I have a boatload of nostalgic memories about this time. Being born in '87, I grew up in what was perhaps the greatest generation of gaming. I experienced the evolution from the NES all the way to the 360s and PS3s of today. Though I clearly hang my proverbial hat on my knowledge of the games of yesteryear; the one game that I believe defined my generation wasn't released until 1998.
Thats right, Pokemon. Not Emerald, Firered, Silver, Gold, whatever came after. I'm talking about simple Red and Blue. Predated by the infamous Pikachu Tomagach-styled electronic pet, these games defined my middle school years. The hype had been built up to such a staggering degree from the collectible cards (which I also was infatuated with) and the aforementioned Pikachu toy, that you couldn't go anywhere without seeing something Pokemon.
I remember the fateful day I got my Red version, along with a red Gameboy Pocket (the height of Gameboy technology at the time). Staying up for hours leveling my Squirtle into a Wartortle and beyond gave me intense enjoyment, to the point of obsession. All of my friends were into it just as much, we took our games to school and played everyday, putting schoolwork and our real lives aside. The series reached such a fever pitch that I commuted nearly 3 hours that Spring to a huge Pokemon meed to show off my immense collection of cards and compete in a competition for the game. I was ousted in the 3rd round but that didn't alleviate my buzz at all. Competitions were being held everywhere, I played in card competitions, game competitions, I felt like a superstar; and at 12 it was the greatest thing ever.