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Chris Kennedy's picture

Generation FAIL: How I Struck Out with the 7th Generation of Consoles (Part 1)

I love progress. I love seeing gaming hardware evolve. We love our games. We love good, solid gameplay. Every so often we love seeing a new gaming console hit the market. A new generation arrives, and we hop aboard.

The evolution of the hardware is sometimes expected, sometimes innovative, and sometimes shocking. WOW! Look what this baby can do! I have got to get my hands on one of these! New ideas breed new hardware. New games arrive. Gaming is revitalized. Developers get new ideas. People spend money.

People. Spend. Money. It is a cycle that is required. Eventually we hit a lull, and it is time for some new hardware to shake things up. People stand in line for new hardware for days. They are excited about spending their money on new hardware. It might be terribly expensive, but who cares!? It is the latest and greatest! Well... OK. Maybe it is the latest, but it isn't the greatest. Hardware developers are biting off more than they can chew, and early adopters PAY for it - literally. They pay with their pockets - possibly twice per console.

Enter Chris. That is me. At some point about 12 years prior to this writing, I decided to start collecting videogames. Emulators were thriving in 2000, but I wanted the real thing. I glanced over what I had, determined what I was missing, decided what I wanted, and moved forward. By the time 2005/2006 hit, I was fully prepared for the next generation of consoles. I acquired the X-Box 360 in early January 2006 (nowhere to be found that Christmas), Playstation 3 near its launch, and the Wii in March 2006 on a lucky day when I just happened to walk into Target and saw them sitting on the shelf.

This is part 1 of this blog entry. Let's talk Wii.

I had been checking the local Target for a Wii for quite some time - Went through Christmas 2006, started using online trackers that told you when it arrived in stock, and hit stores every so often just to see if I got lucky. I finally got one in March of 2006. It was still quite early enough that friends of mine said, "hey! hey! Chris got a Nintendo Wii! Bring it over, man!" I had scored my last console from Generation 7.

Although I cannot recall the exact timing of Wii FAIL, I want to say that it happened within a year. Immediately after booting my Wii one day, the graphics started to show various signs of artifacts. "Vertical lines of burn" would seem to start flickering through the graphics before even playing a game. What was once a white button was now a white button that seemed to be taking on contiguous vertical lines of pixels that would rapidly change color.

Part of me hoped that one of the recent firmware releases was causing problems, but I knew that was one heck of a wish. The long time PC builder inside of me said, "cooling failure." That idea was grounded in reality a bit more than hoping for bad firmware. People were saying that the GPU was overheating because of Wii Connect24. I didn't even use that. Either way, I had a cooling problem.

Apparently the graphics processor of the Wii (the GPU) wasn't adequately cooled. Well, go figure. It would seem to be a trend with the 7th Generation of consoles. I had a glitched Wii, I was within the warranty period, and I quickly took action.

Nintendo must have been aware of the problem. It didn't take much to tell them I had a problem and have an exchange setup. I mailed in the Wii and received a replacement in return. New serial number - most likely a refurbished unit. It didn't take long to get it, and it is still working just fine as of 2012. That said, I really don't play it all too often.

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Of all of the consoles of Generation 7, the Nintendo Wii failed first. Quite ironic considering that I owned the other two major consoles of this generation.

Oh, but this story is only at its beginning...!

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