My first was a Radio Shack Pong console, I think from about 1976. I've never been able to find another one like it on the web, but I remember it had two sliders built into the main console. Tennis, Hockey, Handball, and Practice. That got old quick.
Then, for a couple of years I would tag along every time my mother went to a department store so I could wait my turn to play Combat on the Atari 2600 they all had on display. When they came down to $130, I bought one. $30 a cartridge, and I was making $1.85/hour working at the local drugstore. 1980, I think.
I used college as an excuse to buy a Commodore 64, so I could write papers on it. In 1984, that was $200 at Target. The required 5.25" floppy drive was also $200, and finally, the printer was $200. That was a lot of dough for a student to fork out back then. I might have used it for two papers. But the games were pretty good.
I didn't get another console until my rich brother-in-law bought me a PlayStation for a gift. Then a PS2, then a Wii for my own kids. That covers 36 years of gaming.