After seeing the PS3 disintegrate into some sort of yellowy death light thing, this week The Retro Bear ponders the usage of something big, strong, sturdy and black. But enough of his fantasies, it’s the Microsoft XBOX…..

Originally Posted to on September 2nd 2010

Yellow Light of Death

Aaaaaggghhh - frustration !

What do you do when modern technology let’s you down ? Aside from curl up into the foetal position and gently rock back and forth, crying your eyes out ? Well this is the situation we had to ponder last week at Bear Towers. For all it’s all singing, all dancing capabilities for the third time in six months the PS3 packed up and refused to work. Once again we were struck down by the dreaded Yellow Light Of Death (unofficial copyright Sony circa 2007).


Now let me clarify first of all – I like the PS3. It streams all my films and we have some really great games for it, and it was certainly worth the near £300 investment in it. It’s also got the Blu-Ray player, which if you watched all those Hitler-sodes about the demise of HD DVD a couple of years back was very much a wise choice. In fact it’s probably fair to say it’s easily the best £300 I have ever spent.

Anyway enough blowing smoke up Sony’s backside. If it was that good, then why does it keep breaking down and having to be fixed (total cost so far in the region of £120) ? Well it’s lucky for us that we do have a back up system, and thank god it’s Retro. Yes, retro has come to the rescue once again to allow all the streaming functions that the PS3 does easily. The source ? A chipped Microsoft XBOX, enabling XBMC to be installed. It is now a fully functional cross platform media centre, but it’s origins are still reflected in it’s name – The XBOX Media Centre.


Alongside cockroaches as the only thing that will survive a nuclear blast

You remember the XBOX ? The big chunky console that was Bill Gates’ answer to the PS2. Known to kill a man if thrown at them, break a foot if you drop it on yourself and more durable than the plastic bags Tesco used to give you (not the thin ones currently masquerading as carrier bags), the XBOX is a pretty good console. Having had it chipped, it will do all the streaming functions the PS3 does and you get the joy of being able to play XBOX games at the same time.

Chipping it involved the use of a solder iron which is never easy. I remember back when you wanted to play imported Megadrive games, and unless you forked out for a converter, the only way to do so was file down the edges of the cartridge slot so they’d fit. Codemasters backed the Game Genie, which allowed you to hack into a cartridge and by entering codes alter the game settings. In fact modding and hacking and chipping has been around for a long, long time.

Now evidently you can do the same with the PS3. Deemed unhackable by Sony, a new device has now become available that will allow you to open source the PS3 and play copied games on it. Now let me make a very important point here : I do not condone or endorse any form of pirating. All the games in my collection are LEGAL and ORIGINAL. Pirating is illegal – end of. The joy from this is it will now allow “homebrew” game designers the chance to make their own games. Homebrew has been going on for years on other systems, it’s just that Sony didn’t want you to do it on their machine. Previous security updates have also taken that away.

Homebrew Beer

Not that sort of homebrew you fool!


So it will be interesting to see where Sony go from here. We can all but expect their boffins to be working on something that will close this loophole. In the meantime, let’s see what develops on the games front and what people can get out of the PS3 before time is up. Until the next hack comes along, that is.

Next week : back to some game reviews !