User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:43 am

This process applies to all cartridges, but in this post I'm focusing specifically on Super Nintendo (SNES) cartridges because that is my system of choice. You could do this exact same process for Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Atari - whatever. Some of the tools may vary, however (the tools will work for SNES and N64).

First off, let's all agree to stop blowing into our cartridges, OK? If you bought your cartridge off Ebay, do you have any idea how many people you've made out with by now? And do you really want to blow moisture onto your collectible electronics? All that does is promote more corrosion on the golden colored (copper) metal contacts we're about to make like new. Don't do that anymore.

About 3 minutes.

Tools needed for cleaning carts

Security Bits
Most importantly, you need to get some specialized screwdriver bits that are specifically designed for these cartridges. They come as a pair: the smaller one is for the cartridges, the larger one is for the SNES console itself should you ever want to open it up and give it a really good scrub. In any case, I got steel ones which cost an extra dollar or two as I've read that some of the really cheap ones can sometimes strip easily. That being said, every cartridge I've opened up (about a dozen) have not been tight at all, so if you decide to go cheap that's up to you. Obviously you also need a screwdriver that can accept standard bits. You can get one just about anywhere.

I use a white plastic eraser with a nice clean edge on it. I wouldn't go grab a used #2 pencil - these are aging relics, so treat them with a little dignity! Plus, you wouldn't want to risk scraping the cart's contacts with the metal holding the eraser to the pencil. You can get plastic erasers pretty cheaply - the one in the photo cost me about $1.50.

Any soft brush will do. I use a clean and dry flat paint brush. You could use a paper towel, too, or soft cloth.

Plastic Cutting Mat or Thick Paper
Once you open up the cartridges, one side of the circuit board can have little pointy solders. The other side has ROM chips and what not. You should have a little bit of padding under these when you do your work to protect your table and the electronics.


Step One
Stick your bit in the screwdriver and remove the 2 screws on the top of the cartridge. In my experience these are almost never that tight at all. Once you remove them, Pop open the cart and set the top to the side. Sometimes (thanks to people blowing into these things) The inside plastic on either side of the metal contacts can be a little grimy. You can Put a little glass cleaner on a paper towel and get that out of there if need be. Just make sure the plastic is dry before you put it back together. I spray the towel and dab it in there when necessary.
Removing the proprietary Nintendo cartridge screws.

Step Two
Remove the circuit board. It's just sitting in there and lifts right out. There is only one way for the board to go into a cart - you'll see how the left and right side fit into the cart like a "key". Easy peasy. Put the circuit board on the mat or paper you're going to work on. I generally hold the board on the sides.
Note the gold tabs covered in corrosion, which is very typical.

Close-up of corroded golden copper/metal tabs.

Step Three
Get your eraser and go to work on the golden contacts. If your cart hasn't been cleaned properly before, you'll see black or brown "dirt" about halfway up the contacts. This is mostly corrosion, and once you start to erase the contacts the pins will become shiny like new again. Be sure to get all the way to the edges, not just the center contacts. This should take about 20-30 seconds, then flip it over and do the other side. You'll usually still see a faded color, but it should be more from just simple wear - not corrosion. Once both sides are done, use the brush to remove the eraser shavings. You don't want use your fingers as you'll leave oils behind.
Note how the eraser removes the corrosion to become shiny like-new.

Some padding below the circuit board is a good idea, as the components can be sharp and pointy.

I hold the boards firmly with one hand by holding onto the sides. I don't mash the board down onto the table. If you do, you risk breaking off something. Just hold it on both sides and let the contacts touch your paper or mat for leverage. You have to use a bit of pressure to rub the corrosion off.

Step Four
Put the board back into the cart housing the only way it can go back in, and put the screws back in. I only use my fingers on the stem of the screwdriver and lightly tighten finger strength. You don't need to tighten the crap out of these, or the plastic will probably crack. Just be easy with it.
No more making out with your carts - this is the way to clean them without any chemicals or spit.

You're done! Now go onto the rest of your cartridge collection, and enjoy your almost-new cartridge connections! If only we could get to the inside of the consoles to clean those contacts the same way without performing major surgery...

User avatar
Detroit, MI, USA

Posted Sat Jun 25, 2016 5:38 pm

I also apply some polish to the contacts. This is by far the biggest reason for games having issues. Many like to target the NES' 72-pin connector as the source of all problems with cart issues, or the lockout chip, but I replaced the connector and disabled the chip and games still blinked on/off... Then I cleaned them all... They've all worked first time everytime since 2009... Dirty connections... And I'm going to kick the next 18 year old that gets on YouTube and claims blowing into the cart was all in our minds... Dirt was the issue by far, blowing into it displaced containments and put just that little bit of moisture into it, making the connection just a little bit more likely. Yes, the 72-pin connection was a terrible design, but all that extra (non gold plated) metal made the tiniest amount of dirt all the more likely to cause problems. Can't stand these "historical" videos on that subject. I've sat there 50 times putting it in/out without blowing into it, nothing, blow into it, bang... I've even done it to Sega Genesis carts and C64, nowhere near the same level of problems

I've actually had the better part of a You're Not Stupid Guide on this done for over a year. Unfortunately, I wanted that extra little bit of slap people in their face evidence by showing a Genesis cart coming to life via blowing. Problem is I've cleaned all my carts and can't get anything to fail loading. I've got a couple test carts I threw dirt in and I test them now and then, but they all load just fine! Oh, but trust me, even the much better designed carts, with age, can be brought back temporarily through a good old fashioned BJ.

