Jims Blog

Saving Cartridge Games

Home > Blog > Saving Cartridge Games

This is something I’ve wanted to talk about for some time now but haven’t had the equipment to actually go through the process until this week when my new set of gamebit screwdrivers arrived with the IPA (isopropanol).

As a collector of video games there are a few things that really upset me, the one being when someone has clearly not taken care of their games, now I know games are primarily bought for children and they just don’t give a fuck but these things cost serious money, I mean a game for the PS4 will cost you around £50 so to then find it with scratches all over the disk and sticky smudges, ugh just writing about it winds me up. 

Other things I’ve seen are game manuals ripped to make roaches… seriously, I had one game where the owner had coloured the entire case in with red marker pen, others where they had burned the Playstation badge off the case, carts with missing labels, honestly I could rant all day about this but the purpose of this post was to talk about how you can save some of the damaged cartridge games you pick up using just some IPA 90%+ (500ml of this will cost around £5), some cotton buds (£1) and some gamebit screwdrivers (£5).

While it may seem like £11 is a lot of money to save a cartridge game it is worth noting that you’ll have the IPA for quite some time as a little goes a long way and likewise the gamebit screwdrivers are yours forever (and are really useful for checking games for fakes).  So the only really thing your going to burn through here are cotton buds.

This is the game I cleaned using the method below, before I cleaned it, it would crash out when using the top loaded cartridge, afterwards it works perfectly.

To start all you need to do is take your Cartridge apart, I’d recommend doing this on a clear table to make sure you don’t lose anything. Once apart you should see the circuit board, now you should be careful here not to touch any of the components on the board, while it shouldn’t cause any problems you’re better safe that sorry.

When looking over the board make sure that there isn’t any build up of dust inside the cartridge, there usually isn’t as they tend to be pretty well sealed and only the contacts are exposed outside of the housing but again if there is anything of concern a quick blast with some compressed air should do the trick.

Next we need to take a look over the contacts, you’ll see some ware and tear here from the constant placing in and out of the console, what you may also see however is rust! and a build up of dirt.  Rust typically comes from people blowing into the cartridge as for years this is how we got our games to work, unfortunately at the time we didn’t consider that little bits of spittle came with the air we were blowing which stuck the contacts and caused damage over time.

Cleaning both of this however is simple, take your cotton bud and dip it into some IPA and gently get to work cleaning the contacts, once your cotton tip is done for you should dry it off using another/the other end of the cotton bud, ensuring that you leave it completely dry, repeat until you are happy and you’ve done both sides of the contacts and that’s it. Put the game back together and enjoy some retro fun.

Gaming Pickups December 9th

Home > Blog > Gaming Pickups December 9th

What a week, this week at work we launched 2 applications into each of the Google and Apple app stores and the bedlam that ensued has really kept me busy, even Saturday when I’d normally hit the charity and pawn shops looking for new games I was dealing with problems and didn’t actually get to look for any games.  That being said I did get 1 game which my mum kindly picked up for me while she was out shopping.

I have to admit with this I really wasn’t interested when she said I have a game for you, it’s star wars the clone wars.  My response was pretty much “Oh thanks, I don’t have that one.” but when I collected it I saw upon the box the words “Lightsaber Duels” and hope was rekindled. 

I’ve been impatiently waiting for Beatsaber to come to PSVR so I can live out my dream of waving a lightsaber around like a lunatic but could this tide me over until I can buy it… The answer was a resounding no, the controls are clunky and it just doesn’t feel right.

Don’t get me wrong when I was playing it I was like a kid at Christmas, making my own lightsaber noises swinging my Wii-mote around telling Obi-Wan I am the chosen one before hacking the shit out of him but the game just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Robin Hood (2018)

Home > Blog > Robin Hood (2018)

I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect much from this, moreover I didn’t even know it existed until Chris suggested it as something we could watch. Robin Hood is one of those stories which just keeps getting remade and remade and remade.

We arrived a couple of minutes into the film as we (I) overestimated how much time we could spend in the pub pre-film however I don’t think we missed too much and easily got into the flow of the film.

The film follows our hero, Robin of Loxley who is sent off to war so the sheriff of Nottingham can lay claims to his belongings to fund the war machine.  While away at war Robin is injured and comes back to find his home ransacked, his partner moved on and with another man and the people around him downtrodden by the sheriff and his men.

