Gamer's Guide to Surviving a Broken Console
Dealing with a broken console is a totally heartbreaking experience. The amount of anguish that you feel as you watch your beloved system slowly die or crash inexplicably is immeasurable, and it's a painful experience. As gamers, we need to take full advantage of our favorite consoles because we never know when a scratched lens, heat exhaustion, or system error will take them away from us. In my lifetime, I have experienced two broken systems and can attest to how devastating it is seeing the life get sucked from your wonderful machine. So what can you do while you wait for your system to get repaired? Believe it or not, there are plenty of solutions.
Own More Than One System? Don't Fret for Too Long!
A lot of gamers take their consoles for granted. Most gamers out there own either an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 and a Wii (everyone owns a Wii, right?). Some gamers even own all three. So what if your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 break down on you? You can always play some Wii. "But the Wii has crappy graphics!" Get over it because you have no other choice at this point. Speaking as someone who enjoys the core games on Nintendo's console, I can assure you plenty of quality Wii games can keep you busy until your system is fixed. Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, and Donkey Kong Country Returns are stellar offerings. And if you're looking for the rare third-party gem, you can't go wrong with Little King's Story or No More Heroes 2, easily the best game on the Wii.
Do Some Handheld Gaming
Most gamers own a handheld gaming device like the Nintendo DS, PSP, or iPhone. These are excellent substitutes that should tide you over while you wait impatiently for Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo to fix your busted system. I would recommend the DS due to its massive library of puzzlers, platformers, and RPGs. I've never had to deal with Microsoft or Sony's repair people, but when my Wii broke down, I sent it out and got it back in perfect condition three days later. From what I've heard, Microsoft has the lengthiest repair process. Regardless of what system you're sending in, though, a couple of handheld titles should keep you busy in the meantime.
Play Indie Games on Your PC
You should be doing this regardless of whether you have a broken console, but playing indie games is a surefire way to get over the broken console blues. You can find some stellar indie games at budget price all over the internet. There are even some great free games that you can download that are powered by "donationware," asking you to contribute as much as you'd like. And given the pure quality gameplay of free indie games the likes of RunMan: Race Around the World and Mighty Jill Off, I suggest you drop a few coins in these developers' wallets. Indie games are a great way to pass the time, and if you just sent in your PlayStation 3 to get fixed, you're going to want to spend it with games like Ikachan and Super Meat Boy.
Play Games on Steam
One of the most relevant gaming platforms right now is Steam due to its accessibility and large collection of games. Powered by Valve, Steam has become the home of countless third-party games and indie titles. Most of what you'll see on today's consoles is also available on Steam, so if you've got a computer that can run impressive visuals, a broken home console should in no way deter you from playing your favorites. Portal 2, anyone?
Bust Out the Nintendo 64
Many gamers like to hold on to their older systems. If you're one of those individuals who can't part ways with classic consoles such as the NES, Genesis, and Nintendo 64, then now's the time to bring out the machine that brought you so much joy back in the day. While I can't guarantee that every title will hold up especially well by today's standards, you'd be surprised at how many classic games play incredibly and, in some cases, better than many of today's.
Offbeat Idea: Get Some Fresh Air!
A lot of people seem to think that gamers are allergic to the great outdoors. Prove the naysayers wrong--at least until your console passes inspection--and go outside for a week or two. Take in some fresh air, go for a jog at the park, or take your dog for a walk. Maybe this broken console debacle is a blessing in disguise, an excuse to take in the beauty of nature itself. Of course, when it gets dark out, you can do activities indoors. Do a little drawing, catch up on that backlog of TiVo or DVR programming that's been piling up for the past couple of months, or read a book. Don't worry, you'll have your console back soon enough.
Gaming is an excellent pastime, no doubt, but you don't realize how much you take it for granted until your console breaks down. It's a shame that these things happen, but there are still solutions to cure the boredom that accompanies waiting for your system to get fixed. Play one of your other consoles or handhelds, check out some indie games, or take a small break from gaming and go outside for a change. You don't have to die of boredom when your favorite platform quits on you. Try something new (or old) instead.