Hard to believe how far we've come
September 8, 2010 6:42 AM   Subscribe

iFixit is well known for posting teardowns and repair guides for modern hardware (like the new iPod Shuffle.) To celebrate the addition of game console guides to their site, they did teardowns of five classic and not-so-classic game consoles: Magnavox Odyssey 100, RCA Studio II, Atari 2600, Nintendo Famicom, Nintendo Virtual Boy. Marvel at the 1.78 MHz processors and the 128 bytes of RAM you got for $200.
posted by smackfu (10 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I had a Studio II when I was a kid, it was pretty sad compared to the Atari. No joysticks, black and white and no freaking games available at all.
posted by octothorpe at 7:05 AM on September 8, 2010

At a jumble sale a few months ago I purchased a 2600 which turned out to be dead, and as a cursory disassembly showed there was no obvious problem I could fix with my non-existent skills in electronics, it now resides in the attic. Based on this I might have another go. (Though it kind of looks like I won't get far without a soldering iron.)

Got to love the spaciousness of the case and the oddness of the angled mobo mounting, though; it just adds to the considerable quirky charm of that console.
posted by thoughtless at 7:12 AM on September 8, 2010

Wow. Looks like I could have built a 2600 in shop class. This is very cool.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:26 AM on September 8, 2010

These are awesome. My brother and I used to spend hours playing Pong and Space Invaders on our dad's old Atari before our parents relented and bought us a Super Nintendo. A few years ago I found an old briefcase in the closet and for a second was elated to think I'd found the Atari, only to be informed my mom had disposed of it years earlier.

As a side note, iFixIt is one of the only businesses I've ever written a thank you letter to. Their prices for parts are usually more expensive than what you can find on eBay, but I buy them there anyway. I figure I owe it to them--I've saved literally hundreds of dollars using their guides to fix stuff myself rather than bring it to the Apple store.
posted by cosmic osmo at 7:45 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

iFixit is a great resource. Maybe we can get ourselves back into a repair culture out of the stupid disposable one we're in now.
posted by DU at 7:50 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

dangerous knowledge that the next time I need a 6532 RIOT chip for a pinball machine repair I can cannibalize one out of one of the Atari 2600s collecting dust in my basement. :)
posted by luvcraft at 9:29 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

They could have at least disassembled a first generation Atari 2600. The original units sported a heavy metal box enclosing the electronics, which were much larger with more discrete glue chips than the third-gen unit they show. Atari finally did get around to making a smaller case version in the late 1980's but part of the reason the case is so oversized is that it became part of the console's brand; it was instantly recognizable and Atari sold something like 40 million of them before finally retiring Stella.
posted by localroger at 9:41 AM on September 8, 2010

Maybe we can get ourselves back into a repair culture out of the stupid disposable one we're in now.

It would be a whole lot easier to repair anything modern if it weren't for all the nasty surface mount stuff nowadays.

I love the Japanese Famicom system. It really lived up to its name as you could add accessories such as the Keyboard, BASIC and disk drive to make it a real(ish) computer.

I know it was for marketing purposes, but the cartridge mechanism for the American NES has got to be one of the most poorly conceived ideas in video game history. I'm sure anyone who's doing retro gaming on the original hardware is feeling the pain of that flub, especially 20+ years on.
posted by bionic.junkie at 10:38 AM on September 8, 2010

Surface mount is a problem at a component level, but we could still go a long ways towards modularizing, documenting and "making openable" without hitting that as a problem. Like, the reason you can't fix an iPod *starts* with not being able to open it. Then, if you open it, there's no documentation. And even if you figure it out somehow, you can't buy parts (that are cheaper than the whole).
posted by DU at 4:51 AM on September 9, 2010

This was the first good site explaining how to move Mac partitions with Bootcamp from one Mac to another (here).
posted by bogdano2 at 2:53 PM on September 12, 2010

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