How can I give an old PS3 new life?
July 3, 2019 6:51 PM   Subscribe

My son was just given a PS3 console. It came with a power cord, a cable connector, and nothing else. I am not a gamer and need some advice on how to make this a functional object, preferably in an inexpensive way.

I"m happy for my kid, but I don't want to sink a ton of money into something that may not turn out to have lasting interest for him. What do I need to add (controllers?) to make this thing work, and are there any less expensive ways to do this? I'm not averse to checking game shops or secondhand stores, but I need to know what I'm looking for. Thanks!
posted by MonkeyToes to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You really just need a controller and some games. If you have a local GameStop or similar, there’s a very good chance that they have both available second-hand for relatively cheap.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:36 PM on July 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

According to my gamer husband, you will need games and a controller (we are assuming when you say "cable connector" you mean hdmi cable? you should be able to get cheap used ps3 games at used game stores (are you in the states? Gamestop probably has discount bins... or find yourself some local game stores) - game of the year games would be reprints of the most popular games and would probably be a good option. You can also try thrift shops. He says the most expensive items will probably be the controllers because they're expensive even when bought used but otherwise you should have everything you need.

He says the ps3 is a good system and has a lot of good games. Quick recommendations for kids (not sure how old MonkeyToes jr. Is so avoiding violent games like god of war) include ratchet and clank games, jak and daxter, sly cooper and any of the Lego games.

Hope that helps!!
posted by vespertinism at 7:38 PM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh and if MonkeyToes Jr would want a sports game, he says that you should get one of the older games instead of the latest and greatest as they would be cheaper but they will be basically the same. He says go minimum 3 years back.
posted by vespertinism at 7:42 PM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yes, if you check your local used game shop they'll hook you up. You might need an HDMI connector to plug it into your TV. You'll probably want to connect it to wi-fi so it can update itself, but if you don't, that's not a problem - it can run offline fine too. But sometimes games have updates that fix things so it's recommended.

A controller should cost less than $20. Better to get official Sony stuff but by the same token it's best to get something new rather than used because they do get wear and tear. I wouldn't buy one at a thrift store without testing it out, but game shops test them before selling. Having two is nice if the kid plays with friends but lots of games were played online so there aren't as many "couch co-op" or split-screen modes.

As for games - they should be pretty cheap to buy secondhand (think $5-10 each), you don't need to worry about damage or manuals or anything. There are tons of good ones but of course it's up to the kid and you to choose!

I'm not sure but the online game shop that the PS3 connects to should still be running and there are lots of games on there to pick from as well.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:10 PM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'd spring for a new controller (~$25) or two. Controllers take a beating in the hands of hot-blooded monster killers like myself, and after only a few months buttons stick or don't work at all. (That is maddening.) A secondhand controller would be like a secondhand non-stick pan.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 10:10 PM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yes, spring for a new controller. Used controllers are just... icky, and the price difference is not much. I'm not sure what you mean by a cable connector. Is that an HDMI cable for hooking it up to the tv, or a charging cable for a controller? You'll need both.

PS3's a great console, tons of classic games and plenty of downloadable smaller games available on the online store. I use our old PS3 for basement tv - we don't have cable, so I've got all the sundry streaming apps on ours and it works great, no worries about old apps with no support or anything. The playstation online store lumps everything for all the consoles together, but you can filter that out easily. There are regular sales all the time, most often in summer (now!) and around the winter holiday season, for downloadable games.

Probably my favorite PS3 game is Burnout Paradise, which is an open world racing game with goofy levels of explosions. It is just indisputably fun and still looks pretty great by today's standards. For downloadable only, get Journey, which is a gorgeous wordless story about freedom and art and wow, timeless experience. There's also the brilliant Portal 2. There's good games for just about any type of kid you've got, feel free to ask another question for specific suggestions there.
posted by Mizu at 10:45 PM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

1. Get a new controller, the difference between new and used is noticeable and appreciated.
2. Used games might be a good idea, but you can also buy games digitally at the Playstation Store.
3. The internal hard drive might be due for replacement. You can drop a cheap 1TB laptop drive in and have plenty of space for games.

