Cleaning NES/Super NES/Genesis/Atari Games
I clean every single new NES game I purchase. Call it OCD, call it collectoritis, call it insane, but damn it there’s nothing like bringing some of these games back to life after years of dormancy.
After years of research and trial and error, I believe I have found the perfect method to cleaning my games. Using this method, I’ve revived games that would never load again.
I decided to document a recent cleaning occasion to show you folks how I like to clean up these titles.
I can’t recall which game this was, but I knew I had to take a few photos after I popped it open.
Note the corrosion on the right side of the connectors. Yuck. Someone played this one hard.
Here’s a close up:
Ugh. Needless to say, this game has seen better days.
A quick note about connector corrosion: If you blew on your NES games when you were a kid, you caused this corrosion. Yes, it’s all your fault. And mine, too.
The corrosion comes from the condensation on your breath. That condensation not only helped the connectors to make a better connection with the system, but also causes the corrosion and rusting you see.
Forgive the frolic and detour there, but it’s a necessary explanation as to why you shouldn’t bother blowing on your cartridges anymore.
At any rate, what you’re looking to purchase is this stuff:
That’s Glass Cook Top Cleaner, 91 percent alcohol, and a 3.8mm security bit used to crack open NES games.
Why Glass Cook Top Cleaner? Well, since the NES boards are made of silicone and silicone is effectively glass, you can use this stuff without harming your games. It also cleans these games better than ANY method I’ve used before.
To start, obviously crack open your game and pull out the board. Using the Glass Cook Top Cleaner, spread an even coat on the connectors like this:
Now, don’t let this sit for too long. You’ll want to wipe it down rather quickly as it can dry on there.
After wiping the cleaner off, dab a rag into your alcohol and wipe down the connectors to make sure all the cleaner is completely removed.
After you’re done, your connectors will look just like they did when you removed the game from the box.
Here’s the after:
Remember what the right side of this board looked like? All corroded and nasty? Well, no longer:
I know you’re probably wondering if this is a safe method. Well, as someone who has used this method to clean up 356 titles, I have had ZERO issues with the games working — even months or years after cleaning them using the cleaner.
After the thorough cleaning, your games will most likely play as soon as you stick it in your console. If not, crack it open again and give it a good rubdown with more alcohol and wipe it off before it dries.
Also, this method works with any connector-based video games. I’ve had success with Atari games, Genesis games, and Super Nintendo games.
Hope this helps and happy hunting!