Remember when consoles used to last forever?

Last night whilst watching the Superbowl (I'm English, so it was an evening event for me), I got nattering to my friend about retro gaming. Last year I went on a mental GBA frenzy and played all the games I couldn't afford whilst growing up; The Minish Cap was a particular highlight. This led off onto another topic that I brought up previously in my last post: remember when consoles used to work forever?
 
Old consoles: they were analog, they felt cheap...some of them were spring loaded and required additional impliments to help them run*. But you know what, they worked. And they still work. I plugged my N64 a few days ago and it worked. Not only did it work but its didn't drop frames or struggle, it didn't mis-read anything or just crash out at random. And it was bloody good fun too. My GBA still works. My original GameBoy still works. My GameGear still works.
 
I know systems these days are a lot more complicated, with more components to help them screw up, but is that any excuse for them to conk out after just a few years of ownership? I don't think that it is.
 
My PS3 YLOD'd a few months ago and I was gutted. So gutted, that I took to it to bits with a screwdriver and a heat gun and fixed the damn thing. It won't stay repaired forever though and sooner or later I will have to replace it. I think thats unacceptable, personally.
 
But is it now a standard part of modern console ownership?
 
*I always kept a spoon near my consoles, lost track of how many times I have used one to get my console running in some form or another!

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Posted by jaffaz

Last night whilst watching the Superbowl (I'm English, so it was an evening event for me), I got nattering to my friend about retro gaming. Last year I went on a mental GBA frenzy and played all the games I couldn't afford whilst growing up; The Minish Cap was a particular highlight. This led off onto another topic that I brought up previously in my last post: remember when consoles used to work forever?
 
Old consoles: they were analog, they felt cheap...some of them were spring loaded and required additional impliments to help them run*. But you know what, they worked. And they still work. I plugged my N64 a few days ago and it worked. Not only did it work but its didn't drop frames or struggle, it didn't mis-read anything or just crash out at random. And it was bloody good fun too. My GBA still works. My original GameBoy still works. My GameGear still works.
 
I know systems these days are a lot more complicated, with more components to help them screw up, but is that any excuse for them to conk out after just a few years of ownership? I don't think that it is.
 
My PS3 YLOD'd a few months ago and I was gutted. So gutted, that I took to it to bits with a screwdriver and a heat gun and fixed the damn thing. It won't stay repaired forever though and sooner or later I will have to replace it. I think thats unacceptable, personally.
 
But is it now a standard part of modern console ownership?
 
*I always kept a spoon near my consoles, lost track of how many times I have used one to get my console running in some form or another!

Posted by Stang

How does a spoon assist you in getting a console to run correctly? I remember blowing the hell out of my NES (hurr he said blow his NES), that is all though.

Posted by Rawrz

Im guessing thats just how its gonna continue to be since as these consoles become more and more technologically advanced, they become more expensive to mass produce so companies try to find any possible way they can to produce them for as cheap as possible, which leads to them dying becoming  a lot more common. Its rather disappointing especially since you have to pay so much for something that you have no idea if it will even last more then a few years.

Posted by Fallen189

I still have my launch 360, works fine. And my first SNES.

Posted by TheHBK

Yeah, but as things get more complicated and we demand more from our consoles, the more likely they will crap out.  My SNES still works and so does my Game Gear.  But would we willing to trade away online play, wireless controllers, hard drives, demo downloads and multimedia functions just to have a system that only plays games, and I mean only plays the disc, no updates, no online play, no dlc, no downloadable games.
Also remember, that the consoles we used to buy were relatively more expensive when you consider inflation.  My SNES cost 200 bucks when I got it Christmas 92.  Today, that would be 300 bucks and it did a lot less than a 360 or PS3 does today at 300 bucks.

Posted by Halberdierv2

my SNES went dead 2 years back, but not after 15 years of service. I still have my N64 and me GBC in working order. both for around 10 years. and my bro has an original GBA that still works.

Edited by kmdrkul

My SNES stills its proudly on my dresser, played quite frequently.  Killer Instinct never gets old.  I've probably beaten Blackthorne a hundred times.  The SNES controller feels so small in my hands, but I can throw it at the wall as hard as possible and it probably won't break. 
 
