It’s hard to say exactly why our games get damaged. Their lives should fall into a simple routine of traveling from the box to the console, and occasionally back to the box. Yet sure enough, one way or another we end up with scratched, scuffed, and damaged discs. This can cause everything from glitches to heavy loading time to complete failure. Some games can get damaged simply from excessive use, the console’s laser reading mechanism gradually burning away the surface of the disc in a perfect circle of destruction. Whatever the cause of your damage, you’ll need to attempt surgery if you want to keep playing.
The first step is to clean the disc, which is what most people will try before anything else anyway. However, the traditional method of breathing on the disc to fog it up and subsequently rubbing it on one’s shirt is slightly too rudimentary for most purposes. Try to procure a jewelry polishing cloth or other soft microfiber for this purpose. Cleaning your discs with an overly abrasive cloth will work against by causing–that’s right, more scratches. Most fabrics are simply too coarse for cleaning disc surfaces, so use the right kind. Rub gently, making sure you’re not grinding in any hard debris, from the inside of the disc to the outer edge.
If this doesn’t work, take a look at the severity of your scratches. Are you dealing with small surface wounds or more deeper cuts? The traditional low budget fix for small scratches is none other than good old toothpaste. A few dollups of toothpaste on the surface of the disc should be gently spread around to cover the affected area and then buffed with a soft damp cloth until no toothpaste remains visible. The idea is that this method offers dual benefits; it gives your game disc a deeper clean, and the toothpaste should fill in your tiny scratches bringing uniformity once more to the disc surface.
Now the toothpaste method used to work wonders. These days, it doesn’t always do the trick. Maybe discs have changed, maybe the severity of our scratches has changed, or maybe toothpaste has changed. Who knows? All you need to know is that when all else fails, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Some have had good results with an automobile wax buff or a furniture polish treatment. Plastic polishing kits often produce good results as well. Some use them in tandem with extremely fine grain sandpaper to polish out scratches. Proceed with caution, of course, or you risk ruining your games altogether.
These delicate surfaces get scratched. It happens. The world is too unpredictable for such delicate things to go undamaged forever, and that’s why you have a screen protector for your phone. Unfortunately, there’s no disc protector than you can slap on all your games to keep them from incurring battle scars, but you can do your best to repair the damage and get on with life.