Back in the good old days you were a nerd for playing any kind of video game. When did this shit go mainstream?
For me it was with the psone. I still remember how games like gran turismo, resident evil and tomb raider suddenly eradicated the "games are for kids" mentality.
People were too embarrassed to play sonic or super mario at a demo station in the middle of a mall, but GT? Hell no, that shit was cool. There were no cute animals jumping around, there were cars and they looked fucking real.
And Lara Croft? For the first time people would look at a videogame character (the art, not the in-game model mind you) and say "she's hot". I remember buying a gaming mag that had a special about tomb raider with lots of pics of Lara in bikini and night dress and some friends of mine who had never shown any interest in videogames were like: "wow is that from a game? What game is it? What's it like?"
Then later another friend of mine was reading the mag. He opens it on the Nights review and was like "wow, this is retarded, you're too old for this shit man". Next there's a review of F1 for the psone. "He looks at the pics for a few minutes in complete silence and then asks: "wow, games look like this now? This is so cool!". Then he looks at the score, realizes that it's slightly lower than Nights' and goes on a rant about how the reviewers must be retarded.
I was actually stupid enough to try to explain how great Nights was but he just looks at me and says: "Dude... WTF?"