One of the stupid Internet myths regarding the of high Sony's PS2 sales numbers are people are rebuying PS2 consoles because they break down one year after purchase. Chalk up one for that myth, but for Nintendo's DS Lite this time.
I was travelling on the Tube when I decided to whip out my DS Lite to play a little bit of Advance Wars: Dual Strike. After inserting the headphone and sliding the power button, I pushed upon the top lid. Immediately I heard a crack and noticed that the right hinge has broken off. Embarrassed I quickly closed the lid, picked up the broken hinge and walked out at the next station.
After I immediately inspected the part that broke off once I reached home, I believe that there is an inherit design problem with the DS Lite's right hinge. I am not stating this as fact but based on my observation I believe it to be true.
The right hinge also happens to house the mechanism to allow the DS Lite to 'lock' in place when opened, so not many of the plastic area is connected to the main body. Actually I first started noticing a problem when I played Hotel Dusk two months ago. There weren't any cracks then (or at least none that I noticed) but the top screen when opened would not clicked properly. Having used the DS Lite hundreds of time the clicking sound did not sound right. The first (visible) crack that appeared was this tiny piece of plastic pictures below which I first blogged about here. While it did not allow the screen to completely break off it significantly increased the pressure on the right hinge as the right side of the top screen would float a little bit.
If you see this picture of the broken of bit, you will notice that this bit used to secure the right side of the top screen is only connected through the main body through three rather tiny surface. Frankly I am not surprised by this after examining the broken piece. It is shoddy quality and you do not need an engineering degree to tell you that the right hinge is weak. Unfortunately for me as this is an imported unit, it is highly likely that any plea towards Nintendo to fix this, even for a fee, would probably fall on deaf ears. Ironically enough I did send an email to Nintendo Europe a few days ago enquiring about the crack but they have yet to reply. Not even the "sorry we can't do anything" kind.
As I am pretty peeved off with Nintendo at the moment I am not much in the mood to hand in more money to them, so I will be attempting to fix this (or ask one of my engineering mates to fix it for me for free), as amazingly the device still works, albeit in a non practical manner (the top screen is being held by the LCD ribbon through the left hinge). I am sure the right hinge can be glued back with industrial glue (any recommendations?), but with the PCB exposed I am reluctant to do so. I will probably get one of those proprietary silly named tri-wing screwdriver to remove the PCB first before laying down glue and before attempting to reinforce the hinge.
I love portable gaming and most of all I love Nintendo portable games, but for this to happen, it is bloody annoying. But what can you do... whatever I do, from keeping the DS Lite in a case when not in use to cleaning it up like a baby every night, nothing can protect you from pure bad luck.
Jennifer's DS Lite has also suffered a DS Lite hinge crack. Fortunately it is only the "normal" left hinge crack that countless others has suffered, but as this crack is merely cosmetic and doesn't affect gameplay it should be alright. But to have two separate DS Lite suffering from cracks in the same week? What is going on Nintendo?
BTW She got the crack while playing Hotel Dusk. That game is evil.