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Top Five console faults of all time

Top Five console faults of all time

In honour of Sony’s potentially catastrophic failure to put a fully functioning clock inside early models of the PS3, I’ve decided to put together this Top 5 of the worst console faults of all time, just to put things in perspective. At the time of writing it’s unclear whether the PS3mageddon bug has been fixed by Sony or has simply righted itself. Either way, the panic is over and we can all laugh about it now.

Anyway, in descending order…


Atari Lynx
Button Jam
This one is more from personal experience than anything else. I had an Atari Lynx II when I was 13 and I needed two replacements before I got one that didn’t have an A button that jammed. At the time, needing two replacements for one console was a very rare thing indeed. Even the one that didn’t die (and still lives on to this day) could be a bit funny about accepting game cards. There was a lot of jiggling room in the slot and some games needed to be jiggled into the exact right position in order to work. A technological marvel hampered by some sloppy manufacturing.


Upside Down
The PlayStation’s most common problem was due to overheating. Over time, the plastic inside the console could warp slightly from the heat and this could affect the position of the laser, causing its effectiveness to deteriorate, often to the point where it simply wouldn’t load games any more. However, there was a solution – one that wouldn’t void your warranty. Simply by turning the console on its side, or even upside down, the laser could be re-aligned and functionality restored.

Sega Dreamcast

Random Resets
Sega’s last console, the ill-fated Dreamcast, had a lot of problems that led to its failure, most of them to do with design, marketing, third party support and the timing of its release. But, if you held onto one for long enough, chances are you’ll have encountered the incredibly frustrating random resetting issue. You’d be in the middle of a game and, out of nowhere, your Dreamcast would switch off then on again. If this happened during a save then the consequences could be very grave indeed. The root of the problem was usually (surprise, surprise) overheating, which could cause the power supply and motherboard to pull apart due to warping and the pins connecting the two components to degrade. Tsk!


PlayStation 3
Look Before You Leap
At the time of writing there has been no official word from Sony regarding exactly what the hell happened yesterday, but a plausible explanation has emerged from technically minded types on the internet. It seems that older model PS3s have system clocks, which run even when the machine is off and cannot be adjusted, that for some reason have been set to think that a leap year happened every two years instead of every four. So yesterday your PS3’s system clock may have thought it was February 29th 2010. The problem is that the clock built into your PS3’s operating system, the one you can adjust, knows that February 29th 2010 does not exist and for that reason the operating system – how can we put this? – spazzed out. Today, the two clocks may still think it’s a different date, but so long as the system clock is on a date that actually exists, the OS clock isn’t bothered.
So yeah, 24 hours ago it might have looked like Sony had made the biggest balls-up in console history, but it turns out that it hasn’t.


Xbox 360
Red Ring Of Death
The most faulty console of all time, by a long way, has to be Microsoft’s Xbox 360, with its infamous ‘Red Ring Of Death’. The RROD is actually a bit of a misnomer, given that a complete ring of red lights displayed around a 360’s power button actually indicates that you’ve forgotten to plug the AV cable in. We’ve all done it, we’ve all panicked, we’ve all eventually breathed a sigh of relief. If your console has suffered hardware failure though, you get either one or, much more commonly, three lights. The problem is similar to the common issues with the Dreamcast and PlayStation, only the overheating tends to happen much more quickly and with more severe consequences because of the way various components are arranged inside the 360’s casing. It would appear that certain compromises were made, and certain risks taken in achieving the 360’s slim, inward-curving shape. Statistics vary as to exactly what the failure rate of 360 consoles is, but however you look at it, it’s clearly much higher than any other console ever. For what it’s worth, I have literally lost count of how many replacements I’ve had. I think it’s eight, but I’m honestly not sure.

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  • The PS3 “Leap Year” bug has got much more comedy value than any of the others. I can’t imagine anything ever topping the ring of death for highest profile balls-up.

  • Sandy

    I agree with Andy, although most of my friends (well enemies to be honest) seem to go on about how faulty the PS3 is. And they all own Xbox 360’s!
    Very interesting topic.

  • casper

    well well well heres another topic flaming 360’s but can i just say this i see on ebay all the time ps3 with yellow ring of death and also blueray drive faults. ps1 ps2 and ps3 have all had lazer problems and still have not fixed it. I had 4 ps2’s and 3 ps1’s all had cd/dvd drive faults just after its warrenty is up and none was played to death.

    i have had 2 xbox 360s first had rrod and second elite is 3 yrs old still no faults.

    You dont get many 360’s with faulty dvd drives and if you do its because they played them to death using up the lazers shelf life.

    So whats the playstations excuse.

    At the end of the day i was a dedicated ps fan until i got my xbox 360 and will never go back.

    playstations also overheat just like ps3 but at least the xbox 360 is smaller and now even smaller soon.

    the only problem i do have with 360s is paying for live and stupid amounts of points to buy extras such as maps which cost far too much but other than that i still go with the 360.

  • Casper still puts up with bullcrap

    Well enjoy putting up with any bullcrap Microsoft throws at you 😀