@n64coder - Hi, sorry if this is long-winded, but few people can pass an opportunity to talk about themselves. :-) ...
I've been doing electronics as a hobby for many years (when I was about seven I was already taking car stereos apart). I also do TV / VCR / DVD / Amp repair and build audiophile amps etc. All self-taught really.
I then started programming PIC processors in assembly language around ten years ago and it was a fantastic learning resource. I now use AVR chips more often as they seem more powerful for the same cost and are actually a bit easier to program for.
I would HIGHLY recommend anyone to buy a simple kit like the Arduino, then program it in C using AVR Studio (I don't like the Arduino's own software tbh, you don't have to use it luckily).
A few years ago, I got on a mission to get a CF / HDD working on the Doc V64. It took literally months to figure out how the original code worked, then once I got it loading a ROM from the HDD, I had to write the code for parsing the FAT32 file system...
I'd never programmed a 6502 before but it's quite similar to a PIC I suppose.
I'm a bit of an obsessive when it comes to game console hardware. Mainly with the N64, but it's been fun messing with the DC (when things work as expected). ;-)
Funny enough, I'm not much of a gamer as I get bored easily and I'd personally rather be building or creating something.
My interest in the N64 started mainly because of SGI - I loved seeing the awesome power of those machines when they started being used for CGI in movies like Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park, and for rendering DK Country on the SNES.
Of course, PC's already had 3Dfx Voodoo and PowerVR cards when the N64 came out, but it was still amazing to see Mario 64 for the first time.
Some of you in the UK might remember the superb series Bad Influence (I wish it was still on!) - I mean, just imagine seeing this back in November 1993 when PC's were still running crappy Windows 3.1 and I'd only just got my first CD-Rom drive!...
The Dreamcast is also a great machine. I'm sorry to say that I left it in the loft (attic) for the past seven years though, so I'm starting a bit of a re-discovery.
OK, enough of that me thinks. I might have to split this into two posts - is that allowed?