a place where human beings around your age congregated in clothing they wouldn’t wear again until an 80s-themed college party. This was called a “school dance.”


Our tablets were called trapper keepers. Mine, since I was a trendsetting cool dude, had a Lamborghini on the cover. This is where we kept all of our school notes, homework, and calendars.

It was tough living in the 1980s, you had to know when to peg your jeans and play D&D.

Calling all 80s kids. What else was there?

  1. #1 by Mirkitty on March 13, 2014 - 4:26 pm

    Beverly Hills and all their morals!

  2. #2 by Mary Widdicks on March 13, 2014 - 6:20 pm

    Plus, whatever happened to rock stars with longer hair than mine, wearing makeup and leather pants?!? I miss Bon Jovi…

  3. #3 by greg galeone on March 13, 2014 - 8:12 pm

    And might we travel farther back to the fifties where our entertainment centered around an object called a “pimple ball”. a rubber ball with lines of raised “pimples” on the surface for grip purposes. With this we were able to play a variety of games like wallball, stepball, wireball, boxball, stickball and when it punctured you would cut in in two and play halfball. This revered item cost one dime-10 cents. I do believe we got our money’s worth.

  4. #4 by Eddie on March 15, 2014 - 4:28 pm

    I think I missed out on a good portion of my child hood lot trying to “beat” the legend of Zelda. Also I vaguely remember playing D and D once and I just didn’t understand it. I just remember, and I think it was Mike Barr actually, telling me after a roll of the dice, “Ed you are pretty much a frog, a fast frog, but your definitely a frog”

  5. #5 by Kelly on March 20, 2014 - 3:01 am

    I completely forgot about the cassettes slowing down when the batteries began to wear out! And speaking of the Playboy Channel and Skinemax, remember scramblers? I never had one but my cousin did. It was this illegal box or wire or something that you attached to your cable and it got you every single channel for FREE! Leaving us kids to immediately be turning to the abundance of now complimentary porn. And adventure games were my absolute favorite. I was like one of two girls in a neighborhood full of boys so I always got to be the hostage. It was awesome, as well as quite telling when I relayed my enthusiasm for this role to numerous future boyfriends. In fact, I invented GPS. When I was playing war in the woods behind my house I always used to carry a drawn out version of a tracking device that would tell my platoon where the enemy was hiding. If only I had patented it.

    • #6 by Damien Galeone on March 20, 2014 - 11:55 am

      Hm…some played doctor, you played hostage. You have had some damn interesting evenings in your life, haven’t you, K? And why aren’t you writing a book about this, again?

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