Man you guys make me feel like a little kid
Nowadays I like looking into the history of videogames with sweet concscles emulated like Atari's and such
I think its cool you realize you have so many generations of gaming to enjoy. Although I'm young enough that video games have always been a part of my life, there are very few games older than myself I can claim to have played. The only ones that come to mind are Space Wars and Zork (still never played a working Pong cabinet or home machine...).
Arcades. Even back when I needed a stepstool to play Space Invaders, from the time I was old enough to press a button, wiggle a joystick, or roll a trackball, I've been an arcade gamer. I can't remember what the first game I played was, but I can (vaguely) remember a time when most arcade machines still had B+W monitors (if they even had video displays at all). Nowadays finding an odd machine or even an entire arcade is a rare treat, if I come across one and I've got time I'll usually play a credit, but I only actually plan trips to arcades that I know have ITG and/or some Bemani games.
Before I had console gaming in my home, my appetite was whetted by visits to friends and family, many of whom had some sort of console. Atari 2600, 5200, Intellivision, and later NES. Of all of these, the NES was the only one I liked enough to beg for one of my own. But before the NES came out, I was begging for (any) computer. Although I hadn't any hands-on experience with computers, I was under the impression (probably gleaned from unrealistic depictions in TV and movies) that a computer would be more fun than a game console. The wider variety of types of games (and other software), the greater range of input options provided by a keyboard over the few buttons on a controller, and above all the ability to program your own games added up to = "more fun" in my mind. This leads to...
- Commodore 16
Got this when I was in kindergarten. Never had any actual games for it, but the included keyboarding cartridge was gamelike enough for me. It's thanks to this machine that I learned to type before I learned to write. Never did any programing with it, the little time I spent without the keyboarding cartridge plugged in I just doodled on the screen with text graphics, only dabbling with a few BASIC commands to change the colors. I had no monitor, so it had to share with the livingroom TV. Spent very little time with it, bit of a missed opportunity, but my experience with the C16 did prepare me for my next machine.
- Commodore 64C
This is the one, right here. The machine that defined my childhood. A year after the C16, I got a C64C, this time a complete system with monitor, floppy drive, and printer plotter (no modem, though). I tried to make a real effort at learning to program this time, but I only managed to make some CYOA-style games, math and reaction tests, and a few simple SID tunes. The lack of inspiration probably came from the already impressive library of games on the C64, I just couldn't think of any kind of game I wanted to make that hadn't already been done. Most of my "programming" time was just modifying shareware games, tweaking them to my tastes.
Although the C64 was pretty popular in my neighborhood, at some point the amount of friends I had who had an NES outnumbered those who had a C64, and I started to feel a bit left out. I don't think I begged too hard for an NES, more like dropping hints, as there wasn't any "must have" game on it for me. It was more like childhood peer pressure, it felt like I was the only kid without an NES. It was Xmas of either '89 or '90 that I got an NES with SMB2, and I was pretty happy. Eventually I discovered Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy and developed my love of RPGs, which informed my console purchasing decisions from then on. Speaking of which, this was the last childhood console that was given to me as a gift, from then on all my games were purchased with my own money (with a few exeptions).
ADOLESCENCE - ADULT HISTORY
Some of these may not be in the correct chronological order, due to gaps in my memory. The circumstances upon which I acquired these consoles was not always memorable...
- Game Boy
The original brick of solid Nintendnium. Since this was before I started working and I never got an allowance as a kid, the only reason I got this was beacuse I found a wad of bills on the ground outside a pool hall.
Renting Secret of Mana and playing it on my friend's system convinced me "I need this". The paltry budget from the few odd jobs I had done at the time meant that I could only afford to buy the game itself. So I did, and was limited to playing SoM at my friend's house until I could afford a SNES of my own. This became the major time and money sink of my teen years, as I collected Square's entire NA catalog and other RPGs.
I was never too impressed with this. I only got it because a friend who needed money sold it to me for super cheap. As an RPGamer, this system doesn't have much to offer me. Guardian War is pretty dull, and I'm still looking to find Lucienne’s Quest for a reasonable price.
Like the SNES before, I spent a few years playing on a friend's system before I picked one up for myself. The early days of the PS1 didn't offer much in the way of RPGs. Beyond the Beyond, Suikoden, and Wild Arms were alright, but I felt they weren't really taking advantage of the new hardware, they could have easily been made for the SNES. That opinion changed when FFVII came out. I was in army AIT by this time, so I had my Playstation and a tiny TV stashed in my foot locker to play for a little while each night before lights-out. Good times.
While in the army, I fell in love with the arcade game X-Men vs. Street Fighter. I wanted a home version, so of course that meant I needed a Saturn.
- Sega CD-X
I liked the Sonic, Shining Force, and Phantasy Star games when I was a kid, but I never wanted a Genesis for myself. Having been spoiled by the sweet sounds of the SNES, the harsh synth of the Genesis was just too grating on my ears. I saw this at a flea market for $60, and picked it up just to play the Lunar games. Since it also had a cartridge port, I also later added some of those games I liked as a kid to my collection. Also got the Power Base Converter just to play the entire Phantasy Star series from the beginning.
Found on clearance at a Toys R Us for about $40. In hindsight, I shoulda kept it in the box for the collector's value. The combination of barely-portable hugeness, crappy battery life, and blurry screen make this my least-played system. Trying to play it with a tower of Sonic 3 locked-on to Sonic & Knuckles locked-on to a Game Genie while riding the bus was good for a few lulz.
- Neo Geo Pocket Color
I picked up a couple of these used with some games after the system's spectacular failure. When I heard that all unsold units were being shipped back to Japan, I wasn't expecting to have much fun with it and just bought it thinking I'd later make some money on an increased collector's value later. I was wrong on both counts! It's super fun, and the system and its games are still cheap and widely available today.
