Hell yeah, I became a fan on synthesizers in high school, when a friend taught me how to program and play them. Since then, I've been making electronic music, and I pretty much ended up in the career that I have because of synthesizers.
I used to think synthesizers were cheesy, and a horrible evil that was introduced in the 80s, and destroyed the radio in the disgustingly formulaic epic trance era of the 90s, until I discovered Kraftwerk, which sounded unlike anything I had heard at the time. Now I realize that synthesizers in the 80s were often used by rock keyboardists who didn't know shit about how to program them, and just used presets from a DX7, because it sounded novel at the time.
I've always been theoretically minded, and synthesizers provided a way for me to apply that in a musical context. I've never been a great keyboard player, probably because I started when I was 18, and frankly only practiced a lot the first couple of years I played, but I've kept up with production ever since, as it's something that requires less maintenance for me, and comes more naturally.
I've always been using software synths, except early on, when I had a Nord Lead 2. Frankly, the advantage of having knobs was never enough for me, compared to the basically limitless control software offers. I like doing everything in real time, instead of having to record one part at a time. The only instrument hardware I have and regularly use is a Yamaha Motif ES8, which I've kept around mainly for it's amazing weighted keys.
Seminal synth records for me:
Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express (Trans Europe Express)
Autechre - Tri Repetae (Eutow (I cannot recommend this track enough))
Carl Craig - More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art (Televised Green Smoke)
The Orb - The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld (Little Fluffy Clouds)