Should you blow into your video game cartridges?

Should you blow into your video game cartridges?


– Remember the first time someone told you to blow into your cartridge
to fix a buggy game? Does blowing