User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Sat Jun 25, 2016 6:58 pm

Oh hey, I by no means meant to imply "blowing" didn't create short term relief, or pleasure, to bring your cartridges to full attention and primo working order. On the contrary, a good blow can indeed create some nice results... short term results, anyway. And sometimes that's all you need on a given night.

But the eraser method (referred to as a "rubber" in Asia and parts of Europe, Oh!) will give you safe, long, hard results and keep your investments from corroding even further. The eraser method is the best way to preserve these "old" things, to be sure, and get them as close to new as possible. The receptacle in the console - the female part, if you will - is the part that's hard to clean like new. I'd love a video of you trying to blow that part, too. God, this sounds horrible! :lol:

Seriously, though, if you have an old cart that's never been cleaned sometimes blowing in there is your only option. But you don't know where that cart has been, Shot, and, well...

You started it.


Bottom line is blowing will indeed help sometimes, but it absolutely contributes to corrosion of the contacts.

User avatar
Detroit, MI, USA

Posted Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:57 am

I started it with every intention that someone would run with it! - Thanks for being an immature pal!

I agree that blowing will eventually cause more damage than it cures, but it took me 20 years to get to that point with nothing but blowing and rubbing alcohol to thank for it. I'd also like to take a shot at these idiot "tests" they do, where the throw a bunch of shit into the cart, presumably it's already been cleaned because they know about those issues, and they introduce it into a scenario that would never be reached by a normal user. I've seen what blowing will "eventually" cause those pins to look like, and neither my games nor anyone's I've ever known looked that bad. It's a suuuppper slow downward climb and there is a way to come back from it.

With the method shown we're all able to bring them back to life for a long time to come. Especially the SNES/Genesis ones, those lasted a good 10 years before I ever even had an excuse to attempt to blow into it. The design helps a whole hell of a lot, but those connections make all the difference...

The only thing I can bring to the table is how I add a couple steps. I use the eraser method but I don't stop there, because I don't like how it looks after the eraser has had its way with it. I can't speak for the quality of my recommendations compared to just doing it this way, but I suppose we'll share notes about when the issue starts popping it's head again and we'll have an idea.

I genuinely kind of feel like the eraser takes not only the crap off, but some of the good shit you don't want off... I can see it's clean after the eraser, but it's plane and simply "dull" looking after. With nothing to base it on I felt with enough of only the eraser method you'd wear that gold plating right off. And gold plating is very nice to have for its connection benefits.

After using the eraser I add windex with a q-tip, no longer using the rubbing alcohol, besides, the eraser did most of the cleaning.. Now I'm just making sure...and you'll be amazed at what the eraser misses once you look at the q-tip.

Finally, and there was a hint of seriousness in my post, I add polish with a q-tip. Non jizz based polish! HA! I've tried several including metal polish and some others, for some reason I feel plastic polish is the best. It will shine that gold plating up like it was better than new! And I've took a q-tip to it after that just to see if maybe I was adding dirt, I have no problem licking it. Plenty of people online recommend windex but I've never seen anyone talk about polish. Gold plating is all about that extra attraction for connection, keeping it shiny I feel helps, not to mention the copper underneath it, which is of course extremely susceptible to the elements... The hot French Lady Liberty is of course not meant to be green, she's meant to be a brilliant shinning brown. Many gravestones only 20 years old start turning green... But if you keep them up, put a little goo on them once in awhile...

I have no idea but my extra touches sure make it look better in my opinion, and I've yet to experience any issues, even on the bastard NES. Keep a count going though, I'd love to see actual real life "evidence", something these punks going on and on about the 72-pin connector know nothing of. I cleaned/polished all of my games in 2009 and they've been good since. I'll try to track this topic down once I'm in need of another cleaning... Although I can also guarantee the second they do need a cleaning, I'm going to be way too lazy to bust them all apart right away... Blowing shall commence once again... And I guarantee it'll get the job done for awhile. Damn punk kids.

Honestly though, there's such a thing as "too much knowledge". There's an arrogance that comes from understanding you're intelligent and it will cause many to not only assume quite wrongly, but far worse, disrespect many others who lived it. I'm sure we've all had a conversation or two with someone much older than us who was telling us stories about how shit used to work back in the day... and you know, sometimes, you kind of want to scream at them... Call them out on their bullshit... I mean you learned about that topic in school, now they're saying it went this other way...

The normal person will take this situation, nod their heads in agreement, and think terrible thoughts the entire time, most likely go back and tell their girlfriend/boyfriend the story and you'll genuinely be the kind of person you'd slap someone else for being IFFF they did it right in front of that guy... But most of us think we're great because we respected the man, nodded, and may go to our death beds thinking that guy was an idiot... So have we really respected him? Certainly better than the asshole who challenges some Vietnam vet over what Nixon or Johnson were saying back then...