- Game Boy Color
At some point I sold my original Game Boy and most of my games, keeping only a few of my favorites to play on the Super Game Boy. Later on I missed the portability of these games (probably around the time I got into Pokemon), so I got the GBC. In retrospect, I could've gone with a Game Boy Pocket instead, as I only own one "Class C" (GBC only) game, which was given to me as a gift, and a few "Class B" (Dual Mode) games, most of which the extra colors don't really add much. The later GBA made the GBC even more superfluous.
A pitifully short lifespan. Limited game selection. Funky controllers. Memory cards with a silly portable minigame gimmic that burned through CR2032s almost as bad as the Nomad burned through AAs. Proprietary optical disc medium with a high hardware fail rate. Despite these flaws, the Dreamcast remains my most beloved console. It brought out some of my most compulsive gaming tendancies. Getting lost in the minutiae of Shenmue. Spending 50+ hours straight playing Grandia II. Staying up into the wee hours of the night with an international crowd on Phantasy Star Online. Dreamcast's lack of resistance to unsigned code also made it my gateway drug to the world of console homebrew.
- Game Boy Advance
I forget when or why I got this. I think the first game I got for it was Castlevania Circle of the Moon. Hoping for a continuation of that beloved Symphony of the Night action, I was sadly dissappointed. The GBA wasn't a complete letdown though. In the days before the Dingoo, it gave me the chance to replay some of my S/NES favorites portably (the Mario and Final Fantasy Advance series in particular).
- GBA SP
Not the lit screen. Not the folding form factor. I got this because it was the "Classic NES Limited Edition" model. Nintendo punched me right in the nostalgias. I also got the classic NES Series Metroid, and finally beat that game on the GBA SP that I never mananged to finish the original NES. The addition of the battery backup to eliminate the hassle of writing passwords was a big plus there!
- Playstation 2
Like the original Playstation, I was unimpressed with the first few years of the PS2's game library. The closing of the US PSO servers left a hole in my gamer's heart, and Final Fantasy XI was more than enough to fill it. This console still gets quite a workout today, mostly with the Bemani series.
In my circle of friends, I'm known as "the gamer". I'm certainly not the only one who plays videogames, but I do have the most extensive collection out of all my friends, and I'm usually seen with a portable console wherever I go. Because of my reputation, people often dump their unwanted games on me. I try to accept gracefully even if it's something don't particularly want or already have, this is how I ended up with 2 copies Crystalis and The Bard's Tale for NES. I suspect this is also how I ended up with a ColecoVision. I can't prove it though, as it showed up on my front porch anonymously in an unmarked box, like a Doorstop Baby or abandoned box of free kittens, and none of my friends have ever owned up to donating it. It was in pretty sorry shape, just the console, power supply, 3 controllers and a loose collection of games covered in a thick layer of dust and cobwebs, no boxes, instructions, or keypad overlay cards. All it took was a little love ("love" meaning taking apart the console and controllers, scrubbing away the accumulated cobwebs, dirt, and dust, cleaning the contacts on the cartridges the best I could, and scrounging up an RF adaptor), and I had it working good as new! There were a few semi-rare games in the box, so I was hoping after getting my fill I could sell it off to a collector for a nice sum, but before I got the chance it was burgled from my apartment. Easy come, easy go I guess...
- Dingoo A320
The reason I'm here!
I had been into emulation since the Nesticle days, but something just didn't feel right about playing classic console games on the PC. Playing emulators on Dreamcast and PS2 was a little better, but it still felt like something was missing. If only there was a console made specifically for emulation, that you didn't need to hack to get emulators working, oh and it should be portable, but also let you plug it into the TV.. One day while reading a thread about emulation on 99chan's /vg/ board, I see a post about the Dingoo A320. And everything went from wrong to right. And the stars came out to fill up the sky. The music you were playing really blew my mind. It was love at first sight.
Only bought it because it was on sale for $10. Although it is the only handheld I have that does decent PS1 emulation, it gets more use playing movies than games.
- Dingoo A330
One major complaint on the A320 is how easy it is to break. I'm such a klutz, I've already gone through 3. This most recent replacement was not intended to be an upgrade, it was just the best deal I could find on ebay at the time. Although I admit, the wireless controller makes it a lot more enjoyable to play on the TV than the A320, or any of my other emulator handhelds.
- LetCool N350JP
Meh. Another handheld I only bought because I found it on sale.
- Gemei A330
See above. This one has better controls than most Chinese handhelds, but the weird staggered-pixel screen ruins it.
Although I've been able to see a bright side to the other underwhelming non-dingoo handhelds, this is the only I actually regret purchasing.
Picked up for $30 at this year's MGC, with the intention of playing some cool homebrew. Intention fulfilled, my R4 card gets more play than all the commercial software I own for it combined. I've recently noticed a lot of DS games that look interesting, so this situation might reverse in the future.
- GCW-Zero Special Edition
BOOYAKA. Although the Dingoo, LetCool, and Gemei still see occasional new releases, this is the one with the most potential. Easily my current favorite.
- Playstation 3
Another gift I never asked for, I only have it because I got it for free. Gets even less play than the ColecoVision did, my PS3 has no games. Maybe if I could figure out how to get homebrew working on it...
Bought this just play Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, and aside from a few demos from the eShop and some videos, that's all I've played on it.
I'm pretty happy with what I've got now. I do have the Revelations: Persona remake sitting on my shelf with no way to play it (yet another unsolicited gift), so perhaps a cheap used PSP will be in my future...