I recently saw a post on Facebook in a group I’m a member of called “Back to the 80’s” that triggered a string of memories. The post was about video games from the 80’s that we spent a lot of quarters in.  

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In the 1980’s, a lot of my exposure to video games was in the local “big box” store.  

In the front of the store, beside the quarter candy and toy dispensers is where the games were kept. If mom was going shopping for things that I didn’t need to be a part of, I'd hang in the little entry way playing the games.  

Actually, I’m not good at video games, I guess I have no hand-eye coordination. But I’d watch the other kids and occasionally drop a quarter or two.  

Here are some of the games that stood out to readers in this group, how many did you play or at least remember? 

Pole Position-

This racing simulation game was released in 1982 and licensed by Atari. The better you did in the game, the better the competition got and trickier the tracks you raced on became.  


This game was released in 1981 and according to a quick google search, was the first game to be designed by a woman. This was one of the more popular games for the Atari 2600. The goal was to shoot pieces of the centipede and the more pieces you shoot; the field gets more narrowed down Centipede is said to have had a strong following among women.  

Space Invaders-

This game was designed in 1978 and licensed to Midway Entertainment. A very popular game of destroying the invading alien ships to move to a higher level. The higher the level, the faster the invading ships would come at you. One of my favorites, though I was never good at it.  

Dig Dug-

This game was developed in 1981 and marketed in 1982 by Atari. The characters in this game were described as cute and that aided this game being addictive. The goal of the game was to either inflate the enemies until they burst or crush them with rocks. 

Donkey Kong-

Developed in 1981 with a task of helping “Mario” save “Pauline” from Donkey Kong. To do this, “Mario” had to successfully reach the end of one level to get to the next and closer to the goal of saving his love. 

 It is said that this game was supposed to feature Popeye, Olive Oyl and Bluto, but the proper licensing could not be obtained, so the characters were reshaped, given new names and thus as they say, the rest is history.  


This popular game was released in 1981 as the follow up to a game called “Galaxian”. The game was designed by Namco and released by Midway Entertainment. Similar to “Space Invaders” you moved from level to level after destroying all the enemy spaceships on each level. My wife loves this game; I bought her a tabletop version for Christmas this past year.  

Other games that got mentions included: 


Pinball Machines 



Famous People Who Visited St. Cloud in the 80s


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