The getty processes configured by the entries in /etc/inittab create pseudoterminal sessions that you can access by pressing <CTRL><ALT><F#>, where <F#> is one of your <F1>-<F6> keys.
This can be useful in many ways. It is a quick way to access a terminal session, or a way to get a logon prompt when something bad is happening to your X session. I personally use it to turn my local linux box into a KVM switch by launching multiple XDMCP sessions to different remote unix boxes by invoking from each of the terminal sessions:
X :# -query <hostname>
where # in #th X session I am launching.