Are you interested more in the authentic sounds, or using authentic hardware?
I'm also a total noob here as well (kind of 'discovered' it all just before Christmas), and have equally had lots of fun learning about history and usage etc. (which to an older male here feels kind of bizarre that I didn't get into it at the time!).
I'm going down the gameboy and LSDJ tracker route - purely because it's watching a Chipzel set that inspired me, because I like the idea of making full-blown composition with a 26 year old toy, and because I'm enjoying fixing and modding 'retired' gameboys!
Good luck and I hope you find something that really suits you and inspires you! Thanks to others for software suggestions here - I'd never heard of Deflemask!
EDIT: Wow, how does one end up being quoted at the top of the website?! lol