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DIY Gaming repair; a lost art?

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In an effort to repair my broken games, I fixed my Gameboy Color cartridge of Pokémon Silver today.

The idea came from having to look up two things about broken Nintendo DS parts in 2 days. Being rather upset I had 2 malfunctioning units, I decided to see if I could fix them myself. sending them over to Nintendo costs a lot and for that money, I might as well buy a new console.
The first problem was a broken L-button and got fixed, easier than I thought, with this effort. On a sidenote, I'm glad the topicstarter got helped in the end and people came together in joy of repaired console glory!
The second problem however, was 2 broken hinges and can only be fixed by replacing the shell. A process too complicated for me to pull off and thus I still have one broken DS, for which I mourn.

It made me feel a bit bad, I couldn't repair it, so I tried to redeem myself with something else. I have a cartridge here, from which I suspected the battery to be dead. As most games I own are extremely old, that was my guess as a tech-noob. After only very short research, I proved those suspicions and noticed how 'easy' it was to repair. A quick, complete fix could be done with a screwdriver and some tape. And although I have no tech skills and therefore also no screwdriver, I made due. Armed solely with a nailclipper, no less! It made me flashback the days of old, when I applied more ghetto knowledge to save a few bucks.


Your ghetto-fix in practice!
Your ghetto fix in practice


You see, back in the day, I used to game even more and so did my mother and my brother, all on the same console. Add that all up and you'll get some serious abuse towards your system. We must have gone through, at least, a dozen SNES controllers and 6 to 10 Atari joysticks that way. Press the buttons in frustration enough times and then BAM! Another controller bites the dust.
In those days, technology wasn't as complicated and you could weld most controllers back into a working shape, for a good while. Our mom taught us how to weld (imagine that!) and that way we saved hundreds of euros. Since we had only our allowance to go by, that really helped. Don't forget, your budget was as limited as it got and you had to stretch that game as far as you could.


SNES Controller Schematic
Just put the buttons on the allocated spots; easy as pie!


Today, we are spoiled of sorts and all the technology is available to us on a wide array and at a lot of different prices. It makes us take some things for granted and when things breaks, we usually just throw them away. It's easier to go find a second hand SNES than to open one up and repairing it. We are blessed to have all we need at our fingertips and we need only reach out to grab it.
Also, machines have become more and more complex, so fixing a Red Ring Of Death might not be as easy as welding back a piece. It increases our consumerism, to go out and buy a new Xbox 360, instead of going through an arduous task of repairing one.


Red Ring Of Death - XBOX360
Game Over or To Be Continued?


With the power of internet, the world has now become our flea market and replacing goods has never been easier. Just think of the things you can buy from Ebay, Amazon or other, local, auction sites. A quick browse will make you discover the games you need and, if you don't beware, send you right into game addiction, like yours truly. With a site like Amazon that refers you to other bought items, it's easy to lose track and start shopping away frantically. It also decreases the value we put into owning certain items.

We used to be able to buy one or 2 games every few months and with some luck attend one or two flea markets a year. Now, whenever we want, we can surf and buy whatever our little heart desires. If we grow tired of a game, it's easier to give into temptation and buy a new one, instead of biting down and finishing our previous endeavor.
And finishing a game more than twice has become utter madness. I finished Super Mario World so many, many times, I'm amazed my launch cartridge still works to this day. I can't say I've finished God Of War three times or more.

The basic point of all this is: You don't have to throw away something that breaks. You don't have to become an engineer quite yet, but reflect for a second. Would it be worth trying to repair that DS, instead of buying a new one? Could I teach myself to fix a Red Ring Of Death and perhaps even fix it for others? If Microsoft can, why couldn't you?
Just don't take the blessing of technology for granted and dig into the magic. Who knows, you might be able to accomplish something you couldn't perceive possible. And that alone is a good thing for your self-esteem, but also your own wallet!

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