We have all been in that agonizing situation before. After investing hundreds of hours in a game and struggling through level after level, the icy grip of console death has been around each of our throats. Whether it’s the infamous red ring of death with the Xbox 360 or catastrophic hard drive failure with the PS3, it’s truly a terrible situation.

Many years ago, the solution was as simple as taking out a game cartridge and blowing on it like a wolf bringing down little pig houses but not anymore. Today, this black screen is most often followed with hours of drudging through blogs and chat rooms trying to find a simple solution to a not so simple problem. From there, hours are often wasted on hold with the manufacturer only to be told it must be “sent in.” After receiving materials to ship your console, you then wait another three weeks while you try to convince yourself that watching reruns of Firefly really isn’t that bad. Is there a better solution?

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Luckily, often times there is! Recently, I was faced with a series of blinking lights on my PS3 that just didn’t belong. After drudging through the blogs and forums, I realized simply removing the hard drive and wiping it out wasn’t enough. Fortunately, about an hour away, located conveniently in between two major North Texas college campuses was a little shop called Smart Guys Repairs. Their slogan, “We think ‘til it MegaHertz,” was reason enough to give them a shot.

Turned out, my PS3 had a processor loose that had to be soldered back into place – definitely something I wouldn’t attempt and, coincidentally, the same thing the good folks at PlayStation told me was most likely the culprit. After dropping my console off, I returned in a few hours expecting the worst. Work was completed and I paid a mere seventy dollars for the repair that took little time at all. I asked about the easiest way to get my data back on the hard drive since I was informed over the phone that my console would come back from the factory pretty much blank. To my amazement, the shaggy haired dude who had worked on my PS3 told me the hard drive and everything on it was completely intact.

No one wants to deal with a good console gone bad but, eventually, we certainly all will. With a new generation of super consoles just around the corner, the doors are wide open to more amazing and entertaining games. Unfortunately, especially early on, that often means many problems as well. Without backwards compatibility, you will also find many games you wish you could go back and dig into that will require that old outdated PS3 or Xbox 360 (yes, that will soon be true whether we like it or not).  When problems arise, take a minute to look locally for the solutions you need. You, your wallet and your patience might be surprised what you find.