Childhood MacNuggets, because they (along with most things) were better when we were kids (when they were made of mystery dark meat).
Video games now can be beaten by anyone, even someone who's never picked up a controller. All you have to do is simply set the game settings to noob. But back then, there was only one level: badass mofo. You could only beat the game if you mastered your character's moves and abilities. Your skill level wasn't measured in points at the end of the level. It was measured by how far in the game you could reach too. On average you had nine lives (3 lives for 3 "continues"). And you died if you got hit ONCE. In Call of Duty, you can live if you get shot ten times and there's unlimited continues. Even in modern Mario games on the DS, you die if you get hit once, but there's unlimited lives and/or continues. So you win even if you suck. LAME
Just to give you an example of how hard it was to beat some games, I got Sonic 2 for Sega Genesis for my first communion gift (around 1995-96). That game was so fun but I could never beat it. For years I got to the last boss, at which I had around three to six lives left. I had to write down Dr. Robotnik's moves so that I could remember the pattern for the next time I played (because I expected to fail). I tried to beat this game more than ten times but I couldn't. But as a second grader, I didn't cry when I lost. I accepted that I wasn't good enough, but that was okay because only badass mofos win games.... fast forward.... UCLA first year living in the dorms. David introduces me to simulators which can play old games like NES, Genesis, Super Nintendo, etc on a computer. It's cheating because you can save your game progress. So when I got to the last stage, I saved it and everytime I got a couple hits on Dr. Robotnik, I saved. And when I died I just reloaded to the previous stop before I died. I knew I was cheating but when I finally won the game I felt tears of joy streaming down my face. A decade of trying, and I finally WON. This is how games should be, rewarding because it is hard. The final stage below, where this guy makes a mockery of the final boss.
Of course, some games are SO HARD that it's impossible for a normal human to beat the game. I could have beat Sonic if I had a little more skill, but I'm pretty sure I could never beat Contra without unlimited life cheats.
And finally, some games are so IMPOSSIBLE that when I was a kid I could only get through like four or five levels out of ten. And even when I used my saves through emulator, I gave up because it was still so hard. It would have taken me hours to finish that game because I would have to save my progress every thirty seconds. Example: Ninja Gaiden. This video below is long but if you watch it you can see how many random things are thrown at you.
The bottom line: kids nowadays feel entitled to winning, or else they end up whining. Back in my day there was no easy mode, you only won if you were a badass mofo.
Random best memory of video games as a kid: Going to my friend's birthday party in second grade, and being able to own all of his older brother's 8th grader friends in Mortal Kombat 2.