The NES is the system that truly made me loved gaming, Atari 2600 was fun, but let's face it, most of its games were pretty crappy, NES had a huge catalog of great games from every genre, and created so many franchises that continued to this day (Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Punch Out...) and because of it, Nintendo became virtually synonymous with gaming.
The XBox 360 launched in 2005 is the first console that has graphics that can rival a gaming PC, in previous generations, console games looked pretty dated compare to their PC counterpart. And even after almost 4 years on the market, XBox 360 continue to deliver great looking games.
Well, the main reason why I liked the XBox is not because of the games (it did have a lot of good games, Halo is a great, and Ninja Gaiden Black is probably my favorite action game ever), but because of the greatest homebrew application ever XBMC (XBox Media Center), all the other consoles from its generation (PS2, GameCube, and Dreamcast) are either gathering dust on the shelf or have been packed into a box and stored away in the closet somewhere, XBox is the only one I still use almost every day.
The PS2 is one of the most successful console ever, it also has a breadth of titles to choose from, however, compared to its two main rivals, the GameCube and the XBox, most games looked pretty dated, I pretty much get all the multi-platform games on the XBox and only use it for PS2 exclusive games (and there are a LOT of those!)
The Playstation was the first console from Sony, and it is a runaway success. It has a HUGE library and a lot of great games, however, the early 3D graphics on the Playstaion was so ugly even for its day (I owned a computer with 3dfx Voodoo, and it made PS1 graphics look like vomit).
Playstaion 3 is a great piece of technology, compared to the XBox 360, it is whisper quiet and much more reliable, however, XBox 360 has more games, and multi-platform games tend to look better on the XBox 360 (The gap is closing though), so like PS2, the PS3 is pretty much used for Sony exclusive games, but unlike the PS2, because of the market position of the PS3, there aren't nearly as many exclusive games on this system. I used the media functionality on the PS3 more the gaming, but it didn't have nearly the codec support of the XBMC, I have to run medias through transcoding services run on another PC, which is a pain in the butt. If Sony can sort through these problems, it will probably shoot up to the top of the list!
The GameCube is the least successful Nintendo console released, and even though most of the main Nintendo Franchises did make it to the system, but the support from 3rd parties began to dwindle toward the latter half of GameCube's life. I basically only played Nintendo games on the system, and later on, it is pretty much only used for Mario Party games when friends came over.
The Sega Saturn featured awesome 2D graphics, too bad the market was moving toward 3D graphics at the time, and Sega figured it out too late and hastily put in some 3D capabilities in Saturn, which resulted in even worse graphics than the PS1.
Are there Vaseline on the TV?! The Nintendo 64 was severely limited by the use of the cartridge format, and they have to blow up textures and filter the crap out of them so they don't look too pixelated, but that made every games look very blurry. There are some bright spots though, Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time was probably one of the best game ever made, too bad these are few and far between.
Hmm.. I know Wii is all the rage now, everybody's heard of the stories that some Soccer Moms that never laid a finger on a controllers before are now lining up to buy the Wii, but it lacked the visual fidelity of the XBox 360 and the PS3. The Wii has pretty much become the party machine in my household, it's only used when we have guests over, other times, it's just gathering dust in my entertainment center.