Buffalo in the ’80s: Electronic games from Hengerer’s, Brand Names

By Steve Cichon

Long before the days of smartphones and tablets, kids from toddlers to teens got their fill of electronic gaming not on iPhones and Kindles, but from Merlin and Simon.

Buffalo News archives

Just before Christmas 1981, Hengerer’s downtown store devoted a special section to electronic games, and it was enough to get News photographers in the door to check out the latest in what every kid wanted under the tree.

Buffalo News archives

If you got one of these games, even if you did scope it out live in the store — you likely circled it in your Brand Names catalog, too, just to make sure Santa knew whether you wanted the Coleco or Mattel hockey game.

Buffalo Stories archive

Buffalo Stories archive

According to these pages from the 1980 Brand Names catalog, most of these games cost between $35 and $50, which according to US Labor Department statistics, would cost between $101 and $144 in 2016 dollars.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.