My grandfather bought an Atari when those things came out. It's still in my grandmother's house. I don't know how much of it he played, but he wasn't actively playing it when I was a kid. My uncle played it some. I have no idea if my mother ever touched it. He did pull it out and let me play it a few times, which I thought was fucking awesome even though at the time I was playing SNES and PS1 games. I'd love to have it, but sadly it is currently stuck in a closet somewhere and I don't think it's coming out.
My dad had some kind of shitty early 80's knockoff console. I have no idea what it was. It had like three games pre-installed. I don't think he messed with it all that much, but I'm not sure. I do think he visited arcades some and occasionally played games there, but he spent more time doing stuff with cars.
I was born in '91. I'm certainly the first person in my family to actively and consistently engage with video games. My dad brought a used Game Boy and a copy of Interstellar Assault home one day and I was completely absorbed from minute one. I was 4 years old, I think, almost five. He brought it home, he gave it to me, and I played it constantly. I distinctly remember waking up very early the morning after he gave it to me, sneaking into the living room, turning on a lamp, and playing more until my dad caught me and made me go back to bed. My parents bought me a Super Nintendo that Christmas. It was one of the late-model mini-SNES's and it came with the first Donkey Kong Country. The PS1 came out that year, I think, although I was so absorbed with the SNES that I didn't even realize there was something way more powerful out there until a little later. My dad told me much later that one of the reasons he spent money on the Super Nintendo was that he was spending way too much of his too-tiny paycheck on AA batteries for the Game Boy.
On the back of the Super Nintendo box, there was an ad for Super Metroid. I saw it and immediately latched on to it. I thought it looked freaking awesome, but my parents were a little more concerned - why is a five year old so absorbed with a game that looks kinda scary and dark? It took a year of begging for them to finally get it for me, but they did, and I loved it. Still one of my favorite games ever, if not my absolute favorite. I've finished it a zillion times.
I never actually finished Interstellar Assault, although I do still own the cartridge. I don't remember what the first video game I finished was, if I'm being honest. It might have been Donkey Kong Country. It wasn't Super Metroid - as much as I loved it, I didn't actually manage to finish it until a few years later.
Some of you might be doing some math and may have realized that a kid born in '91 would have started gaming during the PS1 era. I did get the SNES around the time the PS1 came out. I did eventually get a PS1, in like 1998 or 1999, I don't remember which. My memories of it aren't nearly as fond, though there are some PS1 games I love. Some time after I got the PS1, I got a copy of Crash Bash. It wouldn't take a code that I'd found for a hidden demo of Spyro 3, so I punched it and broke it. Brilliant me! I then spent the next few months playing Super Nintendo games. My dad eventually ordered a part to fix it and repaired it (I have no idea where he ordered it from or what was broken in it) and then grounded me from it for a long time. Eventually I got it back... and then it broke after a year or so, leaving me with only a Super Nintendo to fall back on. So through my own fault, I spent a lot of time during the late '90's and early 2000's playing Super Nintendo games, meaning I have a lot of nostalgia for a system that was current when I was too young to play video games. I did eventually get one of those tiny PS1's they released late in the console's life cycle. I took care of that thing and used it for a long time, but I no longer own it and cannot remember what happened to it. I also no longer own the SNES and also cannot remember what happened to it.
My brother keeps up with video games as much as I do and always has, although these days he sticks to PC even more than I do. I have some cousins that own game consoles and they do see use, but they're not hugely interested in games. That's about it. There are some other family members that have tried gaming once or twice but never done anything else with it.
I perhaps wrote a little too much about my video game beginnings.
Do you think this could affect someone's innate ability to play video games?
To some degree, yes, but as with anything, tenacity and work and effort will do a whole hell of a lot more than "I've been playing games since I was five". I am fairly good at video games, but certainly not great at them. This is because I spent most of my childhood life trying to find and play as many games as possible and wound up playing them on normal or even easy sometimes. I pretty much never went for hundred percent completion as a kid and these days, I usually burn out on a game before I come anywhere near 100% (I have been better about this, and have been getting better about choosing games that fit my interests as opposed to just trying to play anything I can get my hands on). As a result, I never actually got really good at one thing, just OK at a whole lot of them. I don't have it in me to dedicate myself to a single game enough to become great at playing it. Someone who started gaming on the 360 and has been playing almost nothing but multiplayer shooters, on the other hand, will probably kick my ass pretty much every time but will have no idea how to get into an RPG, a platformer, a Metroidvania, etc.
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