My Halo 3 version Xbox 360 has gotten the red rings twice in it's lifetime.  Everytime my SNES doesn't turn on, I just sit there and blow into the cartridges a thousand times, and repeatedly smash the cartidges into the console, somehow thinking that the more force applied, the higher the chances the game will turn on will be.  It usually works.

Posted by ajamafalous
@Fallen189 said:
" I still have my launch 360, works fine. "
Me too, never had to send it in once.
Posted by Cube

Had to send in my 360 and my launch PS3, never had a problem with my Wii.

Posted by LaszloKovacs

Seeing as how those systems are about as complex as a cordless phone while the new ones are routinely pushing the limit of what we can do with microprocessors in consumer electronics 20 years later, I'd say it makes sense that they fail more often.
 
Plus, the warranties are getting better to compensate. My older brother owned a NES for about two weeks before it died on him and nobody would replace it. That's why I grew up in a Sega-only house until the PSX/N64 generation.

Posted by DukeTogo

Comparing cart-based systems with no moving parts to a 360 and PS3 is apples and oranges.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@Stang said:
" How does a spoon assist you in getting a console to run correctly? I remember blowing the hell out of my NES (hurr he said blow his NES), that is all though. "
Simple: you take the spoon and hit the console for not working. It'll learn its lesson soon enough.
Edited by Valkyr

If only next generation consoles use solid state storage devices, life would be easy, also manufacturers are not solving the heating problems as they should, they only put enough effort so the console can live enough to go out of the warranty period, with enough cooling and solid state storage they could last forever like the old days

Posted by JoelTGM

My PS3 seems pretty reliable, but it and the 360 are obviously much more delicate than an N64 or Gameboy.  My 360 has died several times all by itself, and my friend's has died twice for the one year he's owned it so far, but luckily he bought one of those slim PS3s. 

Posted by Shadow

No.  No I don't.  I remember them lasting about twice as long as the gamecube and having as many good games in their lifetime as a system today gets in a single year.

Posted by Marz

Just blow into your game system, always does the trick.

Posted by MikkaQ

Well A) Modern consoles are way more complicated, actually heat up during use, and have a little something called "moving parts" 
 
B) A monkey can maintain a NES, they're super easy to repair, and those'll last forever if you maintain them with regular cleanings, and replacing bum parts and shit. 

Posted by Atomasist

Console still last a long time, it just depends on how you take care of them. My launch Xbox 360 died about a month ago due to the E74. Also Superman 64 is the best game ever.

Posted by jaffaz
@DukeTogo: @XII_Sniper: Yes, moving parts. I openly stated they were far more complex and superior in terms of design and the sheer number of components. Regardless, I still think its frustrating that the life expectancy is decreasing as things get more technologically advanced. Surely it should be the other way around, should it not? 
 
@Shadow: True. They certainly have more games in a much shorter amount of time. 
 
@Video_Game_King: That is EXACTLY how it works :)
Posted by pause422

After the Xbox 360 released, its hard to remember when consoles used to last a while.

Posted by Tireyo

I hate it when old systems give up the ghost. = - ( I lost my NES and SNES.

Posted by MikkaQ
@jaffaz:  No because of what we just both said, multiple times. Anything with moving parts just... wears down over time. Like old people. Something without it... will last a lot longer. So far technology hasn't been able to combat the passage of time, and wearing. 
 
But this stuff's pretty cheap to replace too, nowadays. I mean your xbox dies completely, instead of paying 500 like it used to, now it's 200 to get a new one, for example.
Posted by jaffaz
@XII_Sniper: Fair point. Can't argue with that...nice example aswell :P I just don't know if im ready for it to be disposable. I grew up playing video games, they were reliable and I trusted them. I think other kids deserve the same reliablity, though you are correct that they are probably more accustomed to replacing things and getting shut of tech that is out of date.
Posted by AgentofChaos

Hey this is the side thought thread I was promised! :D A crackling good yarn!

