Do you ever wonder when our old consoles will just die from age? I know many people that have had their NES die right on the shelf. Soon, you’ll be afraid to pull your Genesis off the shelf for fear that it might be dead as well.
An online friend of mine mentioned that SNES systems actually go out more than any other systems he has ever dealt with. For a number of years, he bought and sold all types of video games both locally and on eBay, and early on, SNES systems seemed to be almost indestructible. However, over time almost every SNES system he bought in the last two years has been dead, while pretty much every Genesis system worked, at least after some major cleaning.
And if you are concerned about your cartridge-based systems, CD/DVD based systems will most likely fail long before say a SNES of Genesis (Aside from the cart slot) simply due to the fact that the newer systems have moving parts. I would imagine that all Sega CDs, Saturns, and Playstation (many PSXs are already dead) will fail either with the CD lens, track or motor long before anything else happens.
However, the Saturn is probably the toughest CD-based system of all time. I rarely hear of Saturns with laser/CD motor problems. I had had more people with trouble with PSOne and PS2s that cannot read disc and the like. My Genesis and SNES still work great for the most part, aside form the occasional problem with dust on connectors — even then, I have some cartridge cleaners.
At least with the Playstation, we have the PS2 and PS3 with their near-complete backwards compatibility and ePSXe covering out backs with emulation. But how long until all our Sega Saturns and Dreamcasts end up dead? The Saturn is a very complex system and has yet to have a very reliable emulator. While there are some emulators that can run a few games in a playable manner, it still has a long way to go before it would make a decent replacement for the real system. The Dreamcast. of course, is more modern and won’t be perfectly emulated for a while. At this time, we have no alternative to playing Sega’s last two systems.
Supposedly many of the older cartridge-based systems may have their lives extended if you know how to care for them and can obtain parts. The most common problem for some of these older consoles now is the capacitors failing. But it is possible to swap in new one — however, personally, I’m not quite that skilled yet.
Even if these simple repairs keep the consoles belonging to electrical geniuses alive, those of us that a big more casual when it comes to electrical repair may be out of luck. That is why I promote the idea of having new console releases either by the original company or a third party (Messiah Entertainment is an excellent example). You can read my piece entitled “Console Re-Release Ideas” to see my previous thoughts on this topic.