Intro To: Retro Game Maintenance

Here at Afterlife, we’re building an extensive collection of retro game consoles and retro games. With older cartridge based systems like the NES, SNES, and Nintendo 64, you get the true retro experience, complete with bugs and crashes. If you grew up in the 90s then you probably solved a lot of your video game problems by blowing in the cartridge (I know I did). While, in many cases, this would remove enough dust to solve any immediate connection issues, it had the unfortunate side-effect of degrading the contacts over time. With our collection of retro games growing, we’ve had to take maintenance of our old systems to the next level. Proper care for old systems isn’t too difficult and uses some readily available tools! Read on to learn the basics of retro game maintenance!

Your arsenal of tools consists primarily of 2 items: a bottle of isopropyl alcohol and a pack of cotton swabs (both are available at most pharmacies). More often than not, the problems plaguing older games are caused by a buildup of dust and dirt (especially games that have been sitting in a basement). When one of our cartridges isn’t displaying properly, we usually just give the connection a good scrubbing and upon connecting it to the console, our problems are solved!

Cleaning 1

In some cases, a screwdriver is required – namely when maintaining consoles and controllers. The old “toaster style” NESs are easiest to clean by first removing the outer shell, and then cleaning the port where the cartridges connect.

Cleaning 2

Cleaning 3

Most controller issues can be solved in the same way, by removing the outer shell and cleaning everything up with isopropyl alcohol. Sticky or unmoving  buttons are a major issue with older controllers, one which is easily solved with a good cleaning.

Cleaning 4

So there you have it, no complicated tools or wiring required – just a thorough  cleaning with household products.