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Oct 27 2016

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Sometimes I Hate The PlayStation 2 Controller

I go thrifting often, so often I should (and will soon) start a video series on it. Of course, I’m on the hunt for electronics, and I’ve found some amazing things – that Nintendo Wii that I modded with no issue, my original Xbox that has since been so heavily modded it’s barely anything like its original self, various games, some more unique accessories, and some things that are just plain random (like my Windows 2000 computer, or an electronic typewriter!) It’s quiet the fun hobby and while pickings can be slim, I do find some great stuff for dirt cheap, and yesterday was no exception.

Yesterday was a day that I snagged a Nintendo Gamecube (console only) for 1 dollar, a Brother Electonic Typewriter for under 3, and 2 PlayStation 2 controllers for 4 dollars each. They were, by far, the most expensive things snagged today. While the controllers were quite dirty and grimy, they felt good, or so it seemed, so I didn’t worry too much. I should have listened to my inner doubt about them. I do love the Playstation 2 though, and a chance to get some possibly good controllers for cheap

A little nasty, but they looked and felt fine on the outside.

A little nasty, but they looked and felt fine on the outside.

A little back info, in case you don’t know: one of my day jobs (yes, I have multiple jobs) is at a local game shop that primarily deals in restoring and refurbishing classic game consoles for resale. Of course, one of the most often sold consoles is the Playstation 2, both in trade ins and in units being sold out. This also means we have a ton of controllers – probably well over 100 – in stock. Some are in wonderful, ready to go shape, and others aren’t as good.

As you can imagine, I’ve spent many hours tearing apart controllers that are in almost usable shape just to try to get them working so we can sell the console. It’s an absolute pain in the ass that I’ve only ever dealt with before in the occasional Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis controller. Generally, the issue is simply stuck or unresponsive buttons, which should be an easy fix, and usually is, but for some reason Playstation 2 Controllers like to break in insane ways.

In this case, controller 1 worked mostly fine save for down on the d-pad not being responsive, and sounded like it had broken bits of plastic in it. Controller 2 simply always moves right. Period. That’s it. Everything else works but if you aren’t pressing another d-pad button, right is firing away.

You can see the spots where the tabs broke. Also note the gunk everywhere.

You can see the spots where the tabs broke. Also note the gunk everywhere.

As any gamer would be ale to tell, neither one of these controllers is really usable. I opened up controller one to find most of the plastic slot sides for the R1 and L1 buttons completely broken. After removing and carefully cleaning the contacts on the controller and reassembling it, I plugged it back in to play and.. bam.. dead d-pad. Funny, it worked before I took it apart, and it isn’t like it’s too complex a machine. This, sadly, is all too common with Playstation 2 controllers – as I said, they seem to break in the strangest ways! I’m not even bothering with controller 2 and instead will try to sell these off on eBay to recoup my losses. As you can imagine, I was a little ticked a at this, as I wanted these to use as backups since over time the supply of good controllers will lessen. Think about it, people already can’t take care of these things for a console that only ended production about 5 years ago, and the game shop I work at has more irreparably broken ones than working ones already, imagine how it will be 20 years from now?

While everything looks fine, many of these contact points just don't want to work. Perhaps  due to improper storage the flex cables fail?

While everything looks fine, many of these contact points just don’t want to work. Perhaps due to improper storage the flex cables fail?

Oddly Playstation 1 controllers tend to usually be in better shape, and are often less broken. Something about the design differences, which yes, there are plenty on the inside. Seriously though, virtually every Playstation 2 controller I have ever gotten into, if it’s broken, it’s not reparable. What kills me is that rather than throw these things away, that someone would donate them to Goodwill. They aren’t going to test these things, or even care of they are broken – it’s a “buyer beware” market out there, but if people are going to donate junk, they would do well to not donate stuff that’s broken. Of course, maybe they didn’t know, perhaps they were stored in an attic and that’s how they got messed up, but I doubt it. Considering how people take care of things, I highly doubt someone didn’t know they were broken, and donated them anyway, to a company that will sell them for the same price regardless of condition.

It’s just annoying, really, and the Playstation 2 is such a great game console there is no reason to not have plenty of controllers. Considering all the things I’ve found in the bargain barn that are in perfect shape, it would be my luck that the items I spend more money on in the main store would be broken.

At least the other things I found yesterday are worthwhile.

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