Robin joins forces with little John and starts to steal from the rich to give to the poor as the story goes, where it differs from past tales I have read/seen is in Robin taking on an almost Batman/Bruce Wayne duel identity where he hobnobs with the sheriff by day as Robin of Loxley and by night he dons the hood and becomes Robin the Hood. 

I don’t really want to go into too much detail beyond this as to do so would spoil what little story is in there,  Taron Egerton just didn’t work for me, all I could see is the scally from the Kingsmen movies and Jamie Fox wasn’t all that great either.  The clothing that they wore in the films felt way too modern with leather trench coats, fitted suits and other more modern clothing and don’t get me started on the use of pyrotechnics in a horse chase…

Not a film I’d recommend and had I paid more than £2.50 for it I’d probably want my money back.

Pokemon Let’s go Pikachu

Home > Blog > Pokemon Let’s go Pikachu

Over the past few months I’ve found myself getting more and more into playing games on my Nintendo Switch.  In itself this is quite odd because I bought it over a year ago and haven’t really played it since getting 90% of the way through the main story line on Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but of late I’ve bought around 20 games and I’ll be honest, I am loving the Switch.

Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu was a bit of an impulse buy for me, I’d heard relatively little about it but had been told it was a remake of the original Red/Blue/Yellow games but with much better interface and with lots of learnings they’d taken from following generations making this potentially the greatest Pokemon game ever.

In my opinion this is one of my favourite Pokemon games ever, the only real problem I had with the game, and still do to some extent, is the removal of the battle system when you encounter Pokemon in the wild.  This was a huge disappointment to me and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d considered selling it as soon as I encountered my first few wild Pokemon, especially as I didn’t actually know about the changes to the encounter system.  Thankfully I stuck with it because as I fought my first trainer things started to feel a lot like Pokemon again and over time I came to enjoy the challenge tracking the little blighters and in timing my throw so it was “Excellent” .

Thinking back over my time playing it this past week or two I think a good part of the enjoyment was in the familiarity of the Pokemon too, there are over 800 Pokemon now (I think) and then there are some which have had touch ups to new Alloah forms, but the original 150 have a special place in my heart. 

My favourite change to the game, second to none, is the fact that now as you wander through the world of Pokemon you can actually see the Pokemon wander around in the field before you encounter, and try to capture them. This for me is a huge quality of life improvement that really helped me complete the Pokedex. 

The next change I really enjoyed was the removal of HM’s, for those of you that don’t know HM’s (Hidden Machines) are skills which you get in the game which allow you to access new content i.e. Surf would allow you to travel on water so you could get to Islands or encounter water Pokemon, these are still in the game in a fashion but rather than having to teach them to a Pokemon in your party, Pikachu learns them and they don’t take up a skill slot like they did in previous games.  What this meant for me, and I am guessing for a lot of players, is that you no longer need to have a HM Pokemon in your party, freeing you up to have 6 battle worth Pokemon.

There are a lot of other really enjoyable changes to the game too, from being able to travel with a pokemon next to you and it actually being the right size to the bike and rod being removed from the game and instead fast travelling on the larger Pokemon like Snorlax, these are just a couple of the features/enhancements that really stand out to me.  

As for the downsides I really only have two, the first of which is with the capture system.  While you do get used to the system over time it can be infuriating if you are chaining captures to get a genuine competitive Pokemon with amazing IV’s (these are coveted for their stats making them better than the average Pokemon). Typically in my experience it will go one of a couple of ways, either you will spend an hour running round capturing your Pikachu’s and you’ll get a combo of 40-50 captures then you’ll encounter one little bastard who just won’t get in the Pokeball and before you know it your combo is dead and you have to start again.

The second issue I have is the pay wall for the pokeball plus accessory, I completely understand the fact that this is partially because the R&D costs for making it were quite high, and it’s probably a complex piece of hardware but in putting Mew in the pokeball plus Gamefreak/Nintendo have made it so you must pay for the pokeball if you want Mew and worse if you’re a completionist then you will absolutely need a Mew as there is a Mew master trainer at the end of the game which you have to beat with Mew in your party.

There are a couple of other minor issues I have with the game especially your partner Pokemon, Pikachu in my case, learning some really epic moves which completely overpower it to the point that you have an electric Pokemon with water and flying attacks which deal great damage or the degradation of the trade system where you can’t easily trade as you could on the 3DS but all that said it still is one of my favourite games on the console and possibly on any console I’ve played this year.

