Old School Gaming Trivia: Classic 80s & 90s Video Games Quiz

by Yvette in Comment — Updated March 22, 2024

Welcome to “Old School Gaming Trivia: Classic 80s & 90s Video Games Quiz”! In the colorful world of pop culture, video games stand out as big stars.

Playing video games was super cool in the 80s and 90s. We had awesome games and cool consoles.

And you’re in the right place, as this article is about taking a fun trip down memory lane with classic video games.

Get ready to test your knowledge with a gaming trivia quiz! From the very first video game to the adventures of Super Mario Bros., let’s dive into trivia questions about the fun and excitement of gaming’s golden days!

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Key Takeaway

  • The 1980s and 1990s marked a golden age in video gaming, with the introduction of iconic games, consoles, and franchises that shaped the industry and pop culture.
  • Pioneering games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Street Fighter II, and Mortal Kombat revolutionized their respective genres and set new standards for gameplay, graphics, and storytelling.
  • The console wars between Sega, Nintendo, and Sony in the 1990s fueled innovation, technological advancements, and the creation of groundbreaking games that pushed the boundaries of gaming.
  • Classic video game franchises such as Super Mario, Final Fantasy, Doom, Half-Life, and Grand Theft Auto have left an indelible mark on the gaming community, captivating millions of players and influencing the evolution of gaming as an art form and cultural phenomenon.

The Birth of Video Games

The First Video Game: Tennis for Two (1958)

Imagine this: in 1958, the world stands on the brink of a technological revolution. Suddenly, physicist William Higinbotham introduces “Tennis for Two,” a groundbreaking creation that shakes the gaming world.

Using an analog computer, oscilloscope, and ingenious programming, Higinbotham developed a tennis simulation game that players could enjoy on an oscilloscope screen.

While simple by today’s standards, the first video game— “Tennis for Two,” laid the foundation for the interactive entertainment industry we know and love today.

The First Commercial Video Game: Computer Space (1971)

Fast forward to 1971, and video games are about to hit the big time.

Enter “Computer Space,” created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. This futuristic space combat game marked the dawn of commercial video gaming, gracing arcades with its otherworldly gameplay and captivating visuals.

While “Computer Space” didn’t achieve mass-market success, it paved the way for the golden age of arcade gaming.

The First Home Video Game Console: Magnavox Odyssey (1972)

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Credits: @elgregom /Pinterest

The year is 1972, and the living room is about to become a battleground for digital supremacy.

The Magnavox Odyssey enters the era as the world’s first home video game console. Developed by Ralph H. Baer, this revolutionary device allowed players to experience interactive entertainment from the comfort of their own homes.

With games like “Table Tennis” and “Ski,” the Magnavox Odyssey kickstarted the home gaming revolution, laying the groundwork for the console gaming industry we know today.

Stay tuned as we journey further into the fascinating world of video games, exploring iconic characters, classic titles, and the evolution of gaming culture.

Arcade Gaming Golden Age

Pac-Man (1980): The Highest-Grossing Arcade Game

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Ah, Pac-Man! The granddaddy of arcade games, strutting onto the scene in 1980 like the pixelated pioneer it was. Let’s munch through some tasty morsels of trivia about this classic video game:

Highest Grossing Arcade Game

Pac-Man didn’t just break records; it devoured them like glowing pellets. With its addictive gameplay and insatiable appetite for quarters, it raked in over $1 billion within a year of release. Talk about a hungry hit!

Financial Feats

Pac-Man wasn’t just a video game character but a cash cow. From arcade cabinets to Atari cartridges, it generated revenue like nobody’s business. By 2016, estimates put its total earnings between $10 and $12 billion.

That’s a whole lot of power pellets!

More Than Just a Game

Pac-Man wasn’t content with gobbling up dots. It gobbled up hearts, too. It welcomed everyone to the arcade party, drawing in a diverse crowd that included legions of female players.

That’s right, Pac-Man was a cultural phenomenon.

Legacy Lives On

Long after the last arcade cabinet flickered out, Pac-Man’s legacy endures. It birthed sequels, spin-offs, and merchandise galore, from Ms. Pac-Man to Pac-Man cereal (yes, that was a thing).

And because of that, it became a pop culture icon.

Donkey Kong (1981): Introducing Mario

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In the gaming realm of 1981, a seismic event occurred with the release of Donkey Kong. It was the inaugural appearance of Mario, formerly known as Jumpman. Below are salient points highlighting the game’s significance:

Game Overview

Donkey Kong, crafted by Nintendo, emerged as a platform arcade game. It thrusts players into the role of Jumpman (soon to be Mario).