I can't say how badly I feel for mankind when they feel that strong of a need to be "right" that they go and tell off somebody much older than they are. I was raised, as were many, to respect those that are older than us. I do not always agree with them, but I will give them two things... One, which I hope most will give, respect in person... I shall never tell them a passionate opinion or even fact is incorrect. I might notice traits about them I hate, maybe they're a racist, but unless they're next to a black guy I'm not going be some super idealistic millennial that thinks my opinion is going to change 70 years of their life...

To give a real life example, at an old crappy job I once had, I worked with a 70 year old that for some reason thought he should lock this one unlocked door (was a security job) by going in, locking it from the inside, and climbing up a reception window so he could get to another door that would lock behind him. He fell on his ass, he seemed fine, but I had to cover my ass, too. I wrote a little report (he did not) just saying what he told me. Some fucker pointed at me, why didn't you say this or do that or call this person? Why didn't you tell him he should write a report or call whoever? Because the bastard is 50 years my senior! I felt he should write a report, I also felt perhaps neither of us should write a report... Best case there, nobody gets in trouble... BUTTTTT... Well, somehow shit always gets out, and they would have come back to me and I would have been in trouble had I not documented something like that told to me. I listened, I told him how that must have sucked, I asked if he was okay or if he needed any attention, and I told him if it ever happens again to call me... Which he did after that. But fuck whoever at the office or 2nd down in the chain or whatever wanted me to act like a supervisor and tell this guy off who has been working security much longer than I have, and has LIVVED much longer than I have. That's not my job, and if you ask me, that respect makes me more qualified to be in some of those leadership roles compared to some asshole 19 year old bossing around some 45 year old lady at Wall-Mart... Not that some of them may not need to be told things, but you certainly MUST understand your age and theirs when discussing things. You have to talk to that person much differently than someone your own age, or someone much younger.

I don't care how much of this life I've experienced, SOMEONE has experienced more, and of course, book smarts and street smarts are two different things, and many of us will be surprised as how booksmart some of them "could" have been, if given those opportunities at the time. They still have lots to teach us, and for the most part, we don't even ask them any questions... And that's my issue with these videos I see, presented in a historical way, with Mythbuster like "scientific tests" (they're anything but scientific) these are just asshole kids who never grew up with an NES and want to talk about it for some reason. It's like the idiots on that old VH1 show about the 70's, then 80's, then the 90s, with crap from last year that nobody is nostalgic about at the time... But EVERYONE they got to do the show were 25 year olds... None of them knew about the 70's... Here they are reading from a script in a factual way "everyone was wearing these goldfish shoes in 1976" - How can you read that? Some of them, as children, at least grew up in the 80's, even if they're still missing the adult viewpoint... But I remember my mom watching that, liking some of it, scratching her head at other parts, because they're full of shit...

Here are these 19 year old kids, and in fact, they aren't even "book smart", they're too young to even come to an understanding of their own intelligence not based on arrogance...But it's obvious they "think" they're smart... Blowing into a cart? That's "one of those stories" their stupid parents told them, much like ours told us about walking to school in 3 feet of snow, BOTH WAYS! There are plenty of these "stories" we've all heard over the years, some of them sound fucking crazy... and that's your first thought, always... No, that just does not sound right... Most of us go from that situation thinking we've just dealt with a loon....

But there have been times, if you look deep enough in your soul... When we've heard a story from someone much older, and we were SURE it was wrong... Even the nice ones were tempted to say a few words... Some of those war stories especially... You hear about things accomplished and you think they're trying to make themselves look good... Then you find some old news paper clipping they had saved telling you about the story they told you, they did leave out things, pretty terrible things, to spare you, but they were quite right... and sometimes, for those of the really good amongst us, sometimes we look it up, usually just to satisfy our own egos, but then we find that my god, they never taught us that one in school...

Look, sometimes we might happen to be experts in a certain field... We do know a thing or two about that issue... Even then you might be surprised at what you don't know compared to someone much older... But there is one thing we should all respect... When we DON'T know about an issue, we sure as hell will do best to give someone 30 years older than us, hell, even 10, the assumption that they're not morons. Do your own research if you're curious, but don't go into trying to prove yourself right... If anything go into trying to prove yourself wrong, just to see if you get anything... If you can't find it, well, there you go, one of the cooks... But certainly plenty, even in lesser skilled trades, will assume the new way is best always... That's what we learned... Fuel injection all the way, who the hell wants to work on these carburetter cars? Confusing inefficient crap engines! Meanwhile the old guys look at the new cars and feel defeated... They won't even let you change the oil on a car by yourself anymore.... Where as before anyone that tried could and did work on and fix their cars...

