It's really weird I remember this so clearly when I know I couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 years old.
I was at my grandmothers, as I was sometimes, since she lived not more than a mile away from us, and had a really nice yard, and there were other kids as neighbors, I liked being there. I remember that my dad was supposed to pick me up, and remember calling him at work, and then him calling back later telling he was at a friends' house down the street and probably was going to take a while.
Now, keep in mind this was in the mid-eighties, during the socialist era here in Estonia. But my dad had worked as a bartender for years, in what were the top spots of the day, so had all sorts of contacts and could get really cool stuff that was near impossible to come by. For example - bananas (!), a VCR, s Hitachi TV with a REMOTE, Legos, sodas, alcohol and other goods that now are just a small walk away, granted you have the money. But back then, the store shelves were literally empty, and when I was older, mom sent me to the local store with a shopping list that had alternative, and third alternative items, if there wasn't something available. My dad has told me, that on one point, he had so much money that he didn't know what to do with it, since there just wasn't that much to buy, everything required a Zelda-like trading process.
So, after my dad called, I went to play outside and thought, that, well, I know where my dad's friend lives, we had been there many times and I could practically see the house from my grandparents yard. So I opened the gate, and wandered to the streets, something I strictly wasn't allowed to do, and went to find my dad. I got to the house, got to the door and rang the doorbell. What I saw, might have changed my adult life for good - what I saw was my dad and a bunch of his 20-30somethings friends, having drinks, gathered around the tv set. What they were actually playing on, is still a bit of a blur - I remember the Atar joystick, but was it the Atari? The game played had some bright dude jumping over balls, bananas and logs, and the art might have been really superdeformed? I just remember it being vastly different from the Russian and Estonian cartoons I was used to watching. At first I watched someone else play, but then was handed the joystick and was utterly amazed that it was ME moving that colorful dude around on the screen! I was a part of this, what I thought, cartoon. I don't remember much else from that time, other than my grandmother being really angry at me for wandering off. I tried to explain this experience later to other kids at kindergarten, but getting only blank stares.
Years later, we're on visit in Finland, I'm 6-7. Our host who were staying with, had a kid my age, and I was sent off to check out his room. The first shock was that he had his own TV, and next to that, a weird gray box. Yep, a NES. So he showed me the first Mario, TMNT, and Punch Out! You can imagine that my return to gray old socialist Estonia was not that pleasant. After we moved to Finland a year later, we were the poor immigrants, so when SMB3 came out, it was all over town and my school, but not at our house. Luckily, I've never been someone who gets too disappointed over stuff like that or would throw a fit at parents. I knew damn well we couldn't afford a console, so I got really into comics and drawing and movies. Something I love still.
Fast forward some more years, and we're back in, not socialist any more, Estonia, and I get my first 286 IBM computer. It was actually a pretty good piece of hardware, 2mb of ram, 40mb HD, quite a lot for a 286. And of course, it was full of games. From there on out, I played a lot of stuff, upgraded to a 468 and played the classics, Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, the LucasArts point-and click classics. Finally got a NES clone, so I could play horrible 999999in1 carts, that only occasionally contained some rare gem like Felix The Cat, Duck Tales or SMB2. But then I had fallout with gaming in my teens - claiming publicly (in IRC :P) that gaming was a pure waste of time and I have better ways of spending my time - like Photoshop and masturbation. Skill really useful today in my work at an adverising agency.
Until one day I got a free copy of SMB All-Stars and borrowed my brothers idle SNES ... and a few months later, bought the PS1 ... then the Xbox ... so it went from there.
But the day I walked in on my dad and his friend playing on that summer day... somehow feels it set my interests for life. Booze and gaming.