Mods, Repairs and Famiclones

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scotland
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Joined: April 7th, 2015, 7:33 pm

Mods, Repairs and Famiclones

Postby scotland » June 21st, 2016, 8:52 am

People can be involved in video games in many ways, and one way is by getting under the hood of the hardware. From simple mods like adding in a reset button or adding in A/V output to an RF console, to the many mods of the Dreamcast, gamers have increased the fun associated with these systems, or brought damaged systems back to life.

The opposite end to creative people adding in features and reviving old systems are creative people creating new products, like Famiclones, or circumventing anti-piracy measures. I have things I bought at retail like the Epyx fastloader for the C64, and numerous Game Genie-like devices, which are legal 3rd party hardware mods. Game Genie had to overcome strong pushback from the hardware manufacturer (Nintendo here), and for a time was not legally sold in the U.S. until it won its legality.

As a consumer, I look at those products are providing extra utility. For repairs, I can go online and buy a replacement screen for my GBA, but not sure about my 3DS except through Nintendo.

Companies are right to be suspicious and protective, but is there a line? Where once every main street had television repairmen, now there are tightly controlled and usually expensive means to repair high tech devices. Controlling the ability and the price of repair can promote the business model of just replacing the entire unit every few years. I see a lot of broken smartphone screens for instance - why should that not be an easy fix? Where have all the Game Genies gone?

Allowing easy repair and access to parts and schematics could help hardware companies in some cases, for instance, fixing the RROD by extending the warranty is said to have cost Microsoft $1 billion dollars. Maybe that could have been reduced if there was easy consumer level or local tech level modding that could have been done. As console get more integrated into the living room entertainment ecosystem, sending back a console for repair will not be a preferred option. Everyday people put heat sinks on their own Raspberry Pi everyday, and there are local PCs in every town to design your own system. Shouldn't there be local 3rd party Jo's Console Repair and Mods?

Any thoughts on how grey modding of modern consoles should be be?

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