I regret to inform you that I have recently found my way into yet another very niche corner of YouTube and TikTok. Retro console restoration videos have become a bit of a trend during the pandemic, as people looked for creative projects to pass the time in lockdown. For many amateur electronics technicians, this meant breaking out their old video game consoles and sprucing them up. Because age and circumstance had been kinder to some of these consoles than others, a great many simply no longer functioned. As the interest in retro console restoration began to take off, several channels sprang up or realigned their content to trade on it.
And so, a social media niche was born.
Odd Tinkering is possibly one of the best-known console restoration creators. The vibe and aesthetic couldn’t be purer: No voice over. No royalty-free background music. Just the slow, methodical cleaning and rebuilding of old, unloved consoles with a smattering of on-screen notes for context. Is there an ASMR component here? Yes, absolutely. Will I ever get sick of watching them perfectly clean yellowed old plastic by submerging it in hydrogen peroxide and hitting it with ultraviolet light? Definitely not. Odd Tinkering’s library of console restoration videos is long and wide-ranging, with some truly rare finds among the collection.
Video Game Restoration
@videogamerestoration Reply to @extrad0g another switch repair below! #savetheconsoles @videogamerestoration @videogamerestoration @videogamerestoration #nintendo #switch #electronicrepair #vgr🕹 #fyp ♬ original sound – Video Game Restoration
This is one of the first console repair and restoration TikTok accounts I found, and it has provided nothing but gold ever since. The account’s owner takes battered consoles and games sent in by viewers and restores them to working order. They don’t just repair old consoles either, there are plenty of modern and contemporary models as well. They also freely admit when they’ve made a mistake and what it took to fix their own goofs. The content is quick, bright, breezy, and informative, and provides a great jumping-off point for people interested in the repair process.
@girlthulhu I got a lot of 11 broken consoles from Goodwill auction! We tested them all out. #consolerepair #retroconsole #nes ♬ original sound – Mary
Mary aka Girlthulhu is a Twitch streamer that plays a lot of Magic the Gathering, but they also dedicate a lot of their streams to console repair. Girthulhu approaches repairs from a hobbyist perspective, pulling apart these older machines, explaining how they work, and what each machine’s common problems are. This is a fantastic channel for people who are interested in the repair process but doesn’t have much electronics experience. Mary goes into deeper detail on her restoration Twitch streams, taking questions and advice from the chat as she goes.
TysyTube takes a very similar tack to Odd Tinkering. Long, methodical restorations are combined with minimal audiovisual stimulus beyond on-screen subtitles and the sound of the work being conducted. Tysy’s videos cover a lot of different restorations, not just video game paraphernalia, but it’s their gaming hardware videos that capture the imagination. Another great channel for the cleaning ASMR enthusiasts, and a great look inside a great many devices you may have owned in the past.