Gaming thoughts... 7/8/11

Console durability.

They sure don't make them like they used to. I think that applies to video game consoles as much as anything, doesn't it? They consoles are bigger, more moving parts, they get hotter, the electronics are both more advanced and sensitive... but let's compare a bit. Systems still bouncing around my house and working with minimal maintenance from me:

Old ones still working:

- Atari
- Sega Genesis w/ CD
- Sega Saturn
- N64
- Game boy color
- Game boy advance

Consoles I've had in the past that are now dead and gone:

- Game boy
- Playstation 1
- Playstation 2
- Gamecube

Modern consoles and how they've fared:

- I've had my Wii die once and had to have a refurbished one sent to me for $75

- I've had 1 Xbox 360 red ring and get fixed by Microsoft and then break down in another way that wasn't covered by warranty

- I have purchased 2 other 360's which are both running

- I have purchased 2 PS3's - one broke down last night and no longer reads any discs (feels like it's not spinning)

- We have purchased 3 DS Lites. These get their own breakdown:

* One's cartridge bay broke and Nintendo fixed for free (it was only 2 weeks old), and then that same thing broke about a year and a half later. $50 to fix so we'll probably just replace eventually. (this is my youngest daughter's)

* One's screen cracked when dropped on its side - not even a direct hit, but broke. We had replacement on it though so for $10 we got a new one that lasted until it was traded in for a DSi which has held up well (my son's)
* The third has worked flawlessly (my oldest daughter's)

PSPs - also get two sub headesr:

* Mine was a 2nd generation run, has worked flawlessly
* My father's was a 2nd generation run and it died about a year ago and he gave it to me for parts

It's sort of amazing that I still have working consoles from two decades ago, and then myself and many other people have had to replace modern consoles in two years (or less). I've heard horror stories ranging from red ring of death for the 360, yellow light of death for the PS3 to Wii black screen of death - I've actually suffered two of these issues myself (the 360 and Wii).

But we invest so much in these systems, we're bound to replace them most of the time, right? I was already set to sell some stuff to one of my buddies for about $400. I suspect I'll get a new PS3 when that happens because my game collection is worth more than that alone and we really do heavily use two of them in two different rooms (yes, at this point I expect no sympathy as I clearly spent far more on gaming systems than I ever have on a good, grownup car). Bummer is I was considering a 3DS or putting the money toward getting my wife a new cpu.

What are your thoughts? Have you had any modern console horror stories of your own? What did you do? replace or sell your game collection after? With the Wii U coming out, I worry about the controller durability as well - now there's an additional, potentially very expensive component to concern yourself with.

Also, I've been hearing rumors of a $50-$100 price drop for the PS3. Anyone else heard this? Since I won't be getting my $400 until Aug 16th, I'm really hoping those rumors come to pass sooner than later!


  1. "as I clearly spent far more on gaming systems than I ever have on a good, grownup car"

    LOL, that was hilarious.

    I'm reminded of my wife talking about our old toaster that lasted 10 or 15 years. (some cheapo from walmart) Now we're lucky if we get two out of the new one.

    That does seem like quite a few breakdowns with newer-gen consoles which is never good to see. I can't remember what happened with my nes and TG16 though I think my TG was still in pretty good shape. Also having less moving parts in the HuCard may have helped to keep it working smoothly.

    So far my Wii that was purchased late 2008 has been working fine [[knocking on wood]]. I used to let it sit on standby mode with WiiConnect24 on, but have disabled standby for awhile now. It uses significantly more power and it seems to run hot with standby. At this point the messages are pretty few and far between and are mostly for Mario Kart tournaments.

    As far as the Wii U, that tablet controller is certainly a big chuck of the expense. Losing or damaging a mote is one thing....

    I hadn't been keeping up with PS3 news, but that's interesting if it is going to have a 50-100 price drop. it's probably best that I don't think too much about that. :)

  2. Glad you enjoyed the comment about the car - sadly, I wish I were making that up. I don't think I have yet owned a car made in the same decade I've owned it. Thank god I have a mechanic for a neighbor, because short of adding basic fluids, I'm pretty useless on car repairs. :)

    I actually did a lot of repairs on older consoles in the past, and have had great luck keeping them going. It's the modern ones that break down. Take my PS3 issue - basically everyone agrees it's one of two things - either the laser eye or the spinner. Neither is cheap, and if I guess wrong, I would have to try the other. And then there's the whole "what if I break it" thing. I suspect that unit's just going to become a netflix, downloaded games system from now on.

    I turned my Wii standby off after getting it back. Not sure if it was a factor in my black screen of death, but I figure less running is a good thing. Glad yours has held up so well though. This article has me reminded that I need to clean out mine and my wife's pc soon. Maybe today when I finish this post.

    Definitely hoping for that price drop as I'll no doubt buy another ps3 soon. odds are, it'll announce the day after I buy one. :P

    Well, happy hunting on the last day of Steam Sales today!

  3. I think it was how the comment was phrased that struck me. :) At times I go back and forth with the thought of having a car that I run into the ground or doing the payment thing. Granted I did probably spend too much on my 'fun car' (acura tsx) before the current one. I think minivan-ville is in our near future after the move...

