Gaming's most hated technology failures

Shit breaks. That’s just the way it is. After prolonged use you must expect an item, no matter how expensive, to wear down and ultimately fail. And while we’re fine with Father Time claiming the souls of our dead electronics, it’s nowhere near acceptable when something brand new starts crapping out, locking up or engaging in what we like to call “shitting the bed.”

As part of the gloriously negative Week of Hate, we thought it time to remember some of the biggest, most hated instances of our expensive hobby and lifestyle going tits up.

Xbox fire hazard

The problem: 14 million power cords for the original Xbox are recalled due to an internal malfunction that caused the unit to emit smoke or even catch fire. Some people reported burns and minor property damage, and an Illinois family said an Xbox-caused fire was responsible for the death of their infant son.

The response: Microsoft initiated a cord replacement program that was supposed to make its console stop behaving like a fireball, though reports continued pouring in that the power cord wasn’t even the real problem. As for that family, Microsoft said it wasn’t responsible for the system going up in smoke (even though the incident happened before the recall), and sought financial compensation for their legal defense costs.

We hated it because: Our Xboxes had been sitting there for four years not erupting, and then in 2005 we lived in fear of plugging it in and catching a face full of sparks. Ironically, people would forget this issue even exists, as the troubled 360 launch was just a few months away.

Red Ring of Death

The problem: Microsoft’s next console, the Xbox 360, soars to a 23.7% failure rate, usually indicated by the dreaded Red Ring of Death. A later poll of 5,000 Game Informer readers suggested the failure rate could be as high as 54.2%. In 2008, California consumers launched a class action lawsuit against Microsoft for all the broken hardware.

The response: Microsoft tucked a BILLION dollars away just to deal with the RROD and stepped up its console replacement program, though its prompt reaction led many to believe the company was well aware of the problem beforehand and still sold its machine to remain competitive. Later 360 units (i.e. Elites) shipped with new bits that alleviated the rampant malfunctions.

We hated it because: The problem has lessened in the past year, but in the 2007-2009 heyday every single GamesRadar editor had to send their 360 in for repair. Mr Elston even went through five 360s in the span of 15 months. That’s “total bullshit,” though Microsoft’s replacement setup was easy, free and fast. So at least it covered its tracks, right?

DS Lites crack in half

The problem: Multiple DS Lite owners report their flip-top machine has a cracked hinge, which in many cases led to the unit’s top half flopping around uselessly, or literally breaking in half.

The response: Nintendo formally said “less than 0.02 percent” of DS Lites suffered from the defect yet still offered free repairs to anyone who asked. Hm. Pretty good response, actually.

We hated it because: We love our DSes, and watching that tiny crack slowly grow until it snaps the whole thing half was like watching one of our kids wither away into nothingness.

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  • LeonLio - December 2, 2010 12:40 p.m.

    I stopped playing MAG for that reason, plus a few other issues. If they fix it, I'm sure a lot of players will return. Black Ops is doing a decent job at being a competition. Now if CoD: Black Ops took in the MAG Server Idea, fixed the kills that don't register (like shooting a guy from 2ft with an Olympia 3x and end up getting knifed), then it'll be the best FPS! Other than that. I think MAG is slowly losing their ranks.
  • LeonLio - December 2, 2010 12:36 p.m.

    MAG's 2.0 (Move) update should be added onto here.. Released an update that ended up making all the user's Game & PS3 System to freeze. Ending with the user unable to access the PS Menu. The only fix for a few weeks was to manually turn it off. Zipper Game Developers worked on it, and worked on it, for atleast a month, then finally released an update stating it makes the game smoother. Except, it continues to freeze up (only on the same game modes) which irritates some players. Especially if you have a good game going. Not sure if it's fixed NOW, but like many other player, I've stopped playing and notified other friends who still play it to tell me when they ACTUALLY Fix it. Its one of those things about that update that gets you thinking, did the Game Developers at Zipper know how to test any major updates before rreleasing it? (Just for your information...) The MAG 2.0 Beta, was out for a week for testing, to any player. Then it got closed down for a day or two. Then was a Mandatory Released Update. Which resulted after the following few hours of gameplay, to spam the Forums with issues.
  • Overlord153 - November 23, 2010 11:59 p.m.

