Federated Republic of Sean is a user on retro.social. You can follow them or interact with them if you have an account anywhere in the fediverse. If you don't, you can sign up here.
One thing I distinctly remember from my childhood: I could never afford the latest games (and often, they wouldn't run on even the best computer the family had), so I would do things like:

* Play the demo/shareware version of the game - even if it was just one level, replay that one level because that was what I had to work with.
* Go on some abandonware site and find an old version of the game. Can't afford Microsoft Flight Simulator 98? Well, Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0B will do just fine.
* Old versions don't exist? Find a game that had the same concept, but was old and therefore abandonware and easily pirated.

@bhtooefr Same + Yardsales for most video games.

I had a 2600 and an NES in the N64 era.

@ajroach42 @bhtooefr Young whippersnappers. I had to make my own games. I did have a copy of SubLogic Flight Simulator, which MS acquired IIRC, on my C64, though.

@freakazoid @bhtooefr to be fair, by middle school I was making my own games.

They were horrible, and I no longer have any of them, but I did it.

@ajroach42 @bhtooefr The main ones I remember were a tic tac toe game I implemented after watching Wargames, specifically so I could make the computer play against itself, and a game called "pothole" where you were driving a car down the road and had to switch lanes with spacebar to avoid the potholes, as the car slowly moved up the screen and moved faster. The rest were out of books, including the Micro Adventure series. I'd often modify those.

@freakazoid @bhtooefr I had the book "Computer Monsters" and started with those games in Basic on My Atari 400 before that was given away while I was at camp.

Then I "ported" some of that to qbasic, and started tinkering with Game Creation Kits and Inform (6, which I didn't make much progress with. Much later 7, which I spent too much time with.)

@freakazoid @bhtooefr I think my mother still has mine. I’ll check next time I see her.