Did you ever blow on your game cartridges?

#1 Posted by JCTango (1358 posts) -


#2 Posted by JCTango (1358 posts) -

When I was a kid, we used to play video games on game cartridges, not CD's, DVD's, or downloads :). For some magical reason, whenever we encountered problems in starting a game up, we would take out the cartridge, blow on it (sometimes multiple times), reinsert it, and ta-da, it worked! Now, I never really used this trick on my SNES or Genesis systems, or even my Sega Master System, but the NES carts got a good working almost every time I tried to pop one in.

I've never really understood why this method seemed to work out a lot... it just didn't make sense to me how miniscule amounts of dust/carbon would cause a game cartridge to malfunction. Over the years however, I noticed that some of the games that I'd blow on would need even more blowing in order to work correctly :/... I think the damage that the moisture from blowing on it built up (could you imagine the damage done to the rental cartridges?!).

Did you used to blow on your old gaming cartridges? Did you have any other tricks to get them to work correctly?

#3 Posted by Marcsman (3094 posts) -

Yep since the good old Atari 2600 days.

#4 Posted by Okari (167 posts) -

First I would blow on it, and if that didn't work I would put it under my shirt and blow through my shirt. That worked most of the time, but on those rare occasions, I would blow and then just slam it into the SNES. Worked every time.

#5 Posted by SadPatrol (499 posts) -

duh

#6 Posted by mac_n_nina (272 posts) -

I would blow on it and then slam it down.

#7 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5137 posts) -

Yup, never owned a NES though.

#8 Posted by thellama042 (106 posts) -

Hell, I still blow on CDs/DVDs when they don't work lol. "Is that dust? *blows* That should do it."

#9 Posted by matthias2437 (985 posts) -

Obviously I did, I wanted it to work. Had to blow in the cartridge 4 times, blow in the console twice, put in the game, start the system without the game pushed down, turn off, push down game, turn on. Worked every time.

#10 Posted by Koobasta (52 posts) -

And if that didn't work, I'd put rubbing alcohol on a q-tip and clean the surfaces. I don't know which of my silly friends suggested this, but it seemed to work at the time. Also did the trick when the cartridge was already inserted into the NES, I'd tap it so that it goes up and down (since it's still a little loose even inserted) and turn the system off/on when a particular game was giving me problems.

#11 Posted by SmiteOfHand (83 posts) -

The original NES model (NES-001) had a chip that would detect and not play illegitimate cartridges to try and prevent bootlegs and non-licensed carts from being used. Tengen and other companies found ways around it, however a flaw of the chip is from time to time it would incorrectly detect a valid cartridge as invalid and refuse to play the game. Made worse if the cartridge was dirty, hence the cleaning improving the chance of it working. By taking the cartridge out, blowing, and putting it back in you would reseat where the pins are and take another shot at the chip, hopefully this time making it actually work. The blowing step did absolutely nothing except deposit some saliva in and on the cart. The top-loader (NES-101) either had this chip removed entirely or was much better designed (I can't recall) as the problem never occurs on it.

Sorry to crush your nostalgia.

#12 Posted by fugie7 (1105 posts) -

of course i did. it's to get all the dust of out it. to make it work.

#13 Posted by Hunter5024 (5507 posts) -

Dragged my n64 out of the garage the other day so I could play some Donkey Kong 64. Tried turning it on four times and it wouldn't work. Then I remembered the old trick and finally got it going. It was awesome.

#14 Posted by TheHumanDove (2499 posts) -

Yes. Because...you had to.

#15 Posted by MrKlorox (11198 posts) -

How else are you gonna get NES games to work?

#16 Posted by MightyDuck (1490 posts) -

Yep! Blew into my NES and Genesis cartridges all the time to get them to work.

#17 Posted by Jrinswand (1695 posts) -

Why make this a poll? There's only one conceivable answer.

