[How To] clean your Retro game cartridges properly [Retro]

So, you've just made it back home from a day prowling the flea markets, and various yard sales around your town. You open the door with the fervor of a barbarian drunk on bloodlust, and rush to your room to spread your loot out before you: Megaman 2, Phantasy Star, Super Mario 3, Crystalis, and some old book of MTG cards you bought up for fifty cents. Foam spills from your mouth as you jam Megaman into your NES and push the power button. The opening sequence plays beautifully... up until the screen distorts and screeches like a demon from the pits of gaming hell. Your bloodlust is now turned, quickly, into a panicked confusion. You scramble to pull out the cartridge and blow into the chip. A dead cricket flies across the room among a cloud of toxic dust. Your cartridges are filthy! But never fear, ye denizens of Slashskill! Ort the Red is here to set you back on your path of destruction and glory. Grab your toolkits and let's get to work!

First let's get what we need:

  1.  A bottle of 91% Isopropyl Alcohol.
  2. A bunch of Q-tips.
  3. a Mr. Clean magic eraser. (I love these things.)
  4. And some canned air if you have any laying around.

A word of Warning though!

IMG_20140812_115327799[1]You have to make absolutely sure that you are using a 91% or higher grade of alchohol. Reason being, is that there are more dilutants in the lower percentages and these dilutants can corrode the contacts on your chip. So, the more alcohol the better!

Now before you go dipping your tips in the alcohol, we need to remove any dust or dead things in the cartridge. Take your canned air and hold it level so that the straw/nozzle is parallel to the floor, and begin the great ousting of the people of dust and try not to freeze your hand off.

With the crickets now removed, we can clean the contacts. Take your q-tips and dunk one in the alcohol. While cleaning these contacts you do not want to "scrub". Scrubbing is bad, or could be. But, it's better to be safe than sorry. Many of these cartridges are upwards of around 20 years old! They need a sponge bath, not a Brillo pad; so to speak. Take the Q-tip and slide it along the chip, rolling it occasionally so you aren't just smearing the grime about. For a really nasty, dirty game this could take up to 10 minutes to complete. But it will play like it's brand new! Unless of course, the pin connector in your NES is bad. Which is a walkthrough for another day.IMG_20140812_115228249[1]

Now that your game plays like new, it's time to make that thing shine like new!
Take the handy dandy Magic Eraser and rip a corner off. Trust me, it's all you'll need. Soak that bad boy in some water and proceed to scrub away the old sharpie names, ketchup stains, or cigarette smoke stains that make your cart look like vomit.

There you have it! Your games are clean, you've raided the medicine cabinet, and the last 40 minutes have been spent. Now you are free to go fight robots, level up your party, save the princess, and resell those Magic cards on Ebay. Now, enough wasting your time here; go enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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