Photography... Even the professionals have sung the praises of digital, no longer care about film... Which at the very least offers something different, and, you know what? If you can suck up your pride just a tiny bit, yeah, indeed, it's better in some areas too! Just like vinyl is better in some areas! Just because it's old does not mean it's crap... Sometimes new stuff is rolled out for one reason only: To make money... And that's really the only reason... Even if it new thing is better it was only released to make money, and you better bet companies all over are trying to figure out a way to make us all pay big bucks for something that's clearly not as good as what it replaced... Or deserves an * next to it... Like digital LCD televisions, often now called "LED" televisions these days... Why? For another excuse to charge you a thousand bucks over something, that, I agree, IS better, LEDs ARE better than florescent pulsating lit crap! BUT - LED TV? Incorrect name. It's still a LCD, a Liquid Crystal Display television, the only thing an "LED" TV changes, is the backlight. It was once using a crappy florescent tube that is no friend to your eyes, and now they're using LED lights... AS A BACKLIGHT! Light emitting Diode so you can SEEE the picture... The TV is NOT an LED TV... stupid... Late 90s, early 2000's CRTs were becoming super cheap. You could have the best for a hundred bucks... The days of a thousand dollar 27 inch TV were gone... Many new kinds of TVs were thrown at us, the one that stuck would turn out to be LCDs... Which, at the time, were absolute crap compared to a CRT... BUT... they got something... They're small, light weight... Maybe we stick them as camera monitors? Slowly maybe they do become better... HD QUALITY!!!! Which was 720p at the time, of course there was no programing using it, but they made sure to hook up something to the TV while you were browsing so you'd be amazed...

Then you buy a brand new thousand dollar TV just like you did 15 years ago, or, in the case of a young one, your first TV... The thing is... To this day most people use standard cable... Which looks like absolute crap on an HD TV. It's simple, there was nothing wrong about the old CRTs, they had many years behind them to get to near perfection...and even they were not there yet, because CRTS can display HD resolutions, they just didn't make "many" TVs that did... I recently found an "old" CRT television (not computer monitor) that was in HD... Mind blown... hahha....

But yeah, plenty of kids now just assume it's worse, and yeah, if you only look at the "facts", the print out sheet, they are worse... But they have no real life experience...and some that do will justify their purchase, lie to themselves to not look stupid... But to this day CRTs SHOULD be the number one selling TV, simply because most people have not upgraded to HD. HD is better* - When using HD equipped devices...

There's just so many examples where you have to look deeper... You can't just accept your "superior" knowledge... Sometimes, you've got to be willing to prove yourself wrong... Like I did with that Jim Sachs post... I KNEW I was right... but here's another passionate guy, and, really, I didn't want to give him respect because of how he started talking, but I gave it to him anyway, and, ya know, sadly almost had to say I was wrong... Because I was too busy looking at "his facts"... How the cars lined up better left to right when stretched widescreen... But I forgot to look at everything else... The doors... The lights... Markings... And, what another old guy had to say, the person that drew the artwork, the wheels... and I was proved right again. But I was not wrong in respecting him and looking at those things... I just forgot to look at everything...

And that, to get back to the original point, is the thing about these looks into the NES blinking light thing... They're not even able to drink legally, they don't have the credentials to even call themselves college graduates, but they've watched enough Mythbusters to know THIS does not make any sense!

Ya know, just like the Mythbusters did an episode on fuel economy for cars... Testing fuel consumption with the windows down and with the windows up and air conditioning on... Every test through and through showed putting your windows down was more fuel efficient... AC, feels good, not good on the bottom line! SCIIENNNNCEEEEE!!!!!

Yeah, cept they forgot one thing... In the words of Spock, they're extremely intelligent, but not experienced... I was screaming at the TV the entire episode, and, turns out, many others were as well... Because some of us calculate our miles per gallon every time we fill up... Pretty easy, take the number of miles driven and divide it by the gallons you put into your tank... The result is how many miles per gallon you got...

Some of us... Wondering those very same questions... We've done the tests... We've done the calculations... And we knew something they, having never once given a crap about how many miles per gallon they got, did not know... That YES - driving with your windows down IS more fuel efficient* - That's right! **************************************** - IFFFFFF you're going under 60 miles per hour! At some point, different for every car, wind will start dragging the car down so much with your windows down that in actuality, yes, it may draw a lot of power, and yeah, it just does not make any sense when you first think about it, but it's 100% the truth, once you hit highway speeds it's better to roll up your windows and put on the AC.

And that IS science... It's just doing the right thing, looking at it from all sides.... Not wanting your first opinion to be the right one... Thinking, wow, it would be kind of cool if it turned out AC was better on gas.... It does not make scientific sense... At first... It uses too much energy, using the wind should be better... But the wind will pound that car down at highway speeds...

Mythbusters got it wrong, they got plenty wrong... Still one of the best shows ever, but they got it wrong... So can you, so can I, so can everyone... Humility, we are all best with some of it. And it's the exact same scenario with the Mythbusters and fuel economy when these 19 year olds who never once knew a console without a CD in it.... They hear their parents and retro gaming people talk about the blowing thing and their biting their lips the entire time you're smiling and telling this fun and funny story. It's a GOOD memory that we have and here they are and their minds are getting pissed off... Because it does not make sense... We're essentially spitting into a game... All kinds of crap in our mouth to make it MORE dirty... Oh, and here is this badly designed connector and this lockout chip... Oh yeah! Makes much better sense! - Except we started blowing into the carts after like 3 years... When those 72-pin connectors were still just fine... And how does Nintendo themselves deal with the problem? Something NOBODY ever talks about when discussing this in a historical way... They sell you a game cleaning cart... Clean your games, not with alcohol, that's too cheap, clean your 72-pin connector... Nintendo did not replace many 72-pin connectors back in the day, because they didn't need to. Cleaning did them just fine. That's how the company dealt with it... Pretty telling...

