as good as NES and colecovision were, nothing can really steel the place in my heart for the atari2600, which had so many games it was enough to drive young children into seizures making their list at xmas:
i had a couple of friends that used to share the cost of renting an atari 2600 with me over the weekends - we couldn't afford to buy such a luxury. we'd rent the games too. i remember 'river raid' seeming like the most advanced game i'd seen at the time. after that i remember arcade games being ported to the atari 2600 console but they always sufferred graphically.
today, i can proudly say that i own an original atari 2600 (a wood panel one with more switches than in the photo - you could select colour or black and white tv) with about 50 cartridges or so. i've not turned it on for a few years but i did used to spend hours playing 'frostbite' in a kind of zen like trance.
one thing i'd like to mention is that i often hear about how little Johnny is the best computer games player on the planet (usually according to little Johnny's parents) but i can confidently say that as i've aged my computer gaming abilities have improved no end.
i used to think most of the games i played on the atari 2600 were insanely difficult during my teenage years - now when i try these very same games i can play them for hours without a great deal of effort (i mean without losing a life within the game).
my point is that from the numerous times i've heard about all the little Johnnies with their new games consoles and how 'amazing' they are on them the truth is that they aren't at all - they are just better than their non gaming family.
okay, i'm kind of pathetic comparing myself against a kid but i think we should all be proud to be adult gamers and good ones at that.
(i just wanted to point it out as i find it fascinating how your own perception of yourself is often missleading and it often takes hindsight and a few years to pass to realise just how wrong you were.)