I don't know, I find it odd how narrowed their perception of a "golden age of gaming" was. If I had to put a timeline on what I felt like was the pinnacle of my gaming life, it stretches pretty fucking long. Super Mario World was released in 1990 when I was only 2 years old but it's still the first game I remember playing, and as recently as FF XII I was still gaming pretty heavily, at least by my standards compared to, say, people I knew in real life. The PS3 era definitely ushered in an era of frugality, though, due to finally being in college and then having bills to pay.
But From Madden/NCAA 2003 to Madden/NCAA 2007 I would go 5-10 season deep in both games, uploading draft classes from one to the other and following the careers of my recruits and graduates pretty intensely. Those games alone accounted for untold hours of gaming. And in the SNES/N64 era I was a rental fiend, there are so many games that get casually mentioned by a hardcore fan of a given genre (like that fishing game thread earlier) and I'm like...yea, totally rented that two or three times! I think the PS2 sort of ended my rental streak but I definitely tried as hard as I could to get 2 or 3 game rentals per week when Nintendo consoles were still my dominant choice, before the magic of Resident Evil 2 and Final Fantasy 8.
But, as maybe you can tell by the amount of EA football I played, I was also never...uh, a "gamer" in the sense that you might use that word on a site like this. I played and played and played Super Mario World, but I wasn't on forums and my friends weren't geeks so TO THIS DAY when people mention things like secret levels, dark worlds and so forth...I have no clue. All I ever did in that game was beat Bowser. Maybe I stumbled onto some by accident but I was never the type to try and deconstruct a game or discover what was hiding behind its face. A lot of the games I played in the SNES era especially were unabashedly aided by a Game Genie, like James Bond Jr. and Kablooey!.
Yeah pretty much everything Nodima said. So much gosh darn NFL 2K5. Raised on the SNES (I can still remember opening MLPA Baseball and the console on Christmas morning in 95) but really the PS2 was my golden age. I played everything on that system, and still do to this day. I think it really marked the golden era in gaming not just for myself but for the medium as a whole.