I think 2 or 3 months after my brother died in Feb '97, I got the desire to play some original Castle Wolfenstein, which I used to play on his Apple II whatever when I was a much younger Gor. I knew that emulators existed and started looking around. This soon lead me to Nesticle and MAME, which really interested me a lot more than Apple emulation. I got a bit hooked on the whole emulation thing and purchased a Hotrod SE in '99 (I believe) for more accurate control.
I probably came across mameworld in the search for teh romz, and was a regular lurker in the forums soon after. I lurked for months (maybe a year) before posting a few shots at jop and faz, which was soon followed by the posting of my Pac-Man shirt pic in summer '01.