#18 Posted by Patman99 (1557 posts) -

@mac_n_nina said:

I would blow on it and then slam it down.

Yeah! I would do that and then always have this weird ritual on how to actually push down the cart and close the lid. I swear every time I did not follow my patented 42 point inspection, the damn game wouldn't play.

Online
#19 Posted by SmiteOfHand (83 posts) -

Goddamnit. I see drudging this topic back up in an attempt to inform was a huge mistake.

#20 Posted by Zajtalan (1163 posts) -

uhhhh , who didn't?

#21 Posted by zombiepenguin9 (526 posts) -

I actually had a cleaning kit with different brushes for the different sized carts, with cleaning solution, etc. Probably still have that somewhere, actually.

#22 Posted by Korolev (1694 posts) -

Everyone who played games in the early 90s did. Cartridges would get dusty, especially since we never put them back in the box, but just left them lying in the drawers. Blowing into the cartridge would get the dust out - right? Isn't that how that works?

#23 Edited by falserelic (5277 posts) -

I hit no by accident. For a second I thought the title said blow up game cartridges. But yes I use to blow out the sega genesis cartridges.

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#24 Posted by JCTango (1358 posts) -

@SmiteOfHand said:

The original NES model (NES-001) had a chip that would detect and not play illegitimate cartridges to try and prevent bootlegs and non-licensed carts from being used. Tengen and other companies found ways around it, however a flaw of the chip is from time to time it would incorrectly detect a valid cartridge as invalid and refuse to play the game. Made worse if the cartridge was dirty, hence the cleaning improving the chance of it working. By taking the cartridge out, blowing, and putting it back in you would reseat where the pins are and take another shot at the chip, hopefully this time making it actually work. The blowing step did absolutely nothing except deposit some saliva in and on the cart. The top-loader (NES-101) either had this chip removed entirely or was much better designed (I can't recall) as the problem never occurs on it.

Sorry to crush your nostalgia.

This actually makes sense to me. When my friend first did that to his NES carts, I was perplexed as to why doing it would get the game to work... the saliva stuff didn't help either. At home I hardly blew on the carts unless I felt like I really had to. Instead I'd sometimes put the cart in without pushing it all the way in, and it would work.

My other cart systems, like the Genesis, SNES, and SMS didn't need this blowing procedure.

#25 Edited by AndrewB (7439 posts) -

They said not to, but it was the only thing that worked for a kid without access to rubbing alcohol to clean the contacts.

I also bought one of those stupid NES cleaning carts as a gullible kid.

There was literally no way to play an older game without doing so.

#26 Posted by kmdrkul (3476 posts) -

@mac_n_nina said:

I would blow on it and then slam it down.

lmao, same here. Although outside the video game cartridge context, that phrase just sounds... odd.

#27 Posted by awadnin (275 posts) -

Who didn't :)

#28 Edited by Soapy86 (2619 posts) -

@thellama042 said:

Hell, I still blow on CDs/DVDs when they don't work lol. "Is that dust? *blows* That should do it."

Yeeep. I even blow on my disks before I put them in. Probably just out of a very long habit I guess.

#29 Posted by Wong_Fei_Hung (642 posts) -

Never, always used a cotton bud.

27th anniversary today.

#30 Posted by RenMcKormack (1071 posts) -

My friend's older brother said that you could put a NES tape in a plastic bag and run up and down the stairs with it to get it to work....we were suckers.

#31 Posted by MyNiceIceLife (612 posts) -

it was a requirement wasn't it?

#32 Posted by Kerned (1169 posts) -

Obviously! And I blow in my DVDs and Blue-rays when they don't work, too.

#33 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

I only blew on a NES cartridge once. Let's just say I was sitting close to the TV and ExciteBike inexplicably lived up to its name...

#34 Posted by Cyrus_Saren (529 posts) -

Of course. Even slammed the cartridge in to make it work because doing that made them start a lot quicker. At least, as a kid, I thought that it made them start quicker.

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