And yeah, Nintendo did not WANT to replace the 72-pin connector - It WAS a bad design - but there's no other way without a redesign of the system... Cleaning did the job, and resulted in zero class action lawsuits... If the 72-pin connector was truly that bad, we all would have had new ones...No, we all would have gotten a FREE SNES because they screwed us over...

The truth is, like most things in life, the answer is in the middle... Yes, 72-pin connector was a bad design, it's falling apart after 30 years... By all means replace it or take it out and rebend the pins... It will help... a little...

But I lived that life... And I have those olds carts... And I got a new 72-pin connector... It did not fix the problem... Because the problem, like it was after 2 years of being out, was simply dirt... We threw rubbing alcohol on it, helped for a few months, did it again and again, blew on it most of the time, and, most of the time, it sure as hell worked! I apologize to any younguns out there that can't comprehend it, all I have to say is I lived it, I know what I'm talking about, and no, this is not fucking Big Foot that we're talking about here... This is not "I saw a second shooter on the grassy knoll!" - We're not dealing with conspiracy theories here, it's not that hard to understand why a dirty cart + a bad design or, in the case with many other systems, just a dirty cart, equals a game not loading... Take dirt out... Clean cart... Put back in... Works... That part they understand... But this fun loving blowing into the cart thing... They don't get it... and they don't understand how to test for it, because they idiots, and they won't reach out to someone older who knows what they dealing with...

They would rather listen to our fun story, that has us with the biggest smile in the world while we're telling it... and go away and tell all their friends and maybe even be stupid enough to confront us face to face, and tell us we don't know what we're talking about...

And you can't do that... Big problem out there in the YouTube (forums and everywhere too) world with how the future is presented. At least these kids had parents that knew... So hopefully their dad sees that stupid opinion piece masking as history and kicks them in the ass for it... But in 100 years, none of us who were there will be around... What gets said then? I'm so worried about that... Generations, based on a fun loving story we tell that makes us smile, might look at all gamers with an NES from 1985-1994 as complete morons... and, maybe they're right, when a gem like the Amiga was available and we didn't care... But you better approach it from that kind of perspective, not because we blew into a cart and suffered from mass disillusions of it working... Okay... I didn't "learn" to blow into it...

In fact... I remember my dad, who, did not like the NES... Trying to play one of the few games he did like... He couldn't get it to work... Brought it to me... I blew into it... Here's my father, who is much older, does know about life, wondering if he can take me back still... Truth be told, you should have seen the look on his face... And he said it... Which, yeah, I'm a kid, he's older, he's got something to teach me... Yeah, he's smart, but not experienced... Here is a man that has no friends with an NES, has, just like me, never been "taught" to blow into the game... Here he is thinking his own spawn is a moron for blowing into a cart... And he put that thing in/out over and over again... he was about to get a screw driver and void the warranty....

He came to me with his problem, I grabbed the game with YEARS of know-how on my 7 year old side... Said no problem, follow me! Blew into it... Put it in... BANG! - His mind was blown... and he immediately turned it off, took out the cart, and put it back in... He didn't get it...

It's not just old people we're talking about, we can all be guilty of arrogance, assuming we know it all... And sadly, we're just way too quick to point to these kinds of stories and give it a Big Foot quality, or, not to get too political, a global warming denier quality, a going to the moon was a hoax quality... The difference between those things and blowing into an NES cart is those things have been looked at over and over again... For years... Because a lot of people did want to believe... And time and again those people are proven wrong by the majority of people and scientists... Now, no scientist gives a shit about the NES... Sorry... No real tests will be conducted because we've got better things to deal with... But if a fare and truly scientific test were done (these videos are laughable with their "scientific research") I'm sorry to disappoint the superior minds out there, but this old guy would be proven right. Blowing into the cart did work... Why? Because SCIENCE! The very thing that makes them think we're stupid!

Even crazy people can make sense from time to time... The people who think we never went to the moon will make a convincing argument about the sensitivity of film, how going through the atmosphere would destroy it, a simple X-Ray will destroy it after all! And, even a history look at it will mention a thousand things those people get wrong, but they forgot about the photography thing... Because they're not photographers and they didn't ask any from back then! And I'll tell you right now why they survived the atmosphere! Because they were using 15 speed film! IF you can even find film in a store these days, it's 400 or 800 speed... So many more times more sensitive to light.,.. Good for low light scenes... Put it near some radiation? You'll mess it up! Those films from the 60's? Nothing will destroy them. Or they'll say there was sooo much light from the sun, any picture would have come out where the moon was shown right, but the astronauts would be in shadow... Well, they themselves personally said they were taught how to use those cameras, how to adjust the aperture/shutter to make sure things looked good.

It's not the topic of this discussion, of course, and I don't mean to derail it, luckily there's not too many of us just yet, so I hope my rant went off in interesting ways nobody has ever seen before... But hey, that's what writing should do... I have almost nothing to say about your post, just that it's good... And, truth be told, even if the people that were registered here were to "add" anything, it would be either "yeah, know all about it, but good stuff!" or "wow, never tried that, cool info, thanks!" - Just short stuff, which is appreciated for anyone thinking of that... But one thing I always hated about most forums was how pissed off some people would get if topics changed, or if something that was already talked about gets another post... Oh, but don't you DARE reply to that very old post, leave it dead even though we don't want new topics like that!