Posted by TheGreatGuero

Man, I'm fed up with the bogusness of quality in consoles and controllers this gen and last gen. Last gen I had 2 PS2s break on me, about 4 PS2 controllers, 2 Xbox controllers, and a GC controller all screw up on me in some fashion. With the PS2 controllers, usually the shoulder buttons would get jacked up. On the Xbox, both of my controllers stopped working because of some issue with the whole "safe-break" connector thing, whatever you wanna call it, which made the Xbox think my controllers were unplugged when they weren't. I can't remember exactly what happened with the GC controller, but I think the B button had become deflated. Not too mention the analogs for all of them had lost their center point, making them very sensitive to moving left. This problem has carried over to this gen too. Playing games like GTAIV and not moving, but my controller has me slowly drifting left into traffic or off the top of buildings. It always seems to kick in at the worst possible times.
 
This gen I'm on my 3rd Xbox 360, and dude, seriously, the thing sounds like a lawnmower whenever I play discs. It even vibrates so hard that even though it's 5 feet up on my entertainment center, I can feel the vibration from it while playing about 10 feet away. That's just not right, dude. Plus it gets really hot, so I don't expect this 360 to last much longer. Then the controllers, oh God, the controllers. My RB button has become very unresponsive on one of my controllers, so it looks like my brother and I probably won't be competing in NBA 2K10 again until I buy a new one. Then you got the battery pack chargers, which say they're fully charged, but then they're not. I'm so fed up with being screwed over by bad quality. And dude, it's like a huge scam. What am I gonna do about it? Sell my 360? Well, I wouldn't get much for it, and I'd have to sell all my games too then, which I don't want to do. Buy a new 360? Why? It would just have another set of problems and would break in 6 months. Try a PS3 instead? But I already have so many 360 games, and you hardly get any money when you sell back your games. So basically, we're screwed.

Posted by jaffaz
@AgentofChaos:  Yeeeeey!
 
@TheGreatGuero: See. This is the kind of thing im talking about. You've obviously had a lot of hassle and thats just not on. You obviously spend a lot of money on the things you enjoy and it isn't fair that you feel you haven't got the usage out of them you deserve. I've suffered a lot of failures with various hardware over the years, but the modern consoles really are a lot less reliable. And I don't play them as much as I did as a kid. I play them a lot, don't get me wrong, but as a kid i'm sure I spent considerably more time on the older consoles without them screwing up.
Posted by RVonE

Yeah, I totally agree. I've burned through a couple of 360s already but still have my twentyone year old Commodore 64 that works just fine. And then there are my first generation gameboy and NES as well as just about everything that came after it. It's only the disc-based systems that aren't all in working order.
Posted by dbz1995

It kind of sucks when you have as a plus for a games console the fact that it doesn't crash as regularly as another (a common PS3 vs 360 debate). In the days of yorn, the consoles worked until you died. Ah, the good old days.
 
 On the other hand, my PS3 has not died yet. And, in that 360 vs PS3 debate, the Wii actually wins.

Posted by agentboolen

I think the main thing now a days is there competing with PC's. Its not easy to make a video game system better then a PC the 1st year it comes out and still have the price tag low enough for all the pieces to be top of the line. I'm betting there cutting corners in area's where kind of lucky that there working as good as they are at the moment. But in the end yes I can understand your complaint but I think for $400 year 1 a Xbox 360 really gave us a lot.

Posted by TheGreatGuero
@jaffaz: Yeah, it's pretty lame. Though, my oldest consoles started having some issues. The NES was difficult to get to work, you'd have to blow into cartridges for a while and try to perfect a technique. Then my SNES became super reset-sensitive in it's later years, to the point where the slighest bump of the dresser it was on, or any big vibration in the room like jumping up and down, would cause it to totally reset. That sucked. After that, though, I didn't have problems until last gen. My original Gameboy still works (though 4 AA batteries is a whole lot these days), never had problems with my Game Boy Advance or DSi. My Nintendo 64 worked like a charm. Everything else has been good.
 
Oh, I also didn't mention how consoles now freeze all the time. Well, my PS2s and 360s have. I haven't had problems with the Gamecube or Wii in that regard. Really, my Wii has been pretty reliable, it's just a shame that the motion controls have worked out so poorly, but that's not anything wrong with my specific console, just the console in general. Oh, and now that I think about it, my Wii actually would freeze all the time when trying to use online features. Perhaps more than any other console.
Posted by iam3green

i do agree man. there is no excuse for breaking systems. one example is that microsoft knew that the 360 had heating issues but still released it so they can make money. they ended up suffering from it. ps3 isn't as bad but it still does have a possible way of dieing. 

