I have three distinct memories of my earliest vidya experiences.
1. When I was 4, I had a cavity in one of my teeth. After getting my filling, my dad took me to a bar in the same strip mall with him and they had a Super Mario Bros cabinet there. I didn’t actually play the game, I was just jostling the stick and hitting the buttons while biting my numb tongue.
2. With my dad again, different bar, still 4, much later at night. Don’t know the exact circumstances, but it was kind of a harder party atmosphere, lots more people and loud music. They had an Indiana Jones arcade cabinet there and once again, I was just jostling the stick and pushing buttons “playing” the game. No idea where my dad was, but I remember some chick coming up to me and asking me what I was doing, and I was explaining the game to her.
3. At my dads friends house during a party, friends kids were a couple years older than me. They had an NES and finally I got to play for real. The game was Top Gun, and I can still hear little Greg trying to tell me what to do to land one the carrier.
My dad isn’t even an alcoholic or anything. Just completely irresponsible and kind of shitty at certain parental duties. I’m lucky I was never kidnapped or worse. Still gets me angry to this day when I think about it, especially now that I’m a father myself.