I think I’ve rambled on enough with this post, so to bring it to a close I’d like to recommend that anyone who is on the fence about getting this game go out and get it, it really is a lot of fun and before you know it you’ll be a Pokemon master.

Game Pickups December 1st

Home > Blog > Game Pickups December 1st

Continuing from last weeks post I’ve been out on the hunt for new games again this week and while I wasn’t as lucky as I’d have hoped in locating games my cousin came through and sold me some of his childhood collection as he was looking to have a clear out. 

First up is a bunch of Playstation 1 games, I got these on Gumtree around 4 weeks ago however it took forever for them to arrive as the shop where they were posted from sat on them for 2 weeks while their DPD machine was broken.

I have to admit I am really pleased with these as there are two games in here which I loved growing up, Dynasty Warriors and Everybody’s Golf but there are a couple in there that I am also looking forward to trying in Judge Dredd and The Fifth Element. The latter is one of my favourite films of all time so I am probably going to be sorely disappointed by the game.  Judge Dredd again I enjoyed the original movie (the one with Sly Stalone).

Next up we have the games I managed to pick up this week at the charity shops, there isn’t anything amazing here in my opinion although I am intrigued about Bust-A-Move Ghost, I do enjoy Bust-A-Move games but I am wondering what the ghost part relates to, is the main character dead or helping the dead in some way. 

Next up we have some more Playstation games, this time for the PS2. Another big thank you to my cousin here as he donated all of these to my collection. I am not a big horror fan but the story of Fahrenheit sounds like it could be really fun.  

Here is the collection of Game Gears  my cousin sold me, unfortunately one of the machines doesn’t work, another of them has some really bad deformation to the rear of the case (I suspect that it has melted on a radiator) and the final one has a terrible screen which has to be viewed at an odd angle.

I think I am going to pick up some game bit drivers a re-case the melted one with the broken ones case, and I’ll take a look over the disassembly instructions and if it isn’t too complex may try to move the LCD from the broken one to the one which has a rubbish screen.

Finally I picked up the Amiibo Festival game for the Wii U, this was something that Argos were selling off for £3 on eBay, I know that this game is really detested but for £3 you can’t really complain.

I did also manage to pick up a couple of additional consoles, a 360 and a Game Cube, I’ve had games for these for a while but not had the consoles. I am particularly looking forward to using the Game Cube as I picked up Donkey Konga a while ago and I hear it was really good.

Game Pickups November

Home > Blog > Game Pickups November

Recently I’ve been falling down the You Tube rabbit hole and watching a lot of videos from game collectors talking about their collections and how to get started, what hardware exists and some guides to rarity. If you’re interested I’ll put some links at the bottom to a couple of my favourites.

One of the channels features videos showing games which they’ve recently picked up which has inspired me to do the same as I do go out every week looking for games when I take my mum and niece shopping.

First up is a set of PS2 games which I was lucky enough to find in a charity shop for just £3. Now don’t get me wrong the games themselves aren’t that great however there are a couple of good games in Finding Nemo and The Incredibles.   I already own The rise of the underminer which is the follow up to The Incredibles so picking up the first game was a win for me.

I’ve not played any of the other games before and to be honest a couple are just going to go into the collection never to be played as I am not a fan of football and first person shooters but I am interested in trying out Splashdown as it’s an Atari game, who tend to knock out pretty good games, and I tend to enjoy water racing games like Rapid Racer on the PS1.


A few more games here for the Playstation consoles here, nothing really amazing here apart from Spider-man which I was holding out for when it was released as I expected it to drop in price quite quickly as most popular games tend to. I picked this up on a black Friday deal for just £29 which I believe is a steal. I really am looking forward to playing this as I like superhero games and the last Spider-Man game I played (Shattered Dimensions) was exceptional.

Next I found some original XBOX games, unfortunately I don’t actually own an XBOX at the moment so these will go straight into storage but I am hopeful that I will pick one up at some point.  The big issue that I have with getting a console here is that they aren’t really about for a good price because they were modable to run XBMC and massive collections of games so when they do come up for a good price they tend to get snapped up so that someone can mod them and flip them for a good profit.

A couple of random other console finds here Boogie and Weakest link were nice and cheap, I already owned The Weakest Link but the one I found was in a really good case which I can swap for one of my less good cases but it also had a preowned paper disc under the game that I have never seen before, this was an advert from Game letting people know they could trade in their games. 

Shante and the Switch Pro controller were again black Friday deals which I couldn’t resist.

