Can You Identify These '80s Items That Were Once All The Rage?

By: J. Scott Wilson
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Can you spot the difference between an Atari 2600 and a Sony Walkman? Know a hair scrunchie from hair metal? Could you distinguish between "St. Elmo's Fire" and "The Breakfast Club" using just a single screen capture? If so, you might have what it takes to totally rock this quiz on all things '80s!

The Netflix series "Stranger Things" got a lot of attention when it premiered in 2017. Not only did the show feature precocious child actors and an enthralling storyline, but viewers were fascinated by just how well the series captured the essence of the '80s. Yet despite on-point wardrobes and decor, what you see on screen can't come close to matching the real thing.

Kids in the '80s had it made from a pop culture standpoint. Technology-wise, '80s kids were the first to have a Nintendo or Sega Genesis system in their own home. Saturday morning cartoons were better than ever before, with "My Little Pony," "Transformers" and "Masters of the Universe" dominating the airwaves. The Brat Pack was all over movie screens, with John Hughes rolling out guaranteed classics all decade long.

And let's face it....fashion has never been cooler. From slouchy socks to parachute pants to hair teased to the sky, '80s style was totally rad.

Think you remember which trends were all the rage during the '80s? Take our quiz to prove it!


Leg warmers evolved from the aerobics craze. Think of them like gloves for your calves ... if that works for you.

Who didn't get addicted to the Rubik's Cube at least for a little while in the '80s? Of course, once you learned to take the stickers off, you could "solve" it in minutes.

Simon seemed like a simple game: The four colored lights blink in sequence, then you try to copy the pattern. It was all fun until things speeded up and your eyes crossed trying to follow it.

Merlin was one of the first attempts at a handheld game system. It had a set of red LEDs and a few games, and it ate batteries at a huge rate.

Hair scrunchies were a must-have fashion accessory in the '80s. They came in a limitless array of colors, and usually girls in cliques would wear matching ones ... like Preppy gang colors.

The Atari 2600 marked the big shift from arcade to home games. The graphics were ridiculously awful. The games were either hilariously simple or completely impossible ... and it sold millions.

Pringles rocked the snack world when they hit store shelves. The chips, sold in a can to keep them from being broken, now come in a panoply of flavors, including chicken ramen.

"The Breakfast Club" was THE movie for all the cool kids from the John Hughes pantheon. Some of us even tried to get detention in hopes of coming up with a group this cool.

Pudding Pops were the Cosby-endorsed frozen treat of choice for moms tired of cleaning Popsicle goo off car seats. They were in every freezer in the '80s, and then suddenly just ... disappeared.

Izod shirts were the must-have accessory for the casual Preppy. Even Preppy girls wore them.

Take all the loud guitar of a Zeppelin cover band and add a gallon of Zep hair gel and you've got hair metal bands. It was often puzzling that the guitarists didn't get their locks tangled in their strings.

In the '70s, skateboards were made of wood and had metal trucks. In the '80s, plastic boards with poly trucks made the skateboard more nimble, and the injuries it caused far more garish.

M.C. Hammer bears responsibility for the popularity of parachute pants. Bonus points if yours came from Chess King at the mall!

"St. Elmo's Fire" essentially rung down the curtain on the Brat Pack era. Many of the cast members had developed off-screen substance abuse or other issues, and they were all too old to play teenagers anymore.

The Walkman revolutionized exercise culture in the fitness-obsessed '80s. No longer were you limited to whatever your Radio Shack Flavoradio could pull in on your jogs. Now you could jam to the Pet Shop Boys while running!

Pac-Man was unlike anything else in the arcades when it debuted. There were no explosions, no spaceships and no bad 3-D graphics. It was just a little yellow blob running around a maze ... and it made millions.

The '80s culture was obsessed with fitness, and of course that led to any number of gadgets. The Abdominizer promised to grant six-pack abs in return for faithful use ... and laying off the Pringles.

Everything from Zumba to CrossFit in today's fitness world owes a debt to aerobics. It was the first fitness craze that encouraged people to get together and exercise in groups.

Infomercials were still in their infancy when the Thigh Master hit the market. However, half an hour of watching Suzanne Somers go through a PG-13 rated workout made them a popular ad medium.

The birth of the Helicopter Parent can be traced to the fad that brought about Baby on Board signs. Soon, the parody signs appeared, with "Child in Trunk" being the funniest.

The Koosh ball was the perfect passive-aggressive plaything. You could throw it as hard as you wanted, and never hurt anything.