This popular game has the player navigating perilous platforms, scaling ladders, and dodging obstacles to rescue his beloved Pauline from the clutches of the colossal ape Donkey Kong.

Historical Impact

Donkey Kong revolutionized gaming by infusing narrative depth and humor into its gameplay. It pioneered storytelling in platform games, setting a pioneering benchmark in game development.

Commercial Triumph

Donkey Kong catapulted to unparalleled success, reigning as the arcade champion of both 1981 and 1982. Nintendo rode this wave to prominence in the video game industry, laying the groundwork for Mario’s ascension as a popular video game.

Cultural Influence

The resounding triumph of Donkey Kong reverberated across popular culture, spawning adaptations and references galore. The titular Donkey Kong etched his place in the world video game hall, transcending into video game series, spin-offs, musical scores, television series, and cinematic productions.

The debut of Donkey Kong not only reshaped the gaming landscape but also etched Mario as a cornerstone of video game legend, cherished by gamers worldwide.

The Rise of Fighting Games: Street Fighter II (1991) and Mortal Kombat (1992)

The emergence of fighting games, notably with the releases of Street Fighter II in 1991 and Mortal Kombat in 1992, signaled a pivotal era in gaming history.

Here’s a breakdown of critical insights gleaned from the research findings:

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Credits: @elgregom /Pinterest

Street Fighter II

The game, released by Capcom in 1991, reshaped the fighting game landscape. It boasts an eclectic ensemble of international fighters and innovative special moves.

As a result, it soared to unprecedented heights, amassing sales exceeding 6 million units and pioneering gameplay mechanics like combos. This classic fighting game joined the hall of the highest-grossing arcade game.

Mortal Kombat

Hot on the heels of Street Fighter II, Midway’s Mortal Kombat burst onto the scene in 1992. At this time, it flaunts digitized graphics derived from real actors and introduces the controversial “fatalities,” unleashing brutal finishing moves.

Mortal Kombat’s graphic violence stirred considerable debate, becoming a focal point in a 1993 congressional inquiry on video game violence.

Market Dynamics

The trajectory of the fighting game genre has been dynamic, witnessing fluctuations from a glut of titles in the late ’90s to a resurgence in recent times.

Titles such as Tekken Tag Tournament 2, reboots of Mortal Kombat, and Street Fighter V have injected fresh vigor into the genre, eliciting fervent fan support and anticipation for new releases.

Arcade Evolution

The advent of online gaming precipitated a decline in arcade prominence as players embraced virtual arenas over physical arcades for global matchups. While this shift altered the intimate ambiance of arcade showdowns, it ushered in a new era of worldwide competition and accessibility.

Nintendo’s Dominance

Nintendo has been a colossus in the gaming realm, leaving an indelible mark through groundbreaking releases such as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Mario Bros., Game Boy, and The Legend of Zelda.

Here’s a glimpse into Nintendo’s journey and its profound impact:

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Credits: @favoritevideogames71 /Pinterest

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Super Mario Bros. (1985)

The NES, unleashed in 1985, reshaped the landscape of home gaming, swiftly ascending to cultural phenomenon status. Super Mario Bros., a jewel in its crown, introduced the world to the plucky plumber Mario and set a gold standard for platforming adventures.

Game Boy (1989)

Enter the Game Boy in 1989, the handheld wonder that captured hearts worldwide. Its compact design and stellar game library, featuring classics like Tetris, firmly established it as a trailblazer in portable gaming.

The Legend of Zelda (1986) and its Influence

With the release of The Legend of Zelda in 1986, Nintendo unfurled a sprawling tapestry of fantasy and adventure. This is one of the epic games that birthed a cherished franchise adored by legions of devoted fans.

Nintendo’s Ascendancy

Nintendo’s supremacy in gaming has been a steadfast reality. From pioneering consoles to timeless game franchises, Nintendo’s creations have consistently dominated sales charts and captured gamers’ imaginations globally.

Despite formidable competition from industry giants like Microsoft, Sony, Tencent, Activision Blizzard, and NetEase, Nintendo persevered. It maintains a formidable market presence, cementing its status as one of the foremost game developers and a classic game worldwide.

Nintendo’s legacy is one of innovation, creativity, and an unwavering dedication to crafting unforgettable gaming experiences that resonate across generations.

The Console Wars

The rivalry between Sega and Nintendo, Sony’s introduction of the PlayStation in 1994, and the groundbreaking Nintendo 64 in 1996 are pivotal moments in gaming history.