I tend to find it good when I'm able to take a subject and run off in another direction with it... Not completely off rails, but just in a way nobody thought it would go. A good writer can do that to another person, and a good writer can respond that way to other's writings. All of this were things most here would understand and agree with , I'm sure... But I assure everyone out there there are a plenty, probably the majority, of people looking at those blowing into carts and thinking we're nuts... Reaching for science! The great thing about science is it's just our best understanding at the moment... That, unlike, again, not trying to be too political, or in this case, religious, but unlike some beliefs that refuse to update with the times, science takes everything into account. Gravity, pretty much accepted by all, still just a "theory". The theory of gravity... Not the universal truth, the theory. Because science is willing to be wrong... The problem is not all scientists nor all people are willing to do the same thing! Pluto is no longer a planet... That was a "newish" thing for my generation... Even with its discovery in the 1930's it still took time for schools to really talk about it... To teach about the "9" planets as opposed to 8... Pluto is no longer called a planet, because our understanding has changed, and there a thousands of these "pluto-like" things in our solar system and beyond... That's hundreds of new planets for us to memorize unless we adapt. That's science... I hate when people shout the name of science, almost like some would shout the name of God, as authority in a matter, but, just to get my little jabs in at the people I'm sure are not here anyway, just like some point to Jesus, the real Jesus would be tempted to kick many of his loyal followers... Because they don't have a clue...

That's the NES blowing into the cart thing. Which, with Eric's very funny response can be taken in so many ways... Great ways, and bad ways... I was trying to bait you in to make a joke or two and I was impressed you went into them one after another! hell yeah! - It's great we can laugh, and it's fun, but this is the "serious" response to those that wish to go deeper. To think, to wonder... In my eyes the the way those coming into adulthood look at that whole blowing into the cart thing is every bit as dangerous to history as the whole PAL/NTSC Amiga thing is. People, many well meaning... You know, they just forget to look at all sides... And then they refuse to change their thoughts even when facts are all around them...

I care waaaaayyy too much about these things... But I"m a retro nerd, it is kind of "my thing". haha. Danger becomes apparent once those who share your love start believing the 18 year olds... Which, with the NES blowing thing, that's becoming the truth. Just as many who love the Amiga have no idea they're looking at games in a way the artist did not want you to see them. It's one thing when someone who does not care calls you stupid... Plenty of car guys call computer guys idiots, as we do them... and, we may very well be idiots in that other field... But we don't care about their opinions, they lack "experience" in the area we love.

Your article did not mention the blowing thing, why would it? You're focusing on the SNES which was designed better, not something anyone would be trying unless the system is 25 years old... By no means am I criticizing you, or, I'm hopeful, any member... But this is out there now, search-able in the googles! Many others will stumble across it with any luck...

And I hope they will be able to use the advice and clean their games the "right" and long lasting way. But just in case someone out there is reading this in 2030 and is cleaning up some old games, making them like new again... I feel I kind of needed to say yes, there is a way to make these things work like new again, damn carts survive everything... Can't say the same for floppies sadly... Not 3 1/2 inch anyway.... - and who knows, maybe by 2030 our slobber will have made those contacts look quite disgusting, like some of 2016 show in their videos... But, wonderful young soul into these old but great games, I advise all not to think of that blowing into the cart thing, which I'm sure you've read about, make you laugh "at us" too much... We told those stories so you'd laugh "with us", and if you dig deeper than you've done thus far, you'll find the real answer, right there in the middle... Bad design combined with dirt from carts equaled a weird situation where millions of kids, frustrated beyond belief, tried the unthinkable... Tried something even my father would have never tried... and, we got the things to work! In fact, they worked on that method for 20 years! Don't let 72-pin connector talk blind you from Nintendo themselves, who took their crap design as a reason to sell cleaning kits... Because it worked, and if it didn't, history would record the NES and Nintendo in much different ways... Because that would have been a huge set back to them. Bad design does not equal shit design that falls apart in one year. Shit design equals goodbye company! See you! Byyyyeee!

I happen to believe that Nintendo of America went with the right "look" for the NES. A bit stupid in that they called it some kind of home entertainment system - I don't know, anything BUT a game console... ROB, your robotic buddy! -Which, stop giving that thing so much credit, nobody had that stupid thing and didn't do dick for Nintendo... It's weird how people will laugh at millions of people and think we're idiots for blowing into a cart, WHEN IT WORKED - and blindly read WAY more into that stupid robot and act as if that helped Nintendo conquer America... That yeah it was stupid, only 2 games were made, it's a piece of shit... But without that piece of shit making people think of the NES as a real home entertainment thing we may never have gotten out of the "gaming crash" (another topic given way too much thought these days by people who were not there) and gaming as we know it would not exist! -BUllllshshhhh.... You all know... People understanding many people were throwing out crap games for the Atari 2600 in no way resulted in a mass society that was scared of video games... In fact the games became super cheap, more games were probably sold during the "gaming crash" than in all years prior. And games not on an Atari 2600, like a Commodore 64, or Apple II, or DOS, they were being made at the time, in America... Not the big deal it's made out to be... Not from those I've asked about it... I wasn't there... But there was something "fishy" about all those stories online... Really? Just, America tapped out for a couple years? Because of Pacman? ET? Both very good games in their own way... I mean Pacman could have and should have been better, but in terms of many other "classic" 2600 games, Pacman did all you could hope for, simulate it... and impressively done very quickly... ET, just like many Amiga fans dismiss classic American Amiga games and focus on European platformers, ET was a 2600 game that required the manual....WOW! And it was interesting, frustrating, not "great" but not "bad".

