What’s that quote about the best fantasy book being whichever one you read when you were 15? I tried to look it up but Google isn’t being very helpful. Anyway, I think that may hold true for consoles too:
PS2: I don’t think I appreciated at the time how thoroughly the PS2 dominated its console cycle and what that meant for the kinds of games that appeared on it. I still had a Gamecube and Xbox at various points, but it’s hard to overstate how much the PS2 was my go-to console during a certain era. I can’t even list the ways it impacted my tastes as a gamer, because it basically defined them; this was where my MGS obsession was at its peak, my streak with JRPGs continued (another shoutout for Shadow Hearts), I started getting into horror games, and I was exposed to a ton of niche genres for the first time. I must have had gone through at least three or four separate consoles, and Persona kept me actively playing it well into the Xbox 360 era.
PS3: It’s weird to think how much I loved this one despite all of its issues. I finally got one when Heavy Rain was released (lol) and then my Xbox 360 died a few months later so it effectively became my main console for the rest of the generation. This feels like the beginning of the modern era in a lot ways; this is where I played Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Dishonored, New Vegas, Skyrim - even though some of those games are 10+ years old now, they don’t feel old to me in the same way a PS2 game does.
PSX: I was a Nintendo kid so I got this late in its life-cycle - most of my playtime with PSX games was probably through backward compatibility on the PS2 rather than the original console. Its main legacy has to be solidifying my love of JRPGs - I had no idea which were any good so I just consumed them indiscriminately; the FFs, Xenogears, Lunar 2, Chrono Cross, Legend of Dragoon, Legend of Legaia. One of my favorite memories is of playing Final Fantasy VI from the Final Fantasy Anthology collection and being absolutely bowled over by it.
PS4: This one’s placement says more about me than the actual console: sometime between the PS3 and PS4, I fell out of love with console gaming. I’m sure entering adult life, with bills and a full-time job, had a lot to do with that. Still, it’s home to Bloodborne, which might be my single favorite game ever, and it’s where I played The Witcher 3, so it’s not like it went completely ignored. I have good memories of playing through Until Dawn while my partner and our roommate watched, too. If I were five or ten years younger I’m sure I would have spent more time with it.
PSP: Most of my memories of the PSP are weird and awkward, which is fitting since I started high school not long before it came out. Lumines is the one game that stands head and shoulders above the rest for me - I got it with money my aunt sent me for my birthday one year, and then spent the rest of the summer holed up in various corners, zoning out to it via headphones. I also remember getting really excited for The Third Birthday, subsequently experiencing intense disappointment, and then finally trading in the console and most of its games for a copy of Skyrim a few months later.
And the Vita is the only Sony console I never owned, despite threatening to buy one for many years.