By the 1980s, low-tech toys were already falling out of fashion. Home video game consoles were the hot holiday gift in 1980, and as is the case with any new technology aimed at children, parents were apprehensive. To see how the world responded to the rise of gaming that year, check out the video below.
This clip from the ABC7 Eyewitness News vault shows news anchors reporting on the popularity of “electronic video games” more than four decades ago. These games didn’t have the sophisticated graphics or gameplay of today’s titles, but early adopters found plenty to love about them. As one reporter put it: “The kids like to see the action, the color, and they love hearing the noise.”
These consoles also lacked the capacity to depict realistic violence, but that didn’t stop them from spreading panic. According to the clip: “Some argue that players get so hypnotized by these games that they have little time for anything else.” One kid who spoke to reporters admitted to spending “six or seven” hours a day playing video games.
Despite fears over screen addiction, video games have remained a perennial item on holidays wishlists. Nintendo debuted the NES in the U.S. in 1985, and the Gameboy arrived four years later. And while tearing kids away from their controllers can be just as hard today as it was in the ’80s, the technology does offer some benefits. Playing video games has been shown to boost your vision, your hand-eye-coordination, and your leadership skills.