Playstation has been a solid gaming platform, none of the consoles have been duds.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:54 PM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

The charging cable for controllers on a PS3 are just standard USB-B mini cables - like an old (pre-type-C, pre-micro-USB) android phone charger cable. A/V connectivity is just a standard HDMI cable. So you don't need to spring for expensive official items or anything, any standard cheap cables will do.

Official PS3 controllers (Dualshock 3, often abbreviated DS3) aren't being produced any more, and any new old stock you find is liable to be expensive. There are unofficial controllers at various price points (with varying quality) and second hand is also an option, though do ideally test to see if all the buttons work, and the thumb sticks don't have too much play or looseness. Official DS3s are pretty sturdy, but it's not impossible for the sticks to be worn too loose to engage fully, or for buttons to stop working if they've been abused.

Apart from that, it's just games, which should be pretty cheap on the second hand market if you have access to that local to you. Otherwise, there's always eBay.
posted by Dysk at 2:57 AM on July 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thank you all! I'm pretty sure we can sort out the game end, and it's helpful to have a typical price range for used and older games.

Official PS3 controllers (Dualshock 3, often abbreviated DS3) aren't being produced any more, and any new old stock you find is liable to be expensive. There are unofficial controllers at various price points (with varying quality)

Any specific recs here? (I hear you about kids being rough on controllers.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:28 AM on July 4, 2019

I've only used no-name knockoffs from ebay or local shops, and some have been atrocious, others have been pretty alright. None of them have carried any meaningful branding, so all I can recommend is either getting your hands on one, or buying from somewhere like amazon where returns are an option.

Do note that official controllers are wireless (over Bluetooth) but that a lot of the cheaper knockoffs effectively aren't - they might actually communicate with the console over Bluetooth, but don't have a battery, so will need to be plugged in at all times anyway.
posted by Dysk at 6:58 AM on July 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

We have an old PS2 that is just a knockaround console and it's fun soemtimes tracking down weird old games for it. Often thrift stores will have good deals on old games. Larger library systems sometimes lend them. It's also absolutely worth keeping an eye on local buy/sell groups (facebook, Craigslist, whatever) because when people sell their games they SELL them and you can sometimes get bundles of them for super cheap. I got some dance dance revolution dance pads for mine for nearly nothing. Fun!

Agree on getting the kid a new controller, but also spring for a few (used?) ones so if they want to play with friends or you, they can.
posted by jessamyn at 7:13 AM on July 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

In addition to games the PS3 also plays Blu-ray Discs.
posted by Gev at 4:22 AM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

We still use our PS3 as it is our sole BluRay player in our house! Hook that sucker up to the internet and get it updated and you should be good.
posted by jillithd at 10:02 AM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]
posted by radiosilents at 1:58 PM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

I am way late to the game but if you're still checking answers I have a bunch of old PS3 games gathering dust that I've been meaning to take to gamestop. Would be happy to send them to you to get them out of the house. I probably have a couple old controllers around someplace as well. memail me if you're interested.
posted by bowmaniac at 9:42 AM on July 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thank you all! New controller arrived today, and the good news is that everything seems to work. Internet connection is the next step. Did not know about Blu-Ray capacity--that is helpful--and I have been poking around the thrift shops for games (seems like a lot of sports titles have been donated) beyond the two (God of War and GTA V) that came with the console. Bowmaniac, thank you for your thoughtfulness, and I have memailed you.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:51 PM on July 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Internet connection is the next step.

I'm sure you probably know this but in case you don't: the PS3 has WiFi. It's buried a little in the system settings somewhere, but you can totally get it online without needing to worry about ethernet cables!
posted by Dysk at 2:02 AM on July 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

« Older What is this art style, and why does it feel so...   |   Friends around life Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments