This is the system we play with the most, and the one that most people coming to our house enjoy. First, it's got HUNDREDS of games because it plays all PS1 games as well as its own PS2 games. Two of our favorite games of all time - Final Fantasy and Grand Theft Auto - have their series only on the PS2.
It can play CDs and DVDs, has the Spyro series, as Kingdom Hearts, and tons of others. The games you buy for this system literally keep you entertained for months and months. The games tend to appeal to teenagers and older, with many being adult-only. If that's your crowd, this is the system for you. It's a perfect high school - college - adult system.
PS2 Console Review
Top 5 PS2 games for 2002
PS2 Reviews & Walkthroughs
The XBox is fantastic for adults. It doesn't have a lot of games out, but the ones that are out are very addictive. So you need to be selective and focussed in your gaming. If you would for example buy MechAssault, play it over and over at the harder levels, and then play it for months on line vs human opponents, you'll love this.
Halo is another *classic* that is just as fun single player as in co-op mode. It has one of the best co-op modes I've seen. We did play Halo and Mech Assault non stop when we got each one. Both were fantastic. If you want more variety, though, you might look into one of the other two options. We enjoy the XBox as our secondary system.
XBox Console Review
Top 5 XBox games for 2002
XBox Reviews & Walkthroughs
Yes, the GameCube is tiny, and it comes in cute colors. It doesn't play CDs or DVDs. But its small, portable size makes it perfect for tucking into a knapsack and bringing along to relatives when visiting, or keeping in the van for long trips.
The vast majority of games for the GameCube are for the younger set. Animal Crossing is a *great* game that everyone I've shown it to has loved. Super Mario Sunshine is also great, as are Pikmin and many others. You can easily play these for weeks and weeks. Yes, I know there are one or two adult titles out there for the parents to play. But the GameCube really shines in its amazing offerings for the younger set.
GameCube Console Review
Top 5 GameCube games for 2002
GameCube Reviews & Walkthroughs