Got my first waaay back, G1 minibot Cosmos.
What I had access to: Ladybird books, and tapes, and occasionally the marvel(uk) comic book.
What I could get from the local "toy store", were mainly minibots and combiner limbs, so I would have adventures of Bumblebee and the minibots taking on their best counterparts, my major battle was Bumblebee, Warpath, Outback, Powerglide, Seapray and Cosmos, taking on the combaticons, in an imagined scene with the special teams battling, so that Defensor( who I didn't have) could take on Devastator (Again, not having).
The first transformers animated adventure I ever saw was a cinema release of Transformers: The Movie.
In school, there were more people intersted in Star Wars and Action Force (GI Joe) so Action Masters and Beast Wars fell by the wayside ( Local toy store had closed down by that stage anyhow). revisited Transformers during Robots in Disguise, and stayed a fan again since, having my own source of income at the time helped also.
It was probably Simon Furman's ( Marvel) or John Grant's (Ladybird) stories that really brought them to life, and for anyone who decides they were simple reads, they were simpler times, phones were in boxes, mobile was a thing you dangled over the bed of a child,
and Autobots were ignorant of the world around them and needed human help. heck your pocket phone now probably has more computational power than Teletran 1.