    I hated getting a PSP that had a dead pixel right out of the box. Imagine the gift unwrapping the putting in of Tomb Raider Legend and bink a little orange spot right there. Damn you Sony!!!!!
  • ombranox - July 31, 2010 8:06 a.m.

    My 360 got a broken usb jack that ended up shorting out the console. Lame!
  • MaynardJ - March 29, 2010 11:23 a.m.

    My Gamecube is still working but froze on me several times over the years: "An error has occurred. Turn the Power Off and check the Nintendo GameCube Instruction Booklet for further instructions." No problems with the DS Lite and 360, so far...
  • oufour - March 29, 2010 10:38 a.m.

    i once bought assassin's creed and bioshock from gamestop used, and guess what? they broke. like, jsut stopped working. the worst part? it was the day AFTER the warranty expired.
  • super0sonic - March 29, 2010 8:09 a.m.

    The Ubi Copy protection has prevented me a would be paying customer from buying Silent Hunter 5 a game i have been looking forward to for MONTHS!! Now it's launch has come and gone and i still don't own it. i am very sad :(
  • Finklemeyer - March 29, 2010 6:31 a.m.

    whats with this .02% bullshit. my friend and i both cracked our DS's. and not even by dropping them!
  • bmxbiff - March 29, 2010 1:32 a.m.

    I had to replace my 360 5 times, as well as repair my Elite to avoid the DLC glitch. And yet I keep coming back for more. Guess I'm a glutton for punishment.
  • jackthemenace - March 28, 2010 6:36 p.m.

    My DS lite cracked righty in two, but luckily the wires were still attached, so i could still play it with the top haning off XD wasn't convenient, but kept me going till i got a new one :P
  • LenKice - March 28, 2010 2:20 a.m.

    Omg, the Xbox's cord blew up in my office just as soon as I plugged it in! ;~; I had to ask my little brother to plug it when once my family moved to the new apartment...
  • oryandymackie - March 27, 2010 4:26 p.m.

    No wonder the guy in GameStation sold me that original Xbox for fifteen quid, with an evil glint in his eye and a grin on his face...
  • mdiaz033 - March 27, 2010 6:50 a.m.

    wow, this article seems pretty neutral. no excessive wii and sony bashing and rightfully deserved microsoft bashing. good article brett. you are starting to give GR a good rep. keep it up.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - March 27, 2010 1:34 a.m.

    Both of my damn Ds's are hinge cracked, not to mention a f#@ked up screen on one and a broken L button on the other.
  • Ninja-KiLLR - March 27, 2010 12:19 a.m.

    ive managed to avoid all of these. well i dont have a 360 so that makes it a hell of alot easier appartently. but the wii motion flying incident almost happened.
  • helloimgaydo - March 26, 2010 11:46 p.m.

    My Xbox went RRoD, so I sent it off for repair the day it arrived back home I got the E74 error message. I has worked totally fine since though.
  • Biopiate - March 26, 2010 11:44 p.m.

    Ummm... Where is the PS3 version of Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition? My copy was all messed up...
  • nik41507 - March 26, 2010 11:37 p.m.

  • sleepy92ismypsn - March 26, 2010 9:25 p.m.

    oh and why would you have an hdtv if you were a wii gamer lulz. damn you xbox you baby killer. i guess thats what you get for buying an inferior console
  • sleepy92ismypsn - March 26, 2010 9:21 p.m.

    being a fan of sony i only endured one of these problems my psx died but i got a good first 5 years of my gaming career from it. i bought a launch day psp but didnt have any dead pixels. and i happened to play my ps3 on march 1st especially when i heard about the apocalyps3 so i still got all my trophies.