I am like, super-mega stoked that the latest historical character is from the 1980s. That's awesome! And she's a Val, y'know, like OMG!
Seriously, the video game thing rings very true. I played a lot of Pac-Man and Space Invaders in the early '80s. And I remember trying to design a game with a friend of mine; suffice to say, it was highly MTV-influenced. I've heard some people object to Courtney's Pac-Man fixation, on the grounds that that game was no longer "in" in 1986. "Which is why it works," said I. "If it was still a popular game, teenagers would hog the machine, and a nine-year-old girl wouldn't have a chance. The teenagers were lining up for Galaga by that time."
Which brings me to something that doesn't quite ring true. I don't recall every being sneered at by a boy for my video-game abilities or lack of. I *do* remember more than one girl looking aghast when she saw me playing, or I mentioned it. Because video games were what *guys* did. And girls couldn't do what guys did. Because then they wouldn't be seen as girls, and the guys would never ask them out. Whatever. I think I was better off hanging out with guys and having long-term friendships, than having a series of boyfriends who were never seen again after the breakup. But it's funny to look back and see how despite some gender barriers being broken (Title IX, for instance), it took a while for girls and women to let go of the "A woman needs a maaaaaan!" mindset.
Anyway, finally an era I really lived through! I was a teenager in the '80s: turned 16 in '86. Which makes me three years older than Courtney's stepsister. Julie's world is somewhat familiar to me; I was alive for it, if too young to participate much. I have much clearer memories of Challenger, Live Aid, Chernobyl, Princess Diana, and MTV. Courtney's first book has it almost exactly* right! Although the '80s were a somewhat different experience in the flyover states, which I can get into if anyone's interested.
*I beg to differ on "No duh!". IME, that was what you said to someone who had pointed out the obvious. "No school today -- it's a snow day." "No duh! Dad can't even get his car out of the driveway."