But history points to those games... Not cereal companies making terrible games... It's ETs fault! No, middle ground... Many 3rd party bad games were out, greedy 1st party games made to sell in time for Christmas.. Some pissed off consumers who wanted better... Meanwhile the 2600 is already well past it's prime... People went to computers, they went to the arcades, they played pinball... Companies decided a game console was stupid... Look what happened to Atari! Yeah! Where are they now? Bankrupt! That Commodore 64 guy is about to buy them to destroy his own company! REVENGE! Gamers were still buying little Mettell handhelds with LEDs for gameplay... The NES was bold... It came into a market just WAITING to love games again... and Mario, along with Nintendo's own policies to strangle 3rd parties, made sure Nintendo was king for the near future.

But ROB had nothing to do with it. And if Nintendo hadn't come along, someone else would have. And we'd all love games just as much, and you never know... Perhaps the great Mario caused many a bad Mario rip offs to be made for many years to come on many systems... Just like Doom causes many games to rip off one idea to this very day... Okay, it wouldn't be Mario, maybe we'd all be playing Western RPGs.. who knows... It's a big story, a little complicated, but not hard to understand the standard "story" is not quite right.

So thank you, future readers, for being interested in playing old games on real hardware! Shine those suckers up! Make them look new! And if you see any of these old consoles looking yellow... Well, that's crappy plastic, not how they wanted you to see it... If you see old Amiga games and everyone's faces look stretched and fat? Not how they wanted you to see it... Hear about the crazy millions blowing into a game, with their yucky germs all in there? - Millions, don't forget... While it's possible for millions of people to be wrong, sheer numbers begs all those reading to give it a serious look.

People point fingers at Nintendo... Nintendo of America... Who they praise for bringing back gaming... Who they give far more credit to for a stupid robot that nobody liked and parents were not stupid enough to buy... The very same company they will give credit to where its NOT due... They will bash for that connector... I'm of the opinion we all better be thankful it happened just the way it did! Because you never know what could have happened... Rob was stupid, but I know Nintendo was trying... They failed with Rob... They also failed with their gray/white color scheme... and people will point to the NES, praise how they changed it for America, to make it look like a VCR! To convince, to fool, in other words, parents into thinking it was more than a games machine!

God, some of you have very low opinions of your parents, huh? If you think for one second the NES fooled ANYONE into thinking it was anything but a game machine, you're crazy! Kids just wanted to play some games! Like they always did! I kind of dig the NES look, it looks better than the Famicom, to me anyway. But it's crazy to say it was a success partly because it looked like a VCR (NO IT DID NOT!) and then bitch about the 72-pin connector, which made it all possible. I mean Nintendo was trying for that look, utter failure... The NES succeeded despite Nintendo, I would kind of say... They gave plenty of reasons not to give gaming a chance... But then Mario made it all irrelevant. I just thought the NES looked cool, nice sleek design, and very unique, to this day... But I never thought it looked like a VCR and there's no way my parents did either!

People are too quick to look at those in the past and call them stupid... We haven't changed all that much since we've been here... Have not evolved, in scientific terms, too much... The difference in the most intelligent person in the caveman era VS an Eisenstein or Hawking, not too much actually... Hopefully the Hawking of the Cavemen was the first to make fire... But if you put them into today, what makes us smarter is simply knowing more history... If you've seen further than others, it's only because you stepped on the shoulders of very tall men...

That respect for the past, always lacking, not just today... This is not a slap in the face of terrible millennial's... Not really... Old people have been saying the same crap about young people forever... Nothing new... But lessons are never learned, we repeat the same mistakes... To all forming an opinion on gaming history, look deeper, you won't regret it... That's the lesson for those brave souls who kept reading... Thank you.

And... BEFORE you follow the great advice featured in this article... Give it the old college try... Show us what your lips can do... Ladies?! Don't be shy, if your boyfriend can't get that NES game to work, you show him how to do it right! - Because although that was a joke, it's also serious... I have never once seen a video do these "scientific" tests of blowing into a cart in the way I did it, or the way anyone of my friends did it... The way my dad learned to do it... THey "blow" like they're blowing a magic bubble into the air... There is no power there... That is not how we did it... They blow, apologies, like a girl... Which, maybe that's good sometimes for some people, but it's not here! You had to blow with the power of a vacuum cleaner in reverse into that thing. You had to pucker your lips right onto the cart itself! These people also are afraid to physically put their lips on the cart... Perhaps the right "choice" in terms of germs and staying healthy, WRONG choice for testing out if blowing into a cart helps to get it working. Soooo bad, sooo many videos, so wrong!

XD hahahahha.... Annnddd... I'm spent!

User avatar
Detroit, MI, USA

Posted Mon Jun 27, 2016 1:06 am

^ Taking it from light hearted and funny to a tad bit more serious for any interested in reading thoughts on many historical gaming issues not looked at from as many sides as should be done.

