In Memoriam: Playstation 3, 2007-2012

We really though the 360 would go first. It’s the oldest of our next gen systems. It threw up on itself during Mass Effect 2. It griped and groaned each time I played Fable 3. Sometimes it started and sometimes it didn’t. We pretty much thought the “red ring of death” was inevitable.

But perhaps it knew something we didn’t. Since we set it up several weeks ago, it’s been working fine. (Who has two thumbs and will soon start Mass Effect 3? This gal! :D)

Or this gal…

I wish I could say the same about our Playstation 3.


The first sign of trouble occurred about a week or so ago during one of my husband’s after-work-before-dinner rounds with Sleeping Dogs. I was prepping food when I heard a string of expletives from the other room. I went into the den and saw the blank TV, the quiet PS3 and its flashing red light, and my incensed significant other holding the controller in disbelief while letting loose with more apropos curse words.

“I’ll go to the internet,” was my standard answer when technology failed. I found that the flashing yellow/red light “of death” was a common occurrence with older PS3’s like ours, an 80GB model from 2007. I searched through various forums.  Some folks said it meant death; others said it was a sign of overheating (which made no sense for us because he couldn’t have been playing the game for more than 15 minutes.) We strolled through numerous YouTube videos on solutions – they were, somewhat sadly, interspersed with videos from kids and adults mourning the death of their systems. We didn’t want to believe that the console was dead, so we told ourselves it had just overheated. We tried a hard reset (didn’t work), cleaned out its air vents, dusted the area where it sat, and let it rest for awhile.

Today, he decided to give it another go. I stood at ready, hoping to see the console spring to life. He sat down, took the controller, and pushed the PS button.

And!…nothing. Except more flashing lights on the controller…damn. He asked me to turn the system on.

I hit the switch, and the lights flashed blue (yay!)…then yellow (oh)…then red (shit). It gave no further response other than that same stupid flashing red light.

This time, he went back to the internet and called a friend of his, a PS3 enthusiast, who pretty much confirmed everything the internet said – it’s wasn’t overheating; the system was fucked. We could send it to Sony for refurbishment for a fee (yeah, right) or buy a new one. Either way, everything on its hard drive was (gulp) lost. All the games…all the save data…all of it…oh god…all of it was gone.

We officially declared our PS3 (sniff sniff sigh) dead.

Cue Sam & Dave’s It Was Nice While it Lasted

We played our precious PS2 until the day we got our PS3 in late 2007. The PS3 had been released the year before, but we had heard of people having major problems with the system early on. So we waited until we felt all the bugginess had passed and we could safely enjoy the system for many years to come. When we first got the thing, it was really my husband’s domain. He used it regularly to play the likes of SOCOM, CoD, Madden, and Street Fighter with his friends. And that was fine – I stayed close to the 360 and eventually our Wii. It really wasn’t until Dragon Age: Origins that I became a regular PS3 user. (We got it specifically for the PS3 because we thought our “dying” 360 couldn’t handle it.)

In 2010, we started regularly clearing out the hard drive of old save data that we didn’t need anymore. But some data we’ve been keeping, and that’s the data that’s so hard to see go.

Together, we had accomplished a lot in Little Big Planet 1 and 2. Gone.

For me, it’s Arkham City. All the progress I had made, gone.

For him, it’s Skate 3. He loves that game and had it at nearly 100% complete. Now, gone.

It breaks my heart to know that we’ll have to start at ground zero with these games we love. It’s kind of a silly notion to be so attached to save data, but as you well know, many hours of frustration and work went into those games. No, it’s not as bad a having your computer crash on the day of your big presentation or losing all your wedding photos or having your house burn down in a fire, but having all that game data just ripped away is pretty painful.

But, we’ve been discussing our two options: buy a new PS3 or wait for the fabled PS4. Since the PS4 doesn’t appear to be on the horizon any time soon, we’re leaning towards getting a new PS3. But I don’t know. I don’t know what our next move will be. What would you do?  Buy or wait?


