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They Just Don’t Make Them Like They Used To

Written by Sherlock on Saturday, 3 January 20094 Comments

Back in my day, we had to walk 15 miles in the snow, up hill both ways, to play our games.  And you know what?!  It was better that way!

At least our systems worked for a while.

Its a useable paper weight by today's standards, but at least it works

Its a usable paper weight by today's standards, but at least it works.

Three video game systems sit on my tv stand.  The first is my Wii, purchased almost a year ago.  The second is a PS3, purchased a few months ago.  The third is my Super Nintendo, purchased in 1994.

The SNES has worked almost flawlessly since my fateful birthday morning where the console appeared for my enjoyment.  I played the daylights out of it for years and years, until the Playstation entered my house.

My Playstation stopped working just after I got my Playstation 2.  Yet, my SNES continued to work after some light coaxing and cleaning after I decided to pull it out of moth balls.  All the games still played fine.

My Playstation 2 has met a fate in the corner of my room now that my PS3 and Wii sit on the tv stand, connected to an HDTV.  5 generations of tvs have come to pass, but the SNES still sits regally, awaiting the time where the itch to play Maximum Carnage or Death and Return of Superman comes again.

Lately, I’ve noticed many members have troubles with their game consoles, including their Wii.  From warrentied repairs to outright catastrophic failures, these repairs have come, in some cases, mere months after the purchase of the console.  Even some of our members who take good care of their consoles face the doom of sending it off for repairs, costing them time and sometimes money.

Yet, my SNES still sits.  No repairs necessary.

My SNES can’t connect to the internet, help me talk to friends, or toast bread, like some other consoles can, but it also has the staying power to last a decade and a half without any issues.

They just don’t make them like they used to.


  • ror100 said:

    Interesting little article Sherlock, and I don’t doubt the longevity of the older consoles one bit (still have a working Commodore VIC20 and C64 here).

    One thing that does spring to mind is whether these relative failure rates nowadays seem to be greater due to our increased ability as a population to communicate our failures. Take Sue for example, her Wii failed at christmas, and by posting on here she told over 15,000 people. Back in the 90’s with the internet a real luxury, Sue may only have told her close friends and family, and that would be all.

    What would be good is for manufacturers to release data about how many consoled failed compared to how many sold, going back to legacy systems as well. Of course we could have a poll on the site, but unfortnately it would be heavily biased and as such we couldn’t draw many (if any) conclusions from it.

    As I said though, nice article which opens alot of questions which probably can’t be answered.


  • Nicko said:

    Out of all the consoles I’ve actually owned myself, the most reliable had to be the N64, followed closely by the XBox (ironic considering the 360’s reliability issues) and Dreamcast.

    My PSX went bust after a few good years, but was quite heavily used. The only one I can say I’ve had a true breakdown with is my 360.

  • JayWoolery said:

    The Thing Is Older Consoles Almost have Less Things To Breakdown For Im Not Saying They’re Breakdown Proof But I think consoles These Days Have More To Do And Are way More Complicated…

    I’ve Had My PSX For 10 Years Now? Might Even be 11 Which I Played All The Time And It Still Works And The Other Day I Only Found Out You could Put game Disks Into Cd Players And Listen To The Music Especially As I Had Ridge Racer And Some Of the Tunes On There Were Alot…

  • Thendakor said:

    Yeah, my SNES still works perfectly. Even after I accidentally dropped it about 4 feet from the ground onto rough concrete. So chuffed it’s still playable as I like having the occasional Retro gaming session.

    I’m guessing it’s so reliable because there’s little to no moving parts under the hood. Consoles nowadays, have disc drives that can die, need plenty of cooling to stop overheating and the circuitry is much smaller and finer.

    Long live the SNES and cartridges!! :-)

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