Most Popular Games of 1950 to 1979

As technology has progressed, so too have our possibilities for entertainment. From hundreds of thousands of games, we may easily and quickly download the one that most interests us. The convenience of portable gaming devices like smartphones and tablets like the iPad has made playing video games a pastime that can be enjoyed anywhere. Turning a smartphone into a never-ending game is possible.

In contrast, this was just unthinkable when video games were first introduced. Pastimes primarily include playing board games. Classics like Scrabble, Risk, and Twister have been around since the 1950s. People of many different cultures have enjoyed these games and many others for years. Here are 10 popular games that were present from 1950 to 1979.

Candy Land (1950)

Before our time, there were popular games we may not be aware of. It’s fascinating to see how games have progressed from board games to card games to elaborate party games. Candy Land was one of the most played board games because of its bright colors, charming drawings, and scrumptious final objective. The game was a massive hit with 1950s children.

The race’s plot revolves around locating King Kandy, the exiled ruler of Candy Land. The board is shaped like a curving linear track with 134 spots, most of which are one of six colors (red, green, blue, yellow, orange, and purple). Some of the remaining pink areas are designated for places like Candy Cane Forest and Gumdrop Mountain. In contrast, others are devoted to fictional characters like Queen Frostine and Gramma Nutt. You win the game when your character either lands on or moves through the last tile of the Candy Castle.

Classic Candy Land board game isolated on a white background

Afrikan Tähti (1951)

Kari Mannerla created the Finnish board game Afrikan tähti in 1951. As a child, Kari Mannerla was captivated by tales of the Star of Africa, the biggest diamond in the world.

African tähti is a race with many players. Theoretically, the number of players may be as high as desired. Still, with more than five or six, the game becomes unwieldy owing to lengthy turns and a lack of materials. The board encompasses all of Africa; major cities are depicted as bright red circles, while routes between them are shown as thinner black circles.

Afrikan tahiti original box art

Scrabble (1952)

The popular word game has been around since 1938, but it was in 1952 that it indeed took off, mainly due to Jack Strauss, president of Macy’s at the time. While on vacation, Strauss played it frequently and later demanded that it should be marketed at the shop. While the rules may have changed, the game’s fundamental concept has stood the test of time.

Word game Scrabble is played by two to four players, who each get a set of letter tiles and a board with 15 by 15 spaces on which to build words and earn points. Crossword-style, the words formed by the tiles must read either left to right down the rows or down the columns, and they must appear in a dictionary or lexicon.

Scrabble game in progress

Risk (1957)

Invented in 1957, Risk quickly rose to the top of the board game popularity charts and inspired other successful games like Axis & Allies and Settlers of Catan. Its broad appeal stems from its simple rules and complicated interactions, making it suitable for players of many ages and backgrounds.

Risk is a game for two to six players focusing on negotiation, warfare, and conquering. The traditional board has a world map split into forty-two territories clustered into six continents. The players take turns rolling dice to decide the outcome of their attempts to acquire territories from their opponents using armies of playing pieces.

A game of Risk board game being played

The Game of Life (1960)

In 1860, Milton Bradley designed the first board game for his firm, the Milton Bradley Company, called The Checkered Game of Life. Today, the game is often known as The Game of Life, or simply Life. The United States’ first widely played parlor game was The Game of Life.  The modern version didn’t come out until 1960, an entire century later.

The game follows a player’s life from young adulthood to old age, including college if wanted, work, marriage, and having children. Each game can have up to six players, depending on the edition. There are variants of the game that can include up to ten participants.

Japanese-language version of the modern edition of The Game of Life

Mouse Trap (1963)

The setup time for Mouse Trap is notorious, and the game is often remembered for that reason. In fact, it was adapted into a game show format for a British kid’s show called Motormouth. For two to four players, Ideal released the board game Mouse Trap (formerly known as Mouse Trap Game) in 1963. Being one of the first mass-produced 3D board games, it revolutionized the genre. At first, everyone works together to create a Rube Goldberg-style mousetrap that catches mice. Then, they turn on one another in an effort to capture their foes’ mouse-shaped game pieces.

Mouse trap board game and box isolated on a white background

Twister (1966)

To play Twister, a big plastic mat is often laid on the ground. The mat is covered with enormous, brightly colored circles in six rows, one each of red, yellow, green, and blue. The location of a player’s hand or foot is determined by a spinner. This is “the game that twists you up in knots,” as it proudly proclaims to players.

Two players cannot simultaneously have their hands or feet in the same circle; with additional players, the rules change. Because there aren’t enough colorful circles, players must put themselves in somewhat awkward and sometimes extreme positions. They are out when an opponent touches the mat with an elbow or a knee.

Twister 1966 original cover art

Boggle (1972)

Players of the word game Boggle use a plastic grid of lettered dice to form words by connecting sets of neighboring letters. Shaking a tray containing 16 cube-shaped dice, each with a distinct letter inscribed on all six sides, is the first step of the game. Dropping the dice into a 4×4 grid conceals everything except the top letter of each cube. Once everyone is comfortable in their trays, the three-minute main part of the game can begin simultaneously. 

A grid of Boggle cubes and a sand timer

Connect 4 (1974)

Two players pick a color and take turns dropping tokens of that color into a suspended seven-by-six-cell grid in the connection board game Connect 4. The pieces all slide down to the bottom of the column. The game’s objective is to arrange four of your tokens in a row, column, or diagonal before your opponent does.

Connect 4 game board and box

Simon (1978)

The “push pads” on top of Simon, a big circular electrical box, are used by four players. There is a light and sound effect associated with each pad. Essentially, it’s a game of memory. Simon activates the first colored pad and plays a tone, then the second, the third, and so on. By pushing the pads in time with Simon, players aim to emulate his performance. Simon was so successful that it spawned several copycat games.

Simon electronic game pad

These days, gamers may choose from various platforms, including mobile devices, personal computers, and consoles, such as the Nintendo Switch. But, as the saying goes, “old is gold,” and you can also get your hands on some awesome retro board games! 

We often squander precious hours sitting in front of the TV or computer when we might be spending them with the people who matter the most to us—our friends and family. Celebrations like birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween are perfect times to break out board games and other traditional family entertainment. These games are perfect for you if you ever become bored on the weekend.