In general it focuses on the whole blowing in the old NES cart thing. Which many younger people, often emulating scientific hit shows like Mythbusters, are quite quick to laugh at, poke fun at, and, sadly, go with their gut... Not look deeper... Much like many that love the Amiga refuse to look deeper on the NTSC/PAL thing.

How it's one thing when those outside of that field of interest laugh, we can brush that aside, who cares what they think? But it's another thing all together when those that love what we love make the same mistakes.

When blowing into an NES cart is looked at with the same disdain that those who believe in BIg Foot are looked with there's a problem. Millions blew into the cart, and it worked... Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention in that long story, my dad, who also did not believe blowing into it would work... Wouldn't you know it he learned it might sound crazy, but it worked! And my own father was seen on several occasions blowing into... He learned from his son! Crazy kid! I mean - Someone had to try milk from a cow first, right? How many great meals are out there? We love eggs but we're literally eating a fetus... Who decided to try that first? hahha

Yeah, just a long rant about various issues, gaming crash got in there, ROB the Robot, Atari 2600 ET and Pacman.. Lots of thoughts for those interested in that kind of discussion.

And for any who are not, I understand - Which is why I just wrote this short version for you :) - And the point of it all? Well, just asking for any those thinking about using this nice method to clean their games the right way, the long lasting way, to try out the whole blowing into the cart thing first. You'll clean it right up later on, don't worry... Try it out on them all! But especially if you have that old NES VCR like deck! There are many out there who think we were crazy for doing that, don't be one of them unless you've given it a fair shot!

User avatar
Detroit, MI, USA

Posted Mon Jun 27, 2016 1:39 am

OH! - And I also made clear my "extra" thoughts about the whole clean up thing, written very nicely here by Intric8. - Should get the job done, but I went into what I do after the eraser. That includes using windex with a q-tip, it still gets off some stuff the eraser missed... That's something often spoken of else-ware... Then something I tried out first, as far as I know, I used "plastic" polish to shine it up like new. I used a bunch of them but plastic I just came to like for some reason.

- That part is in no way scientific, but I posed genuine questions about which will end up lasting longer. I feel the eraser, as nice as it is with cleaning, dulls the finish. Not sure if it makes any difference, but I'm happy with how it looks after a nice polish. - haha, wasn't all a joke. So my long rambling also took into account a few topics discussed originally! ha!

Yeah, I've always used the eraser thing, but it never "looked" right. And as stated, I guarantee there's a little more you can do, because windex picks up a lot of crap the eraser left behind. The polish? Just that weird thing that I doubt anyone has ever even thought about... Inside the cart is just metal, not super great, but they all gold plated the ends, because gold, in one of its few practical uses, is a great conductor. How much does it help? I don't know... Lots of Sega Genesis games had no gold plating, cheap bastards!

Hell, maybe someone out there has researched it more than I, they might come here and say it's not gold plated at all! Just paint! Okay, fine, you win, I don't care... Sometimes, it's nice to look good... What does everyone think of my polishing thoughts? Might it help, a little more conductivity? Does nothing? Harms it?

I should really post a pic, they do look nice, what I imagine them to have looked like at first...

By the way... The Genesis? People talk about the Amiga yellowing... Various cheap plastic yellows... It's not the only thing though... The Genesis? Hands down winner in looks during the 16-bit era in my books... It did not look like it does now... Nope! It's still black, painted, so, it's not like it's "yellowing" - not the same issue... But an issue IS there... Plastic dulls so much with age.

Go out to Autozone or wherever you can buy car junk... Buy some plastic polish and soak your Genesis up! All of them! The brand does count, some last MUCH longer than others... I think Mother's is junk personally, only lasts a a couple weeks... Maguires! I recommend that stuff, lasts months!

_ Yeah, I'm talking about cleaning... Frankly I'm horrified of the way some retro gamers treat those old systems! Even if you don't polish it, give that sucker a nice wet towel with soap now and then! You'll enjoy it more!

- I need to work on before/after pics I guess... hahha.... I'm lazy though...

User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:32 am

An engineer I have contact with on Twitter - he rebuilds old arcade boards, among other things, as a hobby - was able to shed a little light for me. In terms of the contacts on the cartridges themselves (speaking about SNES here) they are typically gold plated. It is a thin later that the original metal is dipped into. The original metal underneath is usually copper or nickel. So, if the gold plating becomes worn or is very thin, it actually can be porous and the metal underneath can corrode slightly. This is usually oxidation - nothing you can really do about that other than remove it.

Now, the other point you raised about blowing into a cart - yes, that works. Saliva has water in it, which is conductive. So it can give a little boost sometimes when you blow in there. And it doesn't hurt the gold plating. It only can cause issues over the decades in three ways as far as I can tell: On carts with contacts that aren't gold plated; On carts with contacts where the gold plating has worn off to expose the original metal beneath; If wet enough when the cart is pushed/slammed into the console, the receptacle's contacts (which I don't think are gold plated but are just nickel-based) get hit with small traces of water, which will corrode over time.

I do think that a lot of times the black stuff seen on the gold contacts are from the console side, where the nickel is rubbing off.

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