Super Mario 64
The very first contact I ever hard with 64-bit gaming (or anything above 16-bit) came in a Wal-Mart in my hometown, when I was about 14 and still playing the living hell, and most of the dead hell, out of various RPGs on the SNES, mostly EarthBound and Chrono Trigger at that point. The Nintendo 64 had been on the market a month or so, and the Wal-Mart had a demo unit out that you could play, but there was ALWAYS someone playing it and at least one other person waiting to play it whenever I went.
Finally, one glorious morning when I walked into the Wal-Mart with my mother, I bolted as usual to the electronics department the instant I walked in the door, and found the Nintendo 64 wonderfully, terrifically, unoccupied. I tried to walk as casually as I could over to it, but I was 14; you can imagine what that must have looked like.
And I instantly realized why this damned thing was never unoccupied: because the Nintendo 64 was so awesome it blew your mind.
Of course, it later turned out it was mostly just Super Mario 64 that was that unbelievably awesome, but playing that game for the first time was an epiphany. Or maybe 'epiphany' is too mild a word for it. Something closer to 'orgasm' might be closer to the mark. Video games can be like this???
And it just so happened that whoever had last been playing the game had left it off right at the beginning of Jolly Roger Bay, on the first star. Now, as Seifer would definitely want me to point out, the first star is unique--only upon your first entrance to Jolly Roger Bay do you see mists rising out of the bay. Even if you pick Star 1 after you clear it and go back again, the mist is gone forever. (Or until you start a new save file and kick the Big Bob-omb's ass.) But that mist was awesome, and the world was awesome, and 3D gaming was awesome, but most of all, what left the deepest impression was that the music was AWESOME.
And so for the life of me I cannot fathom and cannot accept that this track would be called Dire, Dire Docks. It should be called Jolly Roger Bay, dammit.
I still believe today that Super Mario 64 was, all things considered, the greatest video game in history. You had to be there, and had to be a certain age, to really appreciate the blow-me-away experience of playing it for the first time. It will never be duplicated.