Dave's Video Game Classics... that was where I remember first reading about MAME while being linked there trying to find this new fangled Nesticle emulator. I was absolutely amazed that there was an emulator that not only ran classic Arcade machines, but there were the roms as well and holy crap, there was like 500 games!!
Arcades were dying off, so to be able to practice at home, so when I found a place in the wild, I could really put my Quarter to my advantage... it was heaven.
TBH, it also helped lead me to then Classic Arcade Gaming mecca, Funspot, where I was able to play these games on their original hardware... in original cabinets... with original controls, with lots of awesome people. MAME definitely helped give me a far deeper appreciation for them.
God, I was just coming off of High School back then.. and into the real world. Now 20yrs later, MAME is not only alive and kicking, but the preservation of sooooo many gems that never would have survived... it warms my heart.
I only wish such deep preservation occurred from Day 1 [Sigh... poor Pig Newton], but it's going on now.
I truly wonder what we will see 20 years later. Hopefully by then, my kids will have grown enough to give me Grand Kids who I can introduce to the magic of an Arcade... all via a [Insert potentially futuristic device, if a PC no longer is the main thing it runs on, here]