When I was in 1st grade in 1999, one of my dad's gamer friends treated us to a new PC with a few game demos on it. He was a really cool guy, noticing that I was going down that path (having beaten my way through all my edutainment games and moved on to borrowing Age of Empires and Warcraft from my dad). That gift really shaped my life.
The demos included Wolfenstein, Bejeweled, etc, but the one I gravitated towards was Baldur's Gate. I played the demo over and over and over, creating different characters and making different choices. It was so frustratingly short! And so, for Christmas that year, I got... Icewind Dale. Loved that one too.
I also got Neverwinter Nights when it came out, and THAT was the real formative gaming experience of my childhood. Played it constantly for years. I would stay up all night playing it, and, well, my homework took a backseat to it... I turned out okay, though. And I stayed addicted to PC RPGs throughout my life. I've been a pretty loyal Dragon Age fan since it came out.
Did I ever get a full copy of BG, though? Not until now! The nostalgia came flooding in as soon as I found myself in Candlekeep, and it's incredible getting to go beyond that and see what I was missing all these years. I'm so glad the game's been remastered with such love and care. It's awesome talking to older gamers who were in high school or college when BG originally came out; it feels like a bridge between generations. I guess I was lucky to have a dad who nurtured the gamer in me at such a young age!