Bonus item, I paid more that I would have liked for this, not because it wasn’t worth it but I am storing my games on a bookcase and this takes up a lot of room but it is a throw back to my younger days where you would store your games in something like this to keep them from being damaged.

eBay Follow Up

Home > Blog > eBay Follow Up

Not had chance to post but the game I sold and accepted the return on has arrived back to me. When it landed I was eager to get this tested and contested with eBay, so much so I had played my own copy so I could power through and prove it worked…

Unfortunately however the game arrived back smashed. I don’t think I can put into words how angry this made me.

I’ve taken this up with eBay and they are investigating but have refunded the buyer and me as I can no longer sell the item.

Below are the pictures of what came back to me…

PlayStation mini thoughts

Home > Blog > PlayStation mini thoughts

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, my PC blew up, literally smoke billowing out of thee back, and as such I’ve been without the means I’d usually use to post.

So the mini

As most people who know me I am a bit of a gamer and an amateur collector of video games and hardware, with a focus on the PS1 which was the big computer of my youth. The collection I currently have, which while it’s no t massive, is quite substantial (320 original PAL games) and as such I feel that I am well placed to discuss the device.

Honestly I don’t have problem with the PS mini or infact any mini console, I’ve played and owned a number of them. As a collector of games this could go one of a few ways in my opinion.

Firstly and most likely is that it will have little to no impact on me/us, the minis will appeal to a different demographic, the people buying these are not the people buying retro games.

Next it could be a good thing, people who buy this will sell their retro games or they will remember they have them and decided that they should sell them, especially as the chances are that the unit will have a HDMI port which the old console don’t, at best you have a RGB/scary but you’ll likely have an RF cable.

Lastly it could be a bad thing, people who buy this will sell their retro games or they will remember they have them and decided that they should sell them, yes this is the same a the last point but when people sell their collections they could drive the prices down (yay) or more likely up (boo).

Value

Finally let’s look at the value, a second hand PS1 will cost you no more than £10 of your English pounds, anything more and you’re being had over, I have 6 I can’t sell at £10 each.

Next the games:

  • Battle Arena Toshinden (£2)
  • Cool Boarders 2 (£2)
  • Destruction Derby (£5)
  • Final Fantasy VII (£8)
  • Grand Theft Auto (£4)
  • Intelligent Qube (£20 – need to research this more as it seems overpriced)
  • Jumping Flash! (£10)
  • Metal Gear Solid (£10)
  • Mr. Driller (£20)
  • Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee (£8)
  • Rayman (£3)
  • Resident Evil Director’s Cut (£16)
  • Revelations: Persona (£90 – first time PAL release)
  • Ridge Racer Type 4 (£4)
  • Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo (£15)
  • Syphon Filter (£4)
  • Tekken 3 (£5)
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six (£2)
  • Twisted Metal (£30)
  • Wild Arms (£15)

So is this good value for money, absolutely. The games above easily out value the price (my prices are based on what people have actually paid on eBay in the past week-month) of £90 as well as the opportunity to play Persona which never made it to the UK.

Fucking eBay

Home > Blog > Fucking eBay

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away… I used to sell things on eBay, not much mind you but occasionally I’d have something I thought was valuable and so I’d stick it on eBay and it would sell for like £2 and I’d be gutted mostly as it cost me more than £2 to sell the thing with eBay fees, Paypal fees, postage and packing etc etc. 

As a result sometime in the early 2000’s I stopped selling things on eBay and instead resorted to car boots, The Loot and more recently Gumtree (yes I know eBay own them) and Shpock.  Recently however I’ve been hearing good things about eBay and the fact that there is a real market there to sell to so I decided that all my duplicate PS1 games could go on eBay and I’d make some of the money I’ve been spending like a boss back.

I think it would be best to start this tale of woe/rant of pure rage at the beginning. I recently bought about 30 PS1 games on eBay in various bundles as there were a handful of games within the bundles my own collection was missing. 

When the games arrived the first thing I did was to evaluate the games and to be honest they were all in poor – fair condition however the ones I needed were tested (loaded in a PS1) and added to my collection and the ones which weren’t were cleaned, tested (loaded in a PS1, new game started, played for 5+ mins and a save game created and loaded). I call this out because if I am going to sell something I make dam sure that it works whereas for my collection I just care that the thing loads, I’ll eventually play it properly or I won’t, I’ve over 300 games in my collection and if I continue to go for the complete set I’ll have 2000+ in the end and their just isn’t the time for that.

