What We Used To Do Before Video Games

It’s probably fair to say that the majority of households contain some kind of games console. We live in a golden age for gaming. This hasn’t always been the case though. My generation grew up in an era where you were lucky to be able to afford the latest technology. So you are probably wondering what we all did with our time? Well in five minutes you will know.

Etch a sketch

This frustrating red device took something that a lot of people find pretty challenging (IE drawing) and made it way harder. Instead of having to control a pencil you had two little knobs that you had to twiddle to try and draw a picture. It worked really well, but nobody ever managed to draw anything good with it. Still it was all fun and games.

Rubik’s cube

This may well have been invented with the sole purpose of testing the patience of its users. The idea was simple. You had a cube made up of other smaller cubes of varying colours and you had to line them up so each side was all one colour. Apparently, the key to doing this is to learn algorithms or something. I don’t know about that. But they do hurt if they get thrown at your head.

Space hoppers

These big bouncing balls had handles so you could hop around your front garden until your heart was content. They also were rather good for picking up and whacking your younger brother in the head with, or so I hear.


This “game” had the interesting effect of showing you designs on the box that were humanly impossible to recreate as you frantically whizzed your pen around inside the plastic stencils.


As good today as its always been. Especially if you want to create a family feud out of thin air. If your dad didn’t lose and toss the board in the air in disgust, was he even your dad?

Mr Frosty

This was everybody’s must-have toy. But I have yet to meet a single person that actually owned one. Weird. I have heard through the grapevine that they were rubbish but quite who supplied this information is a mystery.


This is the sound I make on the toilet after a strong curry. The game had a simple premise, pull out straws to prevent marbles from falling down a tube. How was this entertainment? Video Games truly saved us.

Battling Spinning Tops

This was actually way more fun then you might imagine. You received a spherical battle arena and launched your spinning tops into the middle aiming to be the last top standing. No skill involved at all, but it was still good craic.


Did they really ban this in schools? Is that a thing that happened? Rumour has it that it was because of nut allergies. Surely Bobby could just play with his gob closed? Conkers introduced us to the idea that a conker that had won seven battles was called a “sevener” simpler times.


I don’t think anybody actually knows the rules of this classic game. But even without any the small glass balls were good fun to play with. Later on, we even had marble runs which were also a barrel of laughs. Combined with a set of dominoes you could feasibly create your own Rube Goldberg device. And who doesn’t want that?

Top Trumps

Yes, you can still find these about today and you so should. Such a simple game but with potentially hours of entertainment.

Mouse Trap

In theory, this was an amazing game where you constructed a set of apparatus that performed a cool chain reaction. In reality, it never actually really worked. I blame the little diver. Let’s be honest he was no Tom Daley.

Went Outside!

Yes, believe it or not, we actually used to do stuff like this in the days before video games. Weird eh?

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