|I know you were asking a legitimate question. However, your logic is faulty.|
Each time you remove and/or install an IDE data cable you risk damaging it. The wires are fine and the connector simply presses into the coating. Looking at the cable is of no use.
I don't know if the cable is damaged or not but that is a simple fix and therefore should be tried first.
While on the subject of the cable are you using an 80 wire cable? You can tell the 80 wire by the connectors. Master drive end connector is Black. The Slave drive connector is Grey. The motherboard connector is usually blue but can be other colors, but not black.
Are the game disks originals or burned copies?
A burner may appear to burn a disk but not actually be successful.
It sounds to me like the drive is NOT fully functional. Most combination drives (CDR/DVDR) have TWO lasers which both operate at different intensities. High for burning, lower for reading. Any number of things can go wrong. It is common to have on laser or the other become defective. The lenses over the lasers can get dirty from the burning process. The laser tries to compensate by using more power. This may work for a while but the read function may not be strong enough to see through the dirty lense.
There are lense cleaning kits available. New drives are cheap enough too. Look at the link below for some.
Part of the way down there is a Lite on RETAIL with free shipping. That drive comes with a