Home Gaming Blowing on your cartridges may have actually damaged them

Blowing on your cartridges may have actually damaged them

2 min read

Faster,faster, harder,faster!

Cast your mind back, back to an age where Golden China consoles were known as teevee gamez. You’ve got a new 72-in-1 TV game from your grandparents for your birthday, and you can’t wait to jam that piece of plastic in, and start playing a Rockman stage variant. Except the screen is black. Again and again, so you remove the cartridge, blow it (not like that you perverts), insert back in, and magic! It works. Except doing that, may have hurt your new game, instead of fixing it.

According to Mental Floss, the theory behind blowing into a cartridge was that doing so would remove any dust that had accumulated inside of it, and make it work once again. Except that it wasn’t dust that was glitching up the cartridge, but rather the way consoles such as the NES were designed to interact with them;

Nintendo designed its NES connector using nickel pins bent into a position so that they’d give slightly when a cartridge was inserted, then spring back after it was removed. These pins became less springy after repeated use, which make it hard for them to firmly grasp the game cartridge’s connectors.

So how exactly did a blow-job help fix the cartridge then, enabling gamers to give a vaild reason to ditch Sunday School? Well, simply put, taking it out and putting it back in again, gave the connector pins a chance to align themselves correctly.

As for the blowing, that was actually damaging, as the copper components would degrade over time when moisture from a desperate gamers breath made contact with it. That’s something that Nintendo even warned people about, in the fine print of the manuals that came with it’s consoles:

Do not blow into your Game Paks or systems. The moisture in your breath can corrode and contaminate the pin connectors.


Not that anyone is still playing games with such archaic physical media these days, but still, it’s a fun look back at how we were actually stuffing up our devices up, back then. Although Garth still talks fondly of blowing his cartridges, to this day, while the rest of the gang edges itself closer to the fire escape door.

Last Updated: September 25, 2012

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