Growing up, I played games maybe enough times that I could count it on two hands, but gaming and computers weren't really part of my life and even if they were, I literally spent almost every waking moment outside of (and sometimes during) school, training or competing (wrestling).
Ah ok so I wasn't that far off then. FWIW We're about the same age. That's cool man, sounds like you certainly spent your time well, probably better than I have. Wrestling takes tremendous discipline and give you other qualities that are more valuable than ones you would have gotten gaming.
On the positive side you know what games to avoid. Game buying was a high risk proposition as a kid. We had no Giant bomb back then (+ used game storeswasn't as robust in my area until the mid 90's), only hype mags if you could afford them which off course never told you if a game was crap.
Man I once blew 6 months allowance/yard cutting money on A boy and his Blob (cause I thought it sounded cool and it was hyped to heck by Nintendo Power)and that game is one of the worst things I've ever played. I was pretty crushed.
Sometimes, I totally wish I grew up owning and playing games like Jeff and Ryan and other dudes, did. There's so much context and history (especially with console games) that is foreign to me.When I listen to the guys on Retronauts, I don't reminisce about games of old that I adored.
I can only imagine, there's a lot I take for granted in that respect since there are series I have played since inception. Every time I pick up a new series I feel like I have to learn the "dialect" in a way, as each series tends to have a way of doing things (whether it be where they hide items or mess with your head storywise). I think it's tougher new gamers today to get into the series the same way. Console games are something I feel that kind of "belongs" to our generation as a shared experience the ways cars to did my parents.
But yeah that communal experience of when new tech hits is kind to hard to replace.
I remember in particular especially the jump to N64/PS1 era was something else. The optimism of gamers and the industry was so skyhigh. NES-SNES/Genesis was pretty huge trasnsition, but nothing like the transition to 3D. People were extrapolating crazy stuff, like Hologram games and stuff like that by 2020. The rate of improvement in tech was so exciting, much more so than today (which has just as meaningful jumps in my opinion but less in a show stop manner). + you know the NASDAQ bubble was in full swing and there was a general sense that things were different now, even though they really weren't.
People went berserk over Final Fantasy VII, Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Soul Calibur and Doom in a way that's never really been duplicated. There's always been mega game changing hits like Super Mario Bros. Warcraft II, Street Fighter II, Grand Theft Auto III etc etc. but never so many at once that felt like they were changing everything for the better so dramatically that I can remember. Once you've seen modern games it's really hard to "unsee" them, to re-experience what it was like when they were brand new.