Blowing into NES cartridges

Miss Peach

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I have fond memories of my NES and thought there should be a post of all your NES memories. Remember the awful moment when the cartridge would not work, so you blew in it and it magically started working? I had a bad habit of biting my controller when I got mad at a game. I have no clue why I did this, but my controllers looked like a dog chewed them up! So, share your memories!
 

crunchyg

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I remember some people's NES controller buttons being all mashed in, and there was gooey stuff stuck between plastic parts, but mine were always perfect.
 

EatMeReturns

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First time I played the NES was playing Mario with my older cousin at my grandmother's house when I was super little. It was probably the first console I ever played on. Now, a decade later, I've annexed it in the name of fun and it sits beneath my tv snugly alongside the 64 and gamecube.
 

DwaHow

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I don't have memories of the NES, but I do remember blowing in the Nintendo 64 cartridges.My six year old self probably made them worse with all the spit flying into them.
 

Collin1000

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Does anyone remember where "blow on it" even came from? I know now, that saying is a "80s/90s child" memory - the kids of today have no idea what we mean by that. I was always curious though asto why this fixed it - was it dust or something?
 
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BrianDouglas

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Remember the awful moment when the cartridge would not work, so you blew in it and it magically started working? I had a bad habit of biting my controller when I got mad at a game.
haha, guilty on both counts! Especially blowing cartriges.

And when that wouldn't work, you would push it in just enough to make it hard to push it down into the locked state, that always seemed to work lol!

Memories!
 

Miss Peach

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I have no clue how I knew to blow on the cartridge or why it even worked. I remember secretly staying up all night at my cousin`s house playing Rampage, too. Did anyone have parents that played with them? My dad and I were always gaming and my mom would come along and try, too. She completely failed at gaming!
 

crunchyg

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And when that wouldn't work, you would push it in just enough to make it hard to push it down into the locked state, that always seemed to work lol!
This is correct. Unless your console's connectors were totally messed up, this trick would load the game every time. Blowing in the cartridge was mostly a ritual that didn't really do anything to help load the game. :)
 

Epicfied

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Yes, dust was the main issue. When you blow into the catridges, the dust gets pushed out. Thus, making the game work again, like cleaning off a cd.
However, some of the games that couldn't get "magically" fixed had other issues such as one of the little metal pieces (with the game info on it) missing, etc like a scratch on your cds.
 
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BrianDouglas

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I heard that it was really the humidity of your breath making the connection better for it to actually start, not dust :p
 

nick87

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I remember blowing on the cartridges and playing with my brother. I would almost always be player 2, and he would always destroy me in every game that we played against each other. But it was cool to play alongside him, too, even though I would usually be the first one to lose. My brother was 6 years older than me, so to me he seemed like the greatest video game player ever at the time.
 

Jessi

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You bit the controller!? Lol!!

As for me, in addition to the blowing into the cartridge, another nostalgic point for me was the butterknife. We actually still have a dedicated butter knife that stays in the old NES. It was wedged in between the top of the cartridge and the inside of the system. It would hold it in place so that some of the games would connect correctly and would be playable, ha.
 

Smokey

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I remember blowing into my cartridges. I still do it cuz I still have NES, SNES and Genesis cartridges. The only purpose it serves is getting a little bit of dust out of them. :p As for the sticky controllers? Never had that problem.........hmmm.....
 

AurelioLeo

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I also remember the blowing into cartridge trick that my brother and I would do. It's been a long time since anyone has mention that one to me. When we had a problem with the cartidge not being able to stay down after placing into the system we would place a small wedging stick in there to keep it down. I think that happen due to tapping the top of the system to get it to work like it was an old jukebox.

We all use to do it back in the day and when it was done it would work. My brother and I always did it automatically before we would even start it up the first time.
 
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Jessi

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It was mostly because of dust. The chips inside had to have constant connection inside the console. A little bit of dirt or a slight dent, etc, would cause the game not to work. By blowing into it, you could blow out all the dust and pieces of crap, and hopefully get the game to work.
 

BTCGuru81

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I would argue, if in fact blowing ont he cartidge did anything, it was most likely by moistening the metal teeth on the bottom. This could have fascilitated better conductivity. At least, until the metal rusted and connection was no longer possible. I think it's just as likely it did nothing at all and we really just should have pulled the game out of the NES and put it back in, resituating the teeth in the receiver. That US, spring loaded version was not the most finely tuned piece of equipment either. My brother and I discovered we got better results from actually rubbing the game from side to side while inserted into the system. I'm sure neither of our solutions were especially good for the hardware, but kids will be kids. And it's a great piece of early Nintendo nostalgia.
 

Syldarion

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Everyone had their own way, but the thing is, with how touchy connections were back then, the dust would break the connection between the cartridge and the console, so, as the first reply states, it is simply to remove the blockages in the connection.
 

DrRipley

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Haha I've always wondered about this as well. Not only blowing on cartridges, but every person had a different superstition on how to make a game work. But yeah, blowing on the cartridge is the most popular one. I'm assuming it's because of the dust that collects inside that probably blocks some of the connections.
 
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