While looking over my YouTube channel, I noticed something – many of my videos are about video game console repair. In one way or another, from the Atari 2600 to the Xbox 360, I have video after video of getting inside the plastic shell of these machines and fixing problems these machines may have.
From damaged solder traces on an Atari 2600, power supply replacements on an Original Xbox, or boiling the 72 pin connector on the NES I had as a child, it seems I’ve had quite a few encounters with old game hardware that just hasn’t wanted to work right.
The question is, why? Why do I do this?
Well, the obvious answer is, I want the machines to work, but there is more to it than that. One thing I have noticed is that, in many cases, these machines are special in one way or another – the Atari 2600, for example, was a 1977 original model (the “Heavy Sixer” as collectors know it) and I certainly wanted it to still work. The NES is the one I had as a child – of course I will want that to work as best it can, and while it still needs some parts replaced, it’s working much better now than it was when I found it in storage. As for the Xbox 360 I recently repaired, that unit, like the Atari, was a launch era machine, from early November 2005 – to see an original Xbox 360 from that age that works at all is amazing, and I certainly didn’t want to let it die – much like someone saving a pet, or restoring an old car, I had to “save” it. While there are in some cases millions of other units out there, to me it’s more worth it to save that one unit I already own, than try to replace it. Heck, I have a dozen 2600 units, but that heavy sixer is probably my favourite one – I can’t let it break down, if I can help it.
Indeed, like many things computer or gaming related, one can draw analogies to cars in this – that drive people have to fix a particular machine, their fondness for a given car make or model, that love of using some vintage auto, to me, is identical to how I might feel when repairing a game console.
I just think it’s interesting, really. Game consoles, as much as they cost, are seen as disposable. People will trash them the moment they begin to break down, and while getting them repaired can be expensive and these people would rather just replace the units, to me, the challenge of fixing these sometimes unwanted machines, bringing them back to their former glory, is a treat. To come up with a plan on how to fix an odd flaw with a machine, to go through with the plan and have it succeed, is an awesome thing.
Maybe it is a part of me that longs for the old days, the days of people doing it themselves, repairing things. That old fashioned attitude of fix it, don’t replace it must be a deep part of me. That, or maybe I’m just too cheap to replace things. Probably both, but mostly the drive to fix things.
That all being said, if you are interested, here are a few of my videos where I have done repairs on game consoles. Enjoy!