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.


  • Cyberninja - March 25, 2010 11:43 p.m.

    i was in that 0.02 that my ds lite broke but my hinge thing literal fell off
  • Cyberninja - March 25, 2010 11:45 p.m.

    * and i didnt get a free repair* sorry for double post
  • michaelmcc827 - March 25, 2010 11:53 p.m.

    Luckily, I've never had any of these happen to me, including red ringing. It must suck to have that happen to you, like, five times.
  • fanboyhunter - March 26, 2010 12:01 a.m.

    Upside down PS one: Check. RROD : Double check.... God I hate losing consoles.
  • lovinmyps3 - March 26, 2010 12:03 a.m.

    Yay! Week of Hate! Take that sysyems!
  • havinalaugh - March 26, 2010 12:17 a.m.

    You forgot to mention a recent victim I think sony are trying way to hard to hide the true figures!
  • ranzatsu - March 26, 2010 12:31 a.m.

    Wonder why you placed the Xbox first in the list? To offend a specific user here...? Anyway, I owned a PSP and a DS for a coupla years and I never experienced any of these problems. And actually, I don't quite get the dead pixels thing. What are those? Oh, and the Wii remote thing was the stupidest thing I've heard of. I think it's the user's fault, and that they shouldn't complain about any damn thing. And the fear-of-plugging-the-Xbox thing? That's why I don't wanna own one.
  • michaelmcc827 - March 26, 2010 12:32 a.m.

    Yeah, YLOD would have been a good entry.
  • reverandglass - March 26, 2010 12:52 a.m.

    so far I've had one RROD and consigned the 360 to exclusives only duty and had my PS3 phat stop spinning discs!?! but my fave is the constant green pixel on my psp. It's a good thing I only play fifa on it! oh an to really go old school you could have mentioned crashing Jaguars grr.
  • Rubberducky - March 26, 2010 1 a.m.

    Weird, I haven't experienced any of these problems, knock on wood *looks at 360 suspiciously*
  • shadowarrior99 - March 26, 2010 1:23 a.m.

    I hate the week of hate, but i love this. I get to hate, on my STUPID XBOX 360 FOR BREAKING!!!
  • lightning52 - March 26, 2010 1:31 a.m.

    What about the ps2 where after a while all it brings up is the disk read error?
  • zigs - March 26, 2010 1:36 a.m.

    My Xbox 360 didn't have the RRoD, but rather one of the handful of other console-breakers, the E74 error. I rang Microsoft and told them, and had to fork over £60 to get it fixed. On the bright side, it only took a week to get back to me. Even brighter, the console has never had a single problem since, and it's been well over two years. But best of all, Microsoft sorted their damn warranty out so that it now covers E74's, and refunded me completely for my error. Oh boy, it was a great day when that cheque came in the post. It was so awesome, I felt I oughta spend that money on an Xbox game. Seemed fair, right?
  • GameManiac - March 26, 2010 1:40 a.m.

    And THAT'S why I'll buy a PS3 and NOT a 360! I've experienced original DS and DS Lite fractures before (but not to the severity of it breaking in half), and had to pay to get them fixed. I had the money for that, and I was fairly willing to get them fixed, since I have a custom of being heavily protective of my belongings. I remember one of my friend's Electric Blue original DS was COMPLETELY severed in half. What an odd coincidence that my DS Lite is broken (but from a defective top screen and not a fracture problem) and an article relating to consoles/hand-helds is made. How stupid can people be to break their TVs with their Wiimotes? That's what a wriststrap and a firm grip is for!
  • miasma - March 26, 2010 2:15 a.m.

    Im guessing that the people who launched a Wiimote into their tvs are the same idiots who think moving faster will make their shots more powerful, and end up sweating and tired after a game of Wii Tennis.
  • Wizrai - March 26, 2010 2:52 a.m.

    Microsoft, selling fireworks since '75.
  • TommyG - March 26, 2010 2:57 a.m.

    Hate hate hate
  • Wizrai - March 26, 2010 2:58 a.m.

    I hate the way you hate! >:O
  • Tochy - March 26, 2010 3:08 a.m.

    lulz RROD
  • DarkTone - March 26, 2010 3:17 a.m.

    Another great article! 2 words: Truth hurts!

Showing 1-20 of 59 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000


Connect with Facebook

Log in using Facebook to share comments, games, status update and other activity easily with your Facebook feed.