Anyway, I put one of these games on eBay and list it as acceptable condition based on the definition:

Acceptable: a video or DVD with extensive external signs of wear, but one that continues to play perfectly. The box or DVD case might be damaged and the notes or other inclusions might be marked (but remain complete and legible), or one or more of these items might be missing. The seller must note any missing items in the listing comments.

So I listed 20 games before I went on holiday and had them all enveloped up with someone to post them while I was away.  When one would sell I’d get them to post it to the person and everything was going so well, in fact it was going better than well, I’ve sold a dozen games and so I loaded a couple more up to sell them on too.  That however is where everything turned sour, 
one of those bundles contained a game I already owned, Duke Nukem. The person selling them was open and honest in saying they hadn’t checked they games but they were assuming they all worked and post testing the game I could confirm it worked fine.

This game sold for £5 + £1.40 postage, not a great deal but given I paid £13.50 for the bundle the sale of this game would cover the lions share of the bundle and I’d got 3 games in the bundle for my own collection, happy days! or so I thought..

Within a day of me posting the game to the buyer the communications started.

Hi, I’m not particularly impressed, there’s no mention of the hinges being snapped off.

Now I took this on the chin because honestly I hadn’t put it in the listing I had expected the acceptable description combined with the fact that the game is 21 years old to cover this however I apologised and explained that I had described it as acceptable and what was meant by that.

While that maybe the definition of acceptable, it has not been listed following the guide lines of the term “used”. For the category video games the following is the definition.

“An item that has been previously used.  See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections.”

Well I guess that was me told, so again I apologised and bit back the sharper reply that I had in mind, this was then followed by the following message.

I have tested it today and I can safely say you did not test this game. It does not play. Seriously not impressed.

This I seriously take offence to, I know for a fact that this game worked as I spent a little too much time running round the game looking for the pole dancers. This was the straw that broke the camels back, I was only into this sale for £5 and it just wasn’t worth the noise, so I contacted the buyer and offered a refund, I just couldn’t give a flying one anymore.

The refund was submitted today by the buyer and get this for a crock of shit, the buyer is now claiming delamination (disc rot) of the data on the disc. Delamination is where the discs data becomes compromised due to damage to the top of the disc where the data is stored. You can see delamination on a CD/DVD by holding it up to an extremely strong light source, where there is delamination the light will penetrate the disc and in most cases it will appear as pin points of light, what this clown pointed to as delamination was a fingerprint.

So now not only do I have to refund the game price and the postage but a load of other costs too, please stick with me here this is what really gets my back up.

I sold the game for £6.40 all in, I spent £1.40 of that to post it meaning £5.00 in my pocket. Now I have to pay the buyer back £6.40 so that leaves me £1.40 in the red, but unfortunately though it doesn’t stop there because having spoken to eBay today about this I also have to pay for the buyer to return it to me which eBay will, kindly, facilitate for just £3.05 leaving me now £4.45 in debt, but wait the good news doesn’t stop there! Yep there’s the eBay final value fee too, £0.65 to be precise so after all is said and done I will have sold the game, and received it back and paid £5.10 for the privilege.

Fuck eBay!

So what lessons did I learn that you can take away from this experience…

  1. Ensure that your listing has a definition of the condition, all mine now have the above definition lest I have this problem again.
  2. Create a returns policy, sure it wouldn’t have helped me in this situation as under eBay rules if the item is deemed faulty then it is your responsibility as the seller to pay to get it back
  3. Be aware that if the thing you’re selling costs less than £5 then you’re going to lose money on the return and it may even be worth just telling the person to keep the thing.
  4. Fuck eBay and fuck people too.

Johnny English Strikes Again (2018)

Home > Blog > Johnny English Strikes Again (2018)

I have to say as much as I didn’t want to watch this film I kind of did want to see it. I have never really considered myself a fan of Rowen Atkinson however the film itself looked like it could have been good fun. 

The premise of the film is fairly straightforward, there has been a compromise and all active MI7 agents have been compromised. With no-one to turn to they have to find a retired agent who can track down the evil mastermind and stop them before their scheme comes to fruition.

The film itself I quite enjoyed, not as much as the group sat behind me mind you, but it was OK.  In a way you know what you are going to get with this sort of film, and it didn’t let me down, there was the usual physical, slapstick humor with jokes which were at time borderline painful but there was nothing really offensive in there and it felt like it would be accessible to a younger audience.

Overall I’d give this 3/5 just for Atkinson dancing.