I wanted to add “platform category” for 2020 challenge" - and I’ve never realized there are so many of them. I read about such platforms like TurboGrafx, ZX and Satellaview but Philips, Casio & Mattell never ever.
In my country, Poland, in magazines about electronics, could be found instructions how to build your own Pong-machine. In my city, Academy of Technology and Agriculture had one of those big computers that needed whole room. Much later a lot of richer people from capital city with contacts or family abroad had Commodore64 - you could earn a lot of money by selling illegal copies of western games - but I’m from medium, really quiet city and don’t know anyone there who had it.
After fall of Soviet Union you could buy SNES, but we had “local version” called Pegasus (BTW it can read original Famicom cartriges as well). For most people I know it was their first contact with existence of video games. I had older cousins, so I remember it from my childhood. But no one ever let me play.
The weirdest thing I’ve seen is magazine “Bajtek” about first microcomputers. The magazine was sold “with a game,” but it wasn’t on a floppy disc - the whole code was printed inside and you had to prescribe it by yourself.
I checked that Polish “Act on Copyright” was established in 1994. PlayStation is first platform that you could buy legally from Sony Poland by telesales (since 1996). Various shops were selling originals by adverts in tech magazines, but around this time where born bazaar stands with pirate games imported from Russia.
Makers of the Witcher, CD PROJEKT, were selling CDs (for PC nad PS) imported from USA, and soon they were first company making boxes and instruction booklets in Polish language. Actually their first crazy idea was to make full translation of Baldur’s Gate with dubbing made by proffessional actors. Of course the game’s publisher thought that Poland is a tiny land in the middle of nowhere. Interplay disagreed to pay for translation. Fortunately CDP decided to risk everything they already built & to invest their own money.
Belive me, BG is the best dubbing of all time. Thanks to it’s success CDP conquered Polish PC games market. When I searched through my boxes with ancient stuff, 90% of my old games where distributed by them. And because they were translated, they could be much cheaper than editions for western countries.
Since then “pirates” on the bazaars where mostly music or console games. I remember electronic shops that without shame had posters offering “remaking” your PS2 console. Fortunately my baby is untouched - It was too precious for me to tamper with! Anyway I liked to buy old games and play the same titles over and over again. Even today my Steam account is retro & my brother asks me “Sis, why you’re wasting your time for such uglies, when you finally bought PC able to run AAA games?”.
Please, share your memories