Can CEX Repair My Broken Retro Consoles?

Image of Robs Game Boy and the CEX logo

If you’ve been collecting video games for as long as I have, you’ve probably also amassed quite an impressive amount of consoles too. Most of the time these systems are built to last, however, it’s highly likely that you’ll have at least one system that’s either completely broken or has some minor issues that stop you from enjoying it fully.

At this point you’ve got three options; either just stop playing that console completely, sell it and buy a new one, or attempt to fix it yourself. The first option isn’t ideal because you’ll be locked out of that library of games completely, the second option could get extremely expensive depending on the console you’re dealing with, and the third option is risky because if you’re inexperienced with repairs, you could end up doing more harm than good.

Rob standing outside CEX

Here in the UK, the most popular second-hand retro gaming chain of stores is called CEX and it’s similar in a lot of ways to BOOKOFF, but entirely focused on movies, games and tech. Normally this is where you’d probably want to go if you wanted to browse some retro games on your local high street, but they’re actually much more useful than a normal straight-forward shop.

I’ve actually used them before to repair some of my old scratched-up game discs using their in-store resurfacing machine. This won’t work on every single game disc due to how different consoles use slightly different types of disc, but I can confirm from personal experience that it can make PS1 games go from unplayable to completely perfect condition, and they don’t even charge you for this particular service either.

But the focus of this article isn’t on a simple disc repair, but a much more complicated job involving entire consoles. CEX recently partnered with a company called Tech Centre and now offers a service which can fix a huge variety of systems all the way from modern stuff like the PS5 and Xbox Series X all the way back to the PS2, Xbox 360, and even the NES!

Kicking Off The Repair Journey

A repair quote page from the tech Centre website

I was particularly interested in their ability to fix retro systems because with these being much older devices, they’re more prone to being broken or damaged in some way and if CEX can fix these, then it could allow you to revisit your old consoles that you never thought would be playable ever again.

I happened to already have a broken original Game Boy, which is the very same device I used in my childhood that I’ve kept in my collection all this time. Honestly, I thought that there would be far too many problems with this for them to even try to fix. The polarising film on the inside of the screen had some burn damage, the battery cover was being held on with tape due to the plastic lock snapping off years ago, and the battery contacts had a lot of corrosion on them which prevented the device from even turning on. It’s safe to say it was a bit of a mess!

I also have an N64 sitting on my shelf which seems to randomly turn itself off during gameplay which isn’t exactly ideal, and this is currently stopping me from wanting to add to my library of games for that particular system.

Rob's broken Game Boy from 3 angles

So, I took them both into my local CEX store and asked about how the repair process actually works ,and it turned out to be a super simple process.

Basically, if you go onto the Tech Centre website you can see a whole list of systems and controllers that they can repair. If the particular console you have is on that list, then you can take it to CEX and register it for repair. While in CEX, you need to fill out a short form for each of the devices you’re bringing in and give the member of staff a short description of the issues you’re having. They then take them, pack them up, and send them off to the Tech Centre headquarters where your console will be looked at by an expert.

One Simply Walks Into CEX

A yellow Game boy DMG outside of CEX

According to the Tech Centre website, this process is supposed to take seven working days, however the staff member in CEX did say that sometimes it can be a little bit longer and to expect it to take around ten working days depending on the device. During this time, you’ll be able to access tracking information to see where in the repair process your console is and you’ll get email updates when your system is dispatched back to the CEX store. I even got a phone call from the store itself to tell me that my devices had arrived safely back, so I definitely had peace of mind throughout the whole process and knew that my consoles were being looked after.

Admittedly, the repair process did take slightly longer than ten working days, with me taking them into the store on Friday 19th April and not getting them back until Saturday 11th May, but to be fair, there were a lot of bank holidays in this time period and there’s also a chance that they weren’t dispatched on the day I took them in which might have delayed proceedings over the weekend.

But, was the wait actually worth it? Did CEX and Tech Centre manage to repair my majorly messed up Game Boy?

The Results

Rob's Grandma's Game Boy playing Tetris again

Despite my initial pessimism, they actually did! Not only did they repair literally every single issue I had with the Game Boy, but they even fixed some things I didn’t even mention.

The screen lens was completely replaced with a new one, the battery contacts have been swapped to fresh ones, and they even gave me a shiny new battery cover which completely blends in with the yellow shell of my Game Boy. I honestly didn’t expect them to do this because I thought that they probably wouldn’t have a load of spare yellow Game Boy battery covers lying around. I’m also extremely pleased to report that it now turns on and is completely playable once again.

Not to get overly dramatic, but this particular console is quite important to me for sentimental reasons, with it being the console that my late Grandma used to play Tetris on. She got so invested in it that she kept a notebook dedicated to writing down her high scores and spent hours trying to beat them. So to be able to see the very same Game Boy she used actually turn on again for the first time in years was an amazing moment.

They even replaced the old worn-out Start and Select buttons with new ones which was a problem I never even mentioned at any point, so they clearly pay close attention to all of the details of your consoles and go above and beyond what I ever expected.

How Much Does It Cost For CEX To Repair Broken Retro Consoles?

The fixed components on the Game Boy in close up

Now, you might be wondering about how much all of this cost. I was initially a little bit worried that I would need to pay for each individual repair that they did to the device but it turns out that you just pay one fee per console and they try to fix absolutely everything that they can. So for all of the work done to my Game Boy, it only cost £39.99 which I think is incredible value.

Now, could you theoretically do all of these repairs for yourself for much cheaper than this? Probably, but that would require you to get all of the materials and tools needed for the job and to actually have the knowledge and confidence to pull it off to a degree where it looks good. I would personally much rather hand my systems to somebody who actually knows what they’re doing and get them fixed professionally rather than attempt something like this myself and I know that a lot of other people would probably feel the same.

A Tech Centre sticker

Plus something that you get by sending in your consoles to CEX that you don’t get by doing DIY repairs at home is a two-year warranty on all repair jobs, so if your console isn’t fixed up to your standards or the issue presents itself again within that time, you can actually take it back to CEX and get a refund or send it back off for a free re-repair which adds even more value to what’s already a great deal.

What About The N64?

After all of this success we had with the Game Boy, you might be wondering what happened to my N64. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be fixed and was returned to the store in the same state I sent it in. The great thing about this though is that there’s a no-fix, no-pay guarantee where you don’t pay anything if they can’t fix the problem with your system, so even if your issues can’t be solved, it’s always still worth giving it a shot.

Rob's N64, sadly still not fixed

Overall, I’m beyond impressed with CEX’s repair service. Even though it might have taken longer than advertised to get my consoles back, they went above and beyond with the repairs they made to my Game Boy which absolutely made it worth the wait. While you might say it was disappointing that they couldn’t repair my N64, I’m not too upset about this because I didn’t need to pay any kind of fee for them to take a look at it.

I really hope this new service becomes popular with retro enthusiasts, it’s amazing value and the entire process was incredibly simple and I love how they kept me up to date throughout the journey. I would like to see this potentially go even further with even more retro systems added to their repair catalogue (like the original Xbox and PS1 systems) and if it takes off, imagine the potential for a modding service where you can send in consoles like the Game Boy to have their shells swapped and new IPS screens fitted, that would be pretty awesome!

For now though, I love the fact that CEX is leaning into the retro gaming scene by offering more than just a store. With their trade-in services, disc repairs and now console and controller repairs, they’re becoming the ultimate place to go for all of your retro needs! So, if you have any old game consoles gathering dust because they’re broken, why not take them into CEX to see if they can be fixed? You’ve got nothing to lose!

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