Every Tuesday for years I'd go over to my mate Phil's house and play Twilight 2000, Cyberpunk 2020, or the DC Super-Heroes RPG. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons had been something I'd played in my teens, thus hobbling my chances of ever getting a girlfriend, but I had since moved onto quirkier systems in the belief that it made me slightly cooler.
It's how I met Digitiser's chips & teats monkey Mr Cheese, in fact, and realised we were similarly afflicted in this area.
Phil was the only person I ever knew who owned an Atari Lynx, and my envy was off the charts; by 1990, I was an accidental teenage father, and couldn't justify spending nearly two hundred quid on a handheld console like he could.
Yet, I yearned for it. The Lynx was bright and colourful, and it looked like a skateboard with a screen in the middle. That was the handheld that I really wanted. It was the only handheld I wanted. It looked cool and futuristic, and so... of course I got a Game Boy for Christmas that year.
I couldn't exactly complain; it's a miracle my parents bought me anything, so great was their shame and disappointment.
What's interesting about the Game Boy is how it swiftly turned the tables for Phil and I.
It wasn't long before Lynx owners started to realise that a backlit screen was all well and good, but it chewed through batteries in about an hour.
The only real way to play it was to keep the adaptor plugged in, which made a mockery of it being a handheld machine.
What's more, the games might've looked good, but - next to the Game Boy's swiftly expanding library - the Lynx simply couldn't compete.
Tetris - bundled with the first Game Boy - utterly consumed my family over Christmas 1990, with the console being passed from person to person like a new puppy.
I've got a home video somewhere that documents numerous eruptions of glee as high scores were beaten. Anybody who's played Tetris will recall that moment when you first managed to get your lines into double digits, or your first triple-digit score. It was an act of genius on Nintendo's part to include Tetris, rather than Super Mario Land, as the pack-in game.
For me, though, the Game Boy was all about Mario's inaugural outing. Admittedly, it highlighted the limitations of the system - as much as it showed off its potential - being virtually impossible to play unless you were sitting beneath the direct glare of a spotlight.
Oddly though, the game which made Phil realise he'd backed the wrong horse was Bart Simpson's Escape From Camp Deadly. It was a pretty unremarkable game, save for its big, bold graphics, and digitised speech; Bart saying "Ay Carumba" in a fuzzy, static-y rasp, was enough to cause Phil to curse.
Nintendo understood that a handheld system is only as good as its portability. The Game Gear and Lynx weren't portable because you could only ever take them as far as the next power socket, or keep feeding them batteries. Early marketing sold the Game Boy as much to adults as kids - it was a lifestyle accessory that would enliven dull commutes, they told us correctly.
Despite some lighter models, and various special editions, it was 8 years before the next bona fide Game Boy.
The Game Boy Color was evidently the product of witchcraft - not only playing full colour games, but somehow colourising older Game Boy games in a way that was almost successful.
I succeed in remembering Digitiser columnist Stuart Campbell raving to me down the phone after he got his hands on one: "How does it know what colour everything is supposed to be!? It doesn't make any sense!!!!!!"
The Game Boy Advance followed a few years later, and a few years later still came its shiny SP incarnation - Nintendo's return to the clamshell design that it pioneered with the Game & Watch range.
The DS, though, remains one of the few consoles I picked up on import. Released in 2004, I bought it for my kids as an early Christmas present, giving it to them at the airport en route to an extortionately expensive and ill-advised family weekend to Lapland. Suffice to say, I spent the entire plane journey playing on it myself, and couldn't quite wrap my head around the fact it was better than I had imagined it would be.
Not only was Super Mario 64 DS better looking than the N64 version that had been released less than ten years before, but the touch-screen bonus games offered a previously unexperienced connection to the gameplay. What's more, I may also be one of the only people on earth who enjoyed Sega's otherwise unloved Feel The Magic; the closest the DS got to a proper proof-of-concept demo.
Though the 3DS may not be as fêted as Nintendo's earlier handhelds, it remains the only dedicated handheld system that anybody still gives a damn about.
However, with Sony's PSVita and PSP scarcely making an impression on anyone, it seems that the handheld market really is only capable of one brand leader at a time.
These days, Nintendo's chief competitor is the smartphone - and it's an opponent that Nintendo has all but surrendered to.
Nintendo seems to realise that the game is up, with a major move into dedicated mobile phone gaming, and rumours that its next proper console, codenamed NX, will somehow be a hybrid of under-the-telly machine and handheld.
We'll know within the next year or so as to whether Nintendo still knows what it's doing, or whether it's too little too late, and the company is now out of step with what the market wants - as some pundits seem to think. Regardless, it's fair to say that - for more than 20 years - Nintendo produced the finest handheld gaming products the industry has ever seen, and scarcely put a foot wrong.
Apart from the Virtual Boy, of course, but the less said about that retina-tormenting abomination the better.
THE COMPLETE GAMES OF MY YEARS