The Atari 2600 was good while it lasted, but the Nintendo NES blew it away. There were far more games, and other than occasionally hyperventilating while trying to blow out the cartridges, it was a ton of fun.

Super Mario Bros. took the humble plumber from Donkey Kong and gave him his own world. It's still around, having jumped from platform to platform in ever-more-amusing iterations.

The boombox was a must-have accessory for '80s music fans. The best ones had dual cassette decks and detachable speakers.

The Bone Fone was an interesting, if short-lived, invention. It was a flexible speaker that wrapped across the shoulders, putting the music directly into your skeleton.

The Moonwalk was Michael Jackson's signature dance, and he made it look easy. Millions of suburban kids who dislocated their ankles trying to do it weren't so skilled.

The pastel shirt became a must-have fashion accessory thanks to "Miami Vice." Don Johnson used them as part of the layered look, which let clothing stores sell twice as many shirts!

Paisley started out as a tie pattern ​but quickly branched out from there. Soon there were paisley shirts, paisley wallpaper ... and of course Prince's Paisley Park mansion.

​Woe be to the toy store that ran out of these dolls during the Cabbage Patch Kids craze. Grandmothers exhibited acts of shocking brutality in hopes of seizing one for their grandkids.

Deely bobbers were one of the silliest crazes of the '80s. They came in a dizzying array of designs, and the coolest ones even had battery-operated lights!

While they've enjoyed a current resurgence, there was nothing like the Smurf mania in the '80s. Smurf dolls were everywhere, and the animated Saturday morning show was a big hit.

Slap bracelets were a fairly harmless fashion accessory, with a metal strip surrounded by fabric or vinyl that snapped around the wrist. The same idea is now being applied to koozies.

In the '80s, every college quad and park space was littered with groups of college students playing Hacky Sack. With a nimble foot, you could keep one in the air for quite some time.

Inline skates were a merging of ice skating and roller skating. They let skaters go much faster, but also led to far more spectacular injuries.

Swatch was that rare '80s rage that was actually a well-made item. The watches were reasonably priced, durable and attractive. The brand is still around!

Who didn't want to be Ferris at some point in the '80s? His antics gave even the most cloistered high-schooler hope for the future.

If you were a suburban teen whose parents didn't have Mustang money, the Fiesta was your best hope. They weren't very attractive, but they were durable, could hold a surprising amount of stuff and didn't use much gas.

Thanks to music stars like Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, guys trying to look cool and tough wore headbands all the time. This did not serve them well in job interviews.

Growing out of punk culture, the Mohawk was a haircut that made a statement. Specifically, that statement was, "I don't ever wish to have an executive-level job."

Jean jackets were another fashion must for the rocker kids. Of course, ​they had to come with tons of patches from concerts, places you'd been and, if you were cool, a "Don't Panic" button.

I hope the folks who make Ray Bans sent Tom Cruise a hefty check. Thanks to "Risky Business," Ray Bans became the sunglasses of choice for everyone wanting to look cool.

Neon clothes were one of the most unfortunate fashion crazes of the '80s. Lime-green short sets, iridescent purple pants and eye-scorching shirts were just some of the insults perpetrated on our eyes.

Madonna was largely responsible for the painter hat craze. She wore one in a couple of videos, and soon people who'd never seen the business end of a roller were wearing them.

Moms who were looking for a healthy snack for their kids but didn't have great reading comprehension bought these by the ton. They were basically Jello in flat form, without much nutritive value.

Thriller was a ridiculously successful album that cemented Michael Jackson as the King of Pop. Its title video revolutionized MTV, taking a three-minute song and making a mini-zombie movie out of it, complete with voice-over by Vincent Price.

MTV debuted with "Video Killed the Radio Star," and the Buggles weren't far from right. While videos existed, MTV gave them an uninterrupted channel to a starving youth populace.

For no discernible reason, every jacket sold in women's wear stores in the '80s came with shoulder pads. The fad was taken to ridiculous extremes with David Byrne's big white suit in the "Stop Making Sense" concert.

Members Only jackets were a must-have for the Preppy culture. They were basically windbreakers with elastic bands around the bottom, but they sold by the millions.

Friendship bracelets were an affordable, colorful way to show someone you cared. At least that's how they started. It didn't take long for different cliques to adopt their own colors, making them a sort of Preppy tribal insignia.

The California Raisins were an animated singing group that plugged their product via a series of singing commercials. They were amusing, but couldn't change the fact that raisins are largely inedible bits of dried plant matter.

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