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.

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