1996-97, I somehow discovered emulation and frequently searched for ROMs on sites like The Dump, EmulationExcitement and others like it.
It was awesome (and still is) to play NES, SNES, Genesis, SMS, games on my PC, but what really blew me away was MAME and the ability to play arcade games at home.
That's a good one. I loved all the emulator stuff when I discovered it and remember futzing around with NESticle, ZSNES, and Genecyst trying to get my Sidewinder pad to work with them...but the MAME thing fucking blew me away. I flipped out at being able to play shit like arcade Punch-Out!!, for free, on my PC. The first time I fired up TMNT and saw the intro I couldn't believe it. I remember bothering the shit out of some nerdy friends while trying to figure out how to set it up/use it. Later on I got a frontend but at the time I was just using the command prompt and the keyboard to control it. Didn't care, still was amazed.