    Good point on the ps3 repair. You could make it worse or end up spending more than it's worth.

  4. We did the mini-van thing and it was actually pretty handy. mind you, I'd personally prefer a car like ooooh, sayyyy, your Acura - but the minivan definitely had its uses. Especially when we moved. We got a lot of furniture cheap from Goodwill and garage sales - and we couldn't have moved it with my Prism or the wife's Cutlass.

    I've never been much of one for spending a good deal on cars. I think I got soured on it with my 2nd car ever. I was 19 and found a car that passed 2 mechanical inspections, had nice low miles - it set me back an entire summer's worth of savings at my job, and it turned out to be a complete lemon. I sunk a couple thousand more into it to try and make it work, took it to multiple shops, no one was ever able to discern the issue so not 5 months later I was stuck w/ no car and no savings.

    Always taken a sort of spend low and beat it to death approach since. :P

  5. I read your wifes blog, and was linked over here. great post. It's good info about the consoles. so far, we only have a 360, and we have had it just under 3 yrs. So long as we keep the dog hair vacuumed out, we have no issues.*knock on wood* As for the car comment... I have yet to owns a car that wasnt handed down to me from my family. My first car was a 1990 Ford Escort Pony, held together with duct tape, bungie cords, aluminum foil, rubber bands and a few yards of hemp cord. The 2nd was a 1996 Plymouth Voyager... the transmission fell out of the engine compartment when I got off work on night in college. The 3rd was a 1995 Dodge Neon, that used 12 qt of oil on a 3 hour drive, one way. Then a 1999 Honda Accord that got the sterio stolen, and 2 weeks later got itself stolen from our parkinglot. Then we got a Buick Regal, which did all sorts of random crap, including but not limited to overheating for no reason, and sputtering to silent death on the freeway. and finally, our current Mini-van (2000 chrysler voyager) which used to randomly lose all power and I had to use forward momentum to shift into neutral and start again before I could shift into drive. I was in a car wreck in Feb, now the car doesnt die at every stop sign or left turn, but I have no horn or cruise control.

    I am def. ready for a decent car, but I think that will have to wait until I graduate from my 2nd degree.

  6. @Chalgyr:
    I can see how a lemon experience like that can really sour you to cars. (i couldn't help it) Sounds like a bummer.

    The TSX was pre-wife and kids and it was quite fun for what it was. I kept it in very good shape and put that money towards my current car. (toyota highlander) Pretty sure that cool cars are nowhere in sight for quite a few years. Also clean cars will also be a challenge with the little ones.

    @Echo M:
    Yikes, that's some terrible car luck!

  7. Yeah, it's an unfortate side effect - as technology gets more complex, its lifespan reduces.

    It's the moving parts that are prone to breaking down.

    The good news is, with cloud gaming and downloadable gaming moving up in popularity, it might not matter a whole lot much longer if some hardware dies. The games will be preserved into forever.

  8. @Echo M - thanks for stopping by! My wife's blog has definitely been getting some traffic. Two of my first 3 cars were purchased from my parents, and the other one was the world's biggest freaking lemon. ever. I usually take really good care of my systems - clean them out regularly - between kids and cats, I sort of have to! :)

    And like Robert (bad puns and all :P ) - I feel for you on the car problems. :(

    @Games - I was thinking of you and your digital platforms a bit when reading this. As much as I enjoy owning physical copies of games for resales and to acquire used - I think that puts a lot more wear and tear and creates more points of failure on a system than just working with digital copy.

    Thanks for the comments so far!

  9. I actually acquired my PS3 because it was a friend's that stopped working. It cost me about $90 to fix it, and has been working since...though it's not used very much for gaming!

    "I worry about the controller durability as well..."
    N64 controllers and the wobbly joystick problem...uhhhhh.
    I have watched a few videos on how to fix it, but haven't attempted it myself yet.

    As for the PS3 price drop, I haven't heard it, but honestly I would imagine Sony's just going to keep the price at $300 for as long as Microsoft keeps the 360 I think they're both making profit at those prices, and will hold the prices until the other makes a move.

    Speaking of the cars conversation though...we're in the market, and Mrs. Coffee is debating on a few right now(SUVs really).

  10. @coffee - thanks for the input! I do recall the wobbly stick issue with the 64 and actually performed that bit of surgery a couple of times myself. So far, no dead patients - whew.

    For my PS2 the left analog sticks used to wind up breaking for me a fair amount. My wife blamed it on all of the hours of madden me and two of my buddies played. Hard to dispute that reason. The ps3 controllers, looking almost the exact same worried me at first, but they've actually held up very well despite how much the kids and I use them (though my youngest does tend to pick the rubber coating off of the left analog sticks for some reason on some of my controllers).

    The logic I've heard for the potential ps3 drop is that Sony wants to get their console into as many houses as possible before the Christmas releases this year and the Wii U next year. I'm hoping there's some validity to it, but also not holding my breath.

    Speaking of grown-up cars, my quest for a new ps3 just got a $175 setback to the tune of some car repairs last night. blah


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