I've been a gamer on and off for most of my life. The very first video game, Computer Space, came out in 1971, and coincedentaly, so did I!
I was pretty young to hang out in arcades in the 70's and early 80's, but I made every effort I could to spend my quarters whenever possible. For me, that meant games in department store entryways, convenience stores, and laundrymats. Vacations meant campground game rooms, and real arcades in shopping malls!
Our first home system was a 4-player Sears Pong game, but we got our first REAL system in 1982 when Christmas morning we unwrapped a wonderful Atari 2600. Man, we played until our eyes would bleed. I played it regularly for 3-4 years, but then highschool came along with other interests. Still couldn't pass a good arcade game if I had a quarter though.
This dry spell continued until 1993 when my roomate hooked up his NES, and I was addicted again. Shortly thereafter I picked up a used Sega Genesis (we even had the Sega Channel, remember that?) and my thumbs would never be the same. That Genny kept me happy for years, practically forgetting the fact that I was much too poor to get a SNES, much less a N64 or a Playstation, but even it would be boxed up for a time as other things came about. Around that time I got into PC gaming, not missing the cords and controllers and carts........this lasted for about 6 years. Plus, our only TV was our 42" plasma connected to our home theater system. Not an ideal display for oldschool games, and having consoles laying around the living room is fine for college boys, but not grownup couples, right?
It was 2006 and we bought our first house that happened to have a finished basement perfect for a gameroom and computer area. The first thing I considered was a pooltable, but frankly it wouldn't have gotten much use. Then I thought, why not a video game room? We could hook up the old Genesis and my wife still had an NES that she had since college. Then I had almost forgotten that I still had a 2600 I bought 10 years earlier that I hadn't hooked up forever. Well, as can imagine, this has a way of snowballing which is how I ended up with this:
Atari 2600 (4 switch woody), Colecovision, Vectrex, Atari 5200 (4 port with S-vid mod), Nintendo NES, Atari 7800, Atari Lynx II, Atari Jaguar, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis with 32x, Sega Game Gear, Ps1, Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64,
Gameboy Color, Sega Dreamcast, Gameboy Advance SP (x2), PS2, 3 softmodded Xboxes, Nintendo DS, Atari Flashback2 , The Omnicade (Mame machine), plus........... Williams The Machine: Bride of Pinbot pinball machine. Whew! Some I had, some I bought from people I know, some were from Ebay, some from Craigslist (I LOVE CL) and some were from trades with Atari Age members.
It's a tragic sickness really. I spend my summer weekends combing garage sales and fleamarkets looking for stuff. The thrift stores all recognise me, the pawn shops know my name.....