  1. One other thing…your hard drive might not be dead! The old PS3s you should be able to take the hard drive out…I dont think you can put it into the new slim ps3…but it might be worth checking into maybe getting a 2.5″ enclosure for the PS3 drive…plug it into your PC and check to see if there is some software for PC that will read it and allow you to pull your save games off.
    I seem to think I came across something that would allow this in the past but it may be just wishful thinking…
    Also I still have an Atari 2600 that still is going strong!!!!! 🙂


    • First off, yay for the Atari! Proof that they don’t make ’em like they used too! I wish I still had a working SNES. Playing old games on the Wii is decent, but not quite the same. Anyway, thanks for the PS3 harddrive suggestion. I’ll float the idea by my husband and we’ll see. Most of the stuff we’ve read has said that its save data is irretrievable, but hope is hope!


  2. Hmm, I think I’d actually re-buy my Playstation 3. While it is pretty late in the current-gen of consoles where waiting seems like a viable option, there’s been a lack of any real development news that would hedge my bets in a “next-gen” kind of direction, as you said. Plus, there’s still a pretty solid influx of stellar looking games that definitely warrant attention and prove that the Sony’s old black behemoth isn’t quite ready to give up the ghost just yet. 🙂


    • Yeah, we’re certainly leaning towards getting another PS3. With the arrival of new games arriving around the holidays, we’re hedging our bets that maybe Sony will release a few interesting bundles (or maybe drop the price of the slim console). You’re right, the PS3 has some great games coming up, so it’s unlikely we’ll abandon the console altogether.


  3. I’m sad for your consoles! I hate issues with games. I’m lucky most of my consoles are perfectly fine. (I baby my stuff. I wash my hands before touching disks and everything.) I had a 4 or 5-year old GameCube that was starting to have issues, though. It was odd because most games were fine, but some would freeze a lot or the music would skip. Since it was worse than it used to be, I decided to buy Cube #2 before Cube #1 got any worse or before they stopped selling new ones on Amazon. Around the same time Cube got weird, my 1-year old XBox also got a little odd. Every time I didn’t play for a while, the first game would act up, like the game would freeze a lot or the music would skip, then the next games would be fine. (Both consoles got weird after a move. Not sure if it was a coincidence, since I moved many times before, or what.) I don’t care for Box as much as Cube, and Box still works good enough, so I’m not likely buying a new one. But, it’s frustrating. Video games and computers and such are the worst things for me to have issues. I have a personal attachment to them.

    Anyway, after my long rant, I’ll finally answer the question. I’d buy a new PS3, myself. The next Wii’s coming out soon, but I have heard nothing about the PS4. And after the PS3 was weird, you’d likely want to wait several years until they get the bugs out of the PS4 anyway. I avoided some Wii issues by buying my Wii a year or two later than its release. Double-layer disks? No problem!


    • You bring up a good point about the PS3. It’s really unlikely that we’d immediately reserve a PS4, even if it was coming out soon, because of exactly what you said. We haven’t got a new console yet – we’re waiting to see if any new bundles get released closer to the holidays. We’re just hoping that our XBox won’t crap out due to all the extra use.

      It’s funny how some people can have all the luck in the world and never have consoles that break, while others have nothing but console woes. I know at least a couple people who converted over to the PS3 after having nothing but trouble with their newish 360s. Our Wii has been the most consistent of the three systems, though that’s probably because we don’t use it that much. We also have an old Gamecube that I’m pretty sure still works (I can’t bear to part with it), but it’s kinda moot since you can play those games on the Wii. Not that we have any Gamecube games left, but we could, if we wanted.


  4. I know technology has advanced, and part of that comes at a price (i.e. systems having less longevity), but…my SNES still works 21 years later. At the ATB household, we’re on PS3 #2 and 360 #3 in five years. It’s confusing.


    • Okay, first off, soooo jealous that you still have a working SNES. That is awesome! Second, isn’t there some theory out there about how new technology is built to fail rather than last? As for our PS3, it’s not like we were marathoning; it just died for no discernible reason. The conspirator in me says it was programmed to do so after five years. (Damn you Sony!)


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