As you may or may not know I am hardcore into retro gaming.
While most of the older games I grew up on can be found on most modern day consoles via purchase and downloads, virtual consoles, etc there is something to be said about putting your favorite game cart into a machine and playing.
That being said – time takes its toll on machines and carts.
Recently I finished a huge…HUGE…project for a friend of mine. I cleaned all of her old cart games (NES, SNES, N64, and Sega) and rebuilt a working NES machine for her. Not only that! I restored a few of her favorite games. Check it out!
That’s a lot of games!
Most folks who do this don’t like to share their ‘secrets’ about doing this kind of work but it’s pretty simple. Each game was taken apart to have their cart and boards inspected. The pins of each game were cleaned with Brasso and windex until they sparkled!
You want these cleaned and dried as well as you possibly can. The better the contact the game pins make to the systems pins the less errors you’ll get. If you notice that after cleaning your game and/or you systems pins that it’s still not loading right then keep reading since I’ll talk about that a little later 🙂
So once all the game boards were cleaned I tackled cleaning all of the game carts. Some of the carts were in rough shape requiring a heat gun, goo gone, elbow grease, magic eraser, and in some cases a good soak! Once I got the okay from my friend on which games she wanted a full restoration on – new labels were made as well. A few of the games required donor carts due to breaks, cracks, or the ever painful yellowing.
Super Ghosts and Ghouls – so many stickers! Final Fantasy 3 – really bad front label. Paper Mario – trashed front label. Donkey Kong 3 – yellowing/faded labels.
There are lots of ways to recreate a label for your game. Some prefer the same image as the original while others prefer 100% custom – each collector is different! For the labels created on these carts I printed them onto mailing label sheets via my laser printer, 300dpi, and while my normal process was to take really nice packaging tape to create that shiny surface – Kaitlyn figured out a better way! She took my label sheet and sprayed it (outside so it was well ventilated) with Painter’s Touch 2x Ultra Cover Gloss Clear from Rust-oleum. We had it around the house for other projects and let me tell you….AMAZING. I will NEVER go back to tape.
My friend also sent me 3 non working NES systems to part together a new working machine 🙂
I went through each systems to find out what was wrong with them. Some were cords or motherboards but the most commonly known problem with NES machines are the blinking red light of doom. Usually means the 72pin connector that reads your game carts as gone bad. There are many ways to fix it without purchasing a new connector. You can clean the pins on the 72pin connector and mother board or there is the rather tricky reshaping of the pins.
If none of those work then it’s safe to say your 72pin connector is just shot. This was the case in the 3 connectors from the systems she gave me. $10 and a new 72pin connector later we had a working machine!
The final little bit was an SNES lot from a sale I found. Basically a brand spanking new SNES machine that was beyond beautiful and would be the envy of every collector. I cleaned and tinkered with the guts of that (as well as the controllers) and put it into her collection.
With the consoles I modded the SNES to be able to play Famicon games while I removed the region lock on the NES as well. Either way it was a really fun project!
If YOU have old games/machines/etc that you want working again, restored, customized, or modded then contact me HERE and I’d be more than happy to get you up and running again! A little later I think I’ll add a page to the website about breaking down prices 🙂