Posted by MrKlorox

Newer consoles = more parts of higher complexity = more things to break.

Posted by TooWalrus

And on the upside, this generations games are generally better than previous generations.

Posted by RetroIce4

All of Nintendo's products I have have still lasted. Snes, N64, ect. Only 1 Gamceube died on me and that was just the laser. Prob. because I used to leae it on for days. Forgot about that Smash Bros. Melee play 99 hours to get Mewtwo.

Posted by MikkaQ
@jaffaz:  
 
Yeah I'll agree with you, it's mad depressing, and I worry that all my xbox live games and DLC will become useless, after my xbox craps out a month after they stop selling them or something. 
 
I've been maintaining an old N64 for a while, and I fixed up an old NES from the side of the road once, and all that, and I won't be able to do anything about a broken PS3 and whatnot. 
Posted by Time_Lord

A console dying used to be time for an upgrade usually dying by act of friend.

Posted by Seedofpower

Its the new style of business, people will continue to put money into their consoles when they brake now. So the corporations will make more money.

Posted by Claude

I had to turn my first PlayStation upside down to work. My fist PlayStation 2 broke twice. I had to buy three N64 controllers because the analog stick quit responding, well, from playing it so much. I haven't had a problem with my Wii and Xbox 360. I'm sure down the road and if I keep them for a while, something is bound to happen. Those cartridge based systems were pretty durable though, gotta give you that.

Posted by Godlyawesomeguy

Im on my 3rd xbox 360 and it got red ring last Friday, lets all hope it stays working like it is now. Yeah, the OP is right, Ive had my PS2 and xbox for a very long time and they have never died once.
Posted by Th3_James

7 dead 360's............ 
 
the only console that has ever failed me

Posted by Frederik

I've never lost a console or a computer... Sill got em' all in working condition.  
 
Guess I'm just lucky

Posted by Synthballs

GBC still works fine. Have to blow in a cartridge (hardy har har) every so often but, you had to do it when it first came out too.

Posted by Rockdalf

I also thought about this recently.  If I ever saw anyone treat my 360 the way I treated my SNES or N64, I'd have a shit fit and probably use whatever broken pieces are left of the console to execute them.  Seriously, I remember turning them upside down and smashing them cartridge first into the carpet because my copy of Zelda refused to run for some odd reason.  Never had the problem again after that.
 
However, I wouldn't even glance twice at my SNES being thrown against a wall back when they were new... that's just how they worked.
 
I miss sturdy consoles that don't flake

Posted by ez123

All of mine have broken,been given away, or lost while moving.  See-through GBC is the only old thing I got :(

Posted by Optiow

I still have my old Ps2 that has lasted me years of hard video game playing. And a Game boy which has lasted even longer.

Posted by DJL

The only consoles that ever died out on me were my NES, PS1 and a PS2. My Wii, 360, DS, GBA, PSP and my second PS2 still work well. My N64 and even my SNES still work quite fine!

Posted by Born
@LaszloKovacs said:
" Seeing as how those systems are about as complex as a cordless phone while the new ones are routinely pushing the limit of what we can do with microprocessors in consumer electronics 20 years later, I'd say it makes sense that they fail more often.  Plus, the warranties are getting better to compensate. My older brother owned a NES for about two weeks before it died on him and nobody would replace it. That's why I grew up in a Sega-only house until the PSX/N64 generation. "
You think it "makes sense" that they release products that are constantly failing?
 
That kind of  "please sir, may I have another" thinking, is the very reason they don't try harder.
Posted by cstrang

My original SNES still works.  I'm pretty sure I got that in 1994.  I'm on my 3rd X360, however...

Posted by wefwefasdf

All the consoles that I have owned still work except for my original PS. Nintendo products last forever.

Posted by Jeffsekai
@Stang said:
" How does a spoon assist you in getting a console to run correctly? I remember blowing the hell out of my NES (hurr he said blow his NES), that is all though. "
Great post.
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