Deep set scratches on the shiny underside of game discs is a common problem with Xbox 360 users. Due to a design flaw within the console's mechanism, discs are not held as firmly in place when spinning in the tray as they should be, and so any sort of vibration can cause them to knock against components inside the Xbox 360 machine, administering scratches to the data holding sides of the discs.
The newer Xbox 360 'S' models come clearly packaged with stickers warning you of this problem, and urging you to not move the console while a game is in play.
Well, I've Only Gone And Done It Anyway. What Should I Do Now?
If, however, you have been unfortunate to knock your console whilst playing a game, and now your copy of your favorite game is scratched up beyond repair, there are still a number of things you can do.
Firstly, it is probably best to take your game to the nearest video game outlet. Sure, there's plenty of crackpot ideas to found on the net about smearing toothpaste or Coca Cola all over your discs, but to be honest, this will almost certainly bring about more problems than it solves.
Most retail outlets that deal with video games will have a disc cleaning service, and while you may have to pay a little extra for the privilege (it will only be a couple of dollars or so, not much), this is the safest and surest way of making your once beloved games playable again.
So This Will Definitely Sort It, Right?
Even if the game store sets their disc cleaning tool to 'high' this still may not work and upon taking your game home and placing it in the tray, you may find that it is still unplayable.
If this is the case, there is still some hope! So long as the Xbox can recognize what disc is in the console and you are able to start up the game before it eventually crashes, then you are in luck.
What you need to do now, is rent the same game from your nearest rental store, or one of the many online rental companies that are out there on the 'net. Once you have the disc in your hands, insert it into your console as usual and install the game to the hard drive. Once this is completed, you should now be able to play the game using your original, damaged disc. This is because the Xbox only needs to acknowledge that you have the right game disc in the tray, before it reads the pre-installed date from the hard drive and not the disc itself. You can now return the rental and continue to play the game using this method!
Once the game has been loaded up from the hard drive, the disc stops spinning, and so the capacity to scratch is drastically decreased. This will also keep your console in general happier, as it is not putting as much physical stress on the hardware.
But of course, not moving the console while a disc is spinning inside it in the first place is probably the best precaution you can take!