Retro gaming the very concept means different things to different people, it's all about nostalgia and what your nostalgic for, what the computer or console and its games mean to you, what you associate with them.
I can take just about any machine and give you a story about it, about what it means to me, who I was at that time, what my hopes and dreams where, the friends I was playing the games with, the music I was listening to. The first two machines I remember having were the 48k spectrum and the old wooden Atari 2600, this was at a very early stage in my life when my dreams didn't extend much further than to be like my older brothers. The first game I remember playing on the spectrum would have been a Mister Men educational software tape, I think I was about 3 my mum would be playing Beatles tunes in the background and id just be tapping away not really sure of what I was doing. Soon however I would be growing and as I did I would be playing tank and all manner of simplistic games on the Atari with the whining loading scream of the spectrum in the background, the spectrum games were usually better but the Atari had the instant use appeal to it. In fact I felt rather spoiled as a kid because I had both, when I would visit my friends houses they would have 1 of either an Amstrad, a Spectrum or a Commodore 64 and we would have to play board games or play with transformers while the games loaded. This makes me associate these machines with long load times but also with board games and friends, so no matter how crudy the graphics may be there is still a warmth to be had from seeing them, playing them or even reading about them.
The Master System and the NES I never owned when they were current I always played them at other peoples houses and typically they didn't seem to be owned by kids my age. My first experience of the Master system was a much older cousin had one, it was an original Master system and I cant even remember the games he had , the Master System 2 though I have memories of seeing them a lot id be with one of my older brothers and he would be at a girlfriend house and that's what her or her brother would own and basically id end up playing the Master System and they would disappear obviously now I know they were at least kissing if not screwing but back then I was so absorbed by the likes of chase HQ that I simply didn't give a toss where they were, so I guess the Master system 2 reminds me of sitting in strange houses shunting criminals off the road while loud music usually of a heavy metal persuasion hides noises not suitable for young ears.
I seldom saw a NES, I remember playing them a few times at houses but it certainly wasn't a regular deal, I remember buying one for about £20 with a bunch of games once the Super Nintendo was out and I already owned one, I was so in awe of it yet everyone thought I was crazy for buying ''that old piece of junk'' it was the first time I really got a machine after its time, sure I got new things and I had old things laying around left over from when they were new but this was the first time I had made what you could call a retro purchase. I don't associate music or friends with the NES I associate total silence apart from the game, I took to the NES like some kind of art appreciator I wanted to hear every beep to see every pixel to study and admire them. It was the first time I really though of games as being beautiful in there own right. It was here in this moment that I became more than just a games player but a game collector and when I really began to appreciate them.