On this Christmas day, when many of you may be unwrapping some new games or maybe even a new console, I wanted to share the shenanigans I've been dealing with the past several weeks. Don't worry, it has a happy ending, sort of.
I have wanted a PS3 for some time. I was hedging my bets with Sony for a few reasons, tho I care little for console wars or fanboyishness. So with some extra ducats saved up, I hopped onto ebay to find me a 60 gig. Because backwards compatibility is how I roll. I landed a machine and waited eagerly for it to arrive. It did and I happily launched into Soul Calibur 4.
Strangely, after a few hours, it crashed. Well videogames are no stranger to software crashes so I just reset and kept going. This was also about the time Little Big Planet came out, and a bunch of friends picked it up and we wer all enjoying it. Then LBP crashed. Odd.
I was only about a dozen or so hours into the console, and soon Soul Calibur would boot and freeze consistently. Little Big Planet lasted about ten minutes. These were no mere software crashes, something was wrong and I began squinting apprehensively at my new (but actually pre-owned) PS3.
Then I got this little screen: Sony PS3 error code 80010514. WTF? This required research, and none of it was good news. At least it was known (even here on DToid), there's nothing worse than an error without any type of classification. The internets revealed to me this was a rather fatal firmware error with few workarounds. I tried reformatting, restoring, all that junk. Sadly the ebay seller would not honor his guarantee to refund or replace a defective system, he would not even return my emails looking for advice.
The ebay seller even promoted an extended warranty by a third party company. Which I chose to purchase on this rather expensive piece of used hardware. For those who may be thinking of this, I can't recommend it after my experience. After the ebay seller would not respond, I tried to activate the warranty option. But the warrantee company would not honor any defective merchandise until after 60 days (they never advertise that part). Sounds lame, I know, and it is, but they have their reasons. Might have something to do with getting scammed by people selling defective hardware and expecting the warrantee company to cover it.
So next it was on to Sony themselves, but that did not go any better. You see, the 60 gig PS3 is no longer supported by sony. They will not repair or replace it. An since my system was used, I would have to pay for that service anyways. And even if I chose to pay for that service, close to 200 bucks, they would not srvice the 60 gig at all, instead they would likely send back a 40 gig if they chose to take my claim at all. Wow, gee, thanks Sony, you guys are great.
Woe is me! I delved further into the interwebs and looked for ways to fix the damn thing myself. It's not impossible, it's really just a conglomeration of parts. The PS3 itself had devolved into not reading any discs at all, but PS Online and downloads worked fine. So the crux of the problem was just the drive. Shit, drives can be replaced.
I cracked that puppy open mostly out of frustration and desperation. I just wanted to get a look inside the thing that would not allow me to play games. Indeed everything was pretty modular and came apart well enough. I pondered my options. Whilst discussing the frustration with coworkers, my pal Enrico (the same dood who built that kick ass arcade cabinet) said he'd be glad to take a look. I've mucked around in plenty of machine before but I felt alot better handing it off to a "pro," as it were. Plus, the whole situation had me rather depressed, all I wanted to do was play some new games.
I did get to play. True gent that he is, Enrico loaned me his PS3 to use while he went off on winter break. And before he left he even let me know he found a replacement drive for mine and had some faith in getting it back up and running. But wait, there's more!!!
When I brought the loaner home, I tried to get it up and running, only to see a black screen. I freaked out. In the short span of time since i picked it up and transported it, had I broken (or cursed) my friends PS3?? He was already gone on vacation, and I didn't know what to do. I called another friend and asked if I could bring it over and try it out, maybe all my cables were bad, or my TV shorted something, I didn't know. See, I have just a plain ol AV setup, so I couldn't check to see if the HDMI worked and it was just the AV hookup that busted or something. Sure enough, at my other friends the HDMI hookup worked just fine. Fhew! But not having any HD myself, I was still without some next gen gaming :-(
As it happens I was reporting my sadness of the situation over lunch one day when another coworker offered some advice. It seems that in an HD setup, you have to go into the system settings of the PS3 and make a bunch of selections, and these selections actually turn off the AV access. The potential solution was to BLIND NAVIGATE the PS3 menu system and reset things back to AV.
Imagine the following phone conversation with another friend and his own PS3 as a guide:
"Is it on? Okay, press left a bunch of times"
"Um... press right three times"
"Now press up a bunch to get to the top of the menu. An then press down... eleven times."
"...9 ...10 ...11"
"Press down once. Press X. Press left. Press X twice."
Believe it or not, that shit worked. And it only took two tries! How fucking ridiculous is that? I might go so far as to say redonkulous. But the system was back on AV and the ol' PS Triple was up and running in my living room.
Joy! So I've been spending some of my break gleefully creating custom characters back in Soul Calibur 4. God I love that game. Yet this is all temporary, Hopefully my next post will describe how I got my own PS3 back and in working order. Keep those fingers crossed!