That put the bug into me. It wasn't until I stumbled upon this site in January of 2006 (after a Google search for The Punisher for the Genesis) that I really started to collect. Here I am nearly 8 years and 250 games later, but with no time to play...
So I ended up going to Best Buy and picking up a Gamecube along with Zelda and Mario Kart. I enjoyed that so much that I ended up getting a DS, too. Then I began to think about the old systems I had as a kid. I began to search for some Atari-related stuff, which led me to Atari Age. After checking out the Atari 2600 review section at AA, I began to notice that I really enjoyed the reviews of this "Video Game Critic" guy, so I began checking out the rest of his sight. And once I noticed that he had a ton of NES reviews, I was hooked. And the fact that he had reviews for lots of games and systems I had never even heard of just intrigued me even further.
After a while, I began to think, why just read about these games? Why not play them? So I dragged my NES out of the closet. Then the Genesis. I didn't have a lot of games left for either so I sought them out, mostly at local game stores (there were a lot more around here at that time). As time went on, I bought a 2600 off of ebay (no longer had the one from childhood), and eventually acquired systems that I never had as a kid (Intellivision, Colecovision, SNES, etc.)
And to this day, I still use gaming for the same reason I did when I began collecting: stress relief. I still play games just about every day. It really is amazing what 5 minutes of playing the Atari 2600 or NES can do for your mood
Around the time I started playing the Xbox 360 (circa 2006) I packed away my older consoles and stored them in the closet. Ironically, the N64 and SNES would always be functional and available whenever my Xbox 360 broke, which happened more often than I'd like to admit. So, during one of these retro gaming sessions, I had decided it'd be nice to own some of the games that I missed in my childhood. For instance, I never owned a copy of Final Fantasy III or The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, so I made a short list of must-have titles and began collecting SNES cartridges in 2010. I started with the games I remembered from my childhood, then I sought out Top 100 and bestsellers lists to help concentrate my efforts. Since then, I've picked up about 65 cartridges for the SNES, and I've also branched off and purchased a Genesis, PlayStation, and NES to round out the collection. I still own the Xbox 360, but the single-player options are starting to look threadbare. (I still need to pick up a copy of Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.) My favorite franchises, like Resident Evil and Final Fantasy, have morphed into something totally unrecognizable today; I revert to the earlier consoles because this is where I feel these games and many others were at their best.