Growing up my family never owned a console - my parents weren't huge fans of video gaming. But we did have a Mac with a color screen and for Christmas one year they bought a 10 pack of games and gave my brothers and me a few each. They were tons of fun - some we never figured out how to play (we may not have read the instructions manual and there may not have been a tutorial...) quite right, but Chuck Yeager's Air Combat was lots of fun (especially with infinite ammo turned on in the F4 Phantom firing out thousands of missiles at enemy bombers) and MacSyndicate - the mac port of the original Syndicate title kept us entertained for hours on end. Childhood friends owned a Super Nintendo so I played some random games on there when we'd go to visit, but other than the appeal of a Star Wars game I never much cared for the console way of life. By the time I was in middle school I started playing MUDs (you know those text based MMO's) and ate them up. They were especially convenient for playing when I was supposed to be writing a paper or something because no matter whether I was working or gaming I was typing on the keyboard and my parents couldn't distinguish from the other room. Then I got into multiplayer RTS games with my friends in high school. C&C Red Alert 2 was a favorite, late night LAN parties of this and Age of Empires 2 and Diablo 2 were a staple of that time period. And then one day a friend bought an Xbox and had Halo. That was awesome. My only exposure to FPS/TPS before Halo was Wolfenstein 3d as a kid and the Marathon series for Mac in middle school (I'd stay after school to play with friends and one really cool teacher) which were not played with a mouse and WASD but arrow keys. This revealed a whole new realm of gaming that felt different from what I could get on the PC. To this day, I still prefer doing single player FPS/TPS on a console to a PC. I understand the benefits of playing them on a PC, but the analog sticks just 'feel' better. Well, years wore on and roommates owned Xbox's so I kept playing awesome games on them but never owned them. I did buy a PS1 at one point in college because it was cheap and games for it were cheap, but that was more to be a hipster than because I cared about playing PS1 games. Anyway, I'm rambling here and you may be wondering why I titled the post about being an Xbox gamer if I did more on a PC growing up. Well, I got married and my wife and I (after buying an HDTV) decided to buy an Xbox 360 - which we did. So for the last 3 years my PC has largely languished in unuse (actually sold my gaming rig to buy a laptop for graduate school) except for one brief addiction filled summer of WoW when neither of us had to work but we were still getting paid. I ignored PS3 and Wii exclusives because I was an Xbox man. Not because I believed it to be superior in any particular way, I had simply had my first positive console experience on an Xbox and was familiar with their exclusives at the time I was looking to buy a console. Gears of War, Fable and a host of non-exclusive games game and went in my life without me thinking too much about getting a PS3. But this last year I got a new job, was making a lot more money than before and the PS3 had a price cut. So I bought the inFamous 2 PS3 bundle and inFamous to go along with it. Then my wife won the Uncharted 1/2 combo pack in a photo contest and just like that I had some of the more critically aclaimed PS3 exclusives to work through. I played inFamous first and it was OK - fun story, good mechanics, but it got a little old by the end since I was largely doing the same things at the end of the game that I was doing at the beginning (which, btw, I know is the same for shooters, but because I a shooter doesn't purport to be more than it is, for some reason in my mind that excuses it from needing to have fresh mechanics through the game). Then I started Uncharted. I'd read the fanboi love of the game online and I'd read the haters complain about it online and doing what I do professionally, I took the average and assumed that'd I'd get a a very cinematic, well written if lacking mechanically game. Oh boy was that wrong. The game is very cinematic - playing last night with my wife watching we were commenting on how well the game handled mood changes as it shifted from fun adventure to a sort-of (emphasis on sort-of) surival-horror back to a strange mix of the two. The writing, if predictable (because I've seen all the Indiana Jones movies), is still excellent. The characters have a real feel to them. They may not be deep, but they're not cardboard cutouts. The mechanics are not the best TPS I've ever played, but they in no way detract from the game. Is the game perfect? No, I get frustrated with the control while platforming because I don't always know what I did wrong and there have been some sequences that just seem like it's too long between checkpoints and take me a few too many tries to get past. But this game is amazing! It's really opened my eyes to the value of owning multiple consoles so that I can experience all the wonderful stories that are being told on different platforms. I can never leave Halo and Gears behind, so I'm not just going to switch camps with the next round of consoles, but I don't want to consider not getting to be with Nathan on his new adventures as he goes forward. Would it be best if there were no exclusives so this wasn't an issue? Yeah, but that's never going to hapeen.
I feel like I was cheating myself by not trying to get multi-platform gaming in before. I still don't (and never will) own a Wii, but I'm strongly considering getting a Wii U so I can play the handful of games that intrigue me on the Wii. Anyway - kind of a brain-dump that I didn't intend for it to be.
tl;dr Don't be a fanboi - experience it all!