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Did Blowing Into Nintendo Cartridges Really Help?

Anyone old enough to remember playing cartridge-based games like those that came with the Nintendo Entertainment System or its successors certainly remembers how blowing across the cartridge opening always seemed to help a stubborn game load–but did blowing on them really help?

Mental Floss shares the results of their fact finding mission, a mission that included researching the connection mechanism in the NES, talking to Frank Viturello (who conducted an informal study on the effects of moisture on cartridge connectors), and otherwise delving into the history of the phenomenon. The most interesting part of the analysis, by far, is their explanation of how blowing on the cartridge didn’t do anything but the ritual of removing the cartridge to blow on it did. Hit up the link below for the full story.

Did Blowing into Nintendo Cartridges Really Help? [Mental Floss]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/24/12

Comments (6)

  1. Murphy

    In the breath there is water vapour and water increases conductivity, so maybe it could help in the short run, but for longer period it could do more damage than fix. The best would be to use the technical alcohol to clean the connection pins.

  2. Lee

    We had an old NES that we had to put a rock in to get the game to make contact.
    I still have a Nintendo 64 that I, up until very recently, played on a daily basis (now I play it weekly because I’m at college now). Sometimes we do still have to take the cartridge out and re-insert it to get it to work, but we don’t usually blow on it (although we do if it doesn’t work a few times after re-inserting).

  3. clamo

    the solution to getting the old NES systems to work correctly was/is to replace the cartridge connector in side the system. to do this you need to use a security bit driver and the replacement part is around $10+, its a black adapter that allows you to connect the games to the pcb of the game system. but removing ANY game cart from the system OR just moving the game a bit wile the power was on would mess this piece up and still to this day will. but yes blowing in to the cartridge is the free solution but not the best. the nes that was redesigned latter on in the early 90′s solved this problem completely but nintendo made sure they were hard to get.

  4. AC

    LIES. ALL LIES.

  5. itstud

    the subject of blowing on nitinow cartartges stems from face that it is dust you adn use scre w driver and take apart and clean terminals withan eraser works did many times but blowing in itself does noting but the dust does

  6. rshewmaker

    A good ‘Fonz’ slap to the top of the box after the initial blow was how we rolled.

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