Home Features I’m addicted to seeing filthy old video game consoles restored to near-mint condition

I’m addicted to seeing filthy old video game consoles restored to near-mint condition

3 min read
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PS1

Picture the scene: You’ve got a new console, there’s plastic around the box, and you’re dying to open it up. There’s that glorious smell you can’t help but huff as you peel the layers of plastic off, there’s a glorious controller that has yet to absorb your hand grime, and seeing something that’s new just brings a smile to your face. It looks sexy, it’s an amazing addition to your collection, and you can’t wait to show it off.

And then the passage of time begins.

Within the months and years to come, that pristine luster begins to fade. Dust accumulates on the surface of the console, the plastic begins to absorb household odours, and the controller is a health hazard in your hands. And that’s fine! While there’s always going to be some level of affection for a new gaming console, the cold hard truth is that it’s merely a device.

It’s only natural for time to take its toll on a console, before technolust for the next best thing sets in and you move onto next-gen pastures. For those of us who do find ourselves oddly attached to these devices, preservation is at the top of our to-do list on any given day. But chances are, even with stringent protection measures in place, consoles will warp and yellow with age. That doesn’t mean that they cannot be saved though.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been browsing the Odd Tinkering channel, which has been a godsend of a how-to visual manual that shows just how video game devices and peripherals can be restored to mint condition. The key ingredient is of course some elbow grease, along with brushes, petrochemicals, and a sorting tray to keep everything in order.

There’s a certain magic though, to seeing a device brought back from the brink of death. What might have been destined for a junkyard is lovingly restored to working order using ingenious methods and hacks. I cannot describe accurately how much I love seeing a collection of UV LED lights cobbled together over a bathtub of hydrochloric peroxide to remove yellowing from a Sega DreamCast controller and make it whiter than a pile of salt.

More importantly, there’s a sense of preservation at play here. Odd Tinkering’s down to earth presentation style shows just how much effort is needed to get consoles ready for a showroom appearance with each restoration, keeping the memories of those devices alive for decades to come. It’s relaxing, luxurious content that I simply can’t get enough.

And considering that I have a launch model PS4 that needs cleaning due to the accumulation of seven years worth of hair and dirt, it’s also motivating to see how I can bring it back to life. The controller is probably still a write-off though.

Last Updated: February 4, 2021

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