Firstly, bonus points to anyone who can identify the subject quote.
My very first video game isn't something I can actually remember. I do remember vividly getting a NES with Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt as a duel pack. I remember being amazed at how graphically intense it was compared to the old Amstrad CPC 6128 we owned, but I used to play that Amstrad religiously as a toddler and young child, and while many of the games really stuck in my mind (and continue to be, on emulated replays, extremely enjoyable), I can't say I remember the very first one I sat down and played.
My dad, who, had he been born a little more recently, would be a complete archetypical nerd, loved the dungeon crawlers and spent his spare time mapping out Dungeon Adventure, Adventure Quest and Colossal Adventure. The only video game mum ever played, Sorcery+, remains a fantastic platformer that would have worked just as well in the Mega Drive era as it did back in the early 1980s. I played all of them, Jet Set Willy, Manic Miner, Chuckie Egg, The Sacred Armour of Antiriad (which had far too many big words for a four year old, so I'd beg dad to load up 'Muscle Man' and play for hours, not really understanding what I was doing, but loving it all the same.)
Incidentally, the game in the photograph is The House of Usher, which apparently isn't on Wikipedia's 'list of Amstrad CPC games'. I was the only one in the family who enjoyed this game. Watching that linked video, it's hard to see why. I remember the game was agonising, made about as much sense as 'I Wanna Be The Guy' and often refused to respond to any commands. It was exciting, though. I loved it. Hell, I loved them all.
As I grew up, I collected video game consoles. To date I guess I have about twenty of them. I loved both Sega and Nintendo, but the NES was my first, before I fell in love with the Blue Wonder and begged for a Mega Drive. At one point I could boast that I owned every single Sonic the Hedgehog related game released in Europe. These days, that's not so much of a boast, more a confession you admit on your deathbed.
Still, there are only two machines I wish I had the room to hook back up: The Mega Drive (Sega Genesis to you American types), on which I owned over fifty games, and generally always considered it the far stronger contender to the 16 bit market (I owned a SNES too, had about ten games, and never really felt that same love), and the Amstrad 6128. A lot of our love of childhood things falls very firmly into rose tinted nostalgia. We (20something-30something nerds, in short) get very high and mighty over how superior cartoons were 'back in the day', and in a lot of ways perhaps they were, but they were still downright terrible, poorly animated, cheaply finished, and often possessing absolutely no heart because they existed purely to sell toys and products.
I can't sit on the Devil's Advocate's fence and reason that maybe the Amstrad's games fall under that category too, though, because they don't. I'm not looking at it with rose tinted glasses. I own half my old library on emulator and play them on my Nintendo DS. Sometimes, a bloody good game is simply that, which is why we've such a rise in simple (and not so simple) indie games on the market. Little free java games are now being offered via Steam or on iPod/Pad/Phone, with graphics just as simple as the CPC's, but with that same level of playability, also. Sure, House of Usher was a pretty horrible game, but it's nice to see a focus (thanks, again, largely to the iPod and Steam) on games that don't rely on flashy graphics and intensive, dramatic gameplay.
Sometimes, all you need is a world formed entirely of cubes.