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Sega Genesis vs. Super Nintendo

Sega Genesis made strides in the Americas and Europe, branding itself as the trendier option with Sonic the Hedgehog as its mascot. Sonic’s popularity boosted Genesis sales and solidified its market position.

Moreover, Sega’s innovative game features and marketing tactics challenged Nintendo’s dominance, resulting in intense competition and market share battles.

Sony’s PlayStation Debut (1994)

Sony disrupted the gaming landscape with the launch of the PlayStation in 1994. The console game’s success reshaped the industry by offering advanced technology, a diverse game library, and popular titles that appealed to a broad audience.

The PlayStation emerged as a formidable contender in the console wars, challenging established players like Sega and Nintendo.

Nintendo 64 (1996) and 3D Gaming Revolution

The arrival of the Nintendo 64 in 1996 brought forth revolutionary 3D games that pushed the boundaries of gaming technology.

Titles such as Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time set new benchmarks for immersive gameplay, graphics, and game design, establishing Nintendo as a leader in the industry.

These significant milestones in gaming history highlight the fierce competition, technological advancements, and innovative game development that have shaped our current gaming landscape.

Iconic Video Game Franchises

Within the annals of gaming history, a specific video game franchise has transcended mere entertainment, leaving an indelible mark on the gaming community.

Let’s explore the iconic tales of Super Mario, Final Fantasy, Doom, Half-Life, and Grand Theft Auto.

Super Mario Series

The Super Mario series has been synonymous with gaming excellence for decades. From the groundbreaking Super Mario Bros. to the adrenaline-fueled races of Mario Kart, Mario’s adventures have captivated millions, earning their place as the most played game.

Final Fantasy and the JRPG Renaissance

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Final Fantasy is a titan in Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs). Renowned for its intricate narratives, diverse characters, and innovative gameplay, the franchise has enraptured players worldwide and shaped the landscape of RPG gaming.

First-Person Shooter Pioneers: Doom (1993) and Half-Life (1998)

Doom and Half-Life stand as titans in the realm of first-person shooters. Doom’s breakneck pace and Half-Life’s immersive storytelling redefined the genre, setting new benchmarks for a first-person shooter game and laying the groundwork for future innovations.

Grand Theft Auto: Defining Open-World Gaming

Grand Theft Auto shattered boundaries with its open-world playgrounds and nonlinear storytelling. The franchise’s success has granted players unprecedented freedom to explore vast virtual realms, engage in diverse activities, and shape their narratives.

These legendary franchises entertained gamers and served as catalysts for the evolution of gaming into an art form and cultural phenomenon.

Gaming Trivia Questions

If you’re a gamer, check the following video game trivia questions. Check your knowledge, and comment below if you got them right or perfected this video game trivia quiz.

1. What was the best-selling video game of the 80s?

The best-selling video game of the 1980s was Tetris. Created by Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, it gained immense popularity after being bundled with Nintendo’s first Game Boy in 1989, contributing significantly to its sales.

2. How many games are in the main Super Mario series?

The main Super Mario series currently has over 20-24 games, including titles ranging from the original Super Mario Bros.’s first game, released in 1985, to more recent entries like Super Mario Odyssey on the Nintendo Switch.

3. Which survival horror game series features Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield?

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Resident Evil is a survival horror game series featuring Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield. Created by Capcom, it debuted in 1996 and has since become one of the most iconic and successful franchises in the survival horror genre ever.

4. What is the fictional language featured in The Sims?

The fictional language featured in The Sims is called Simlish. It was created specifically for the game series and is spoken by the characters throughout the gameplay.

5. How many playable characters are there in Super Mario Bros. 2?

Super Mario Bros. 2 has four playable characters: Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool (Peach), and Toad. Each character has unique abilities, adding variety to the gameplay.

6. What is the name of the final boss in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time?

Ganondorf is the final boss in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. For the final battle, Ganondorf transforms into the monstrous Ganon, posing a formidable challenge to Link as he strives to save the land of Hyrule.


The evolution of gaming from the 1980s to the 1990s laid the foundation for today’s diverse industry.

Classic games like Tetris and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, with their simple yet addictive gameplay and groundbreaking narratives, defined this era as a golden age of innovation and creativity.

These games continue to entertain, shape culture, and influence future developers (even impact the fashion industry). Whether it’s Super Mario Bros.’s timeless charm or Final Fantasy’s immersive worlds, these classics still captivate players of all ages.

Let’s cherish the joy and nostalgia they bring while embracing new experiences and innovations in gaming. So, let’s celebrate the pioneers of gaming, dive into the rich history and trivia, and continue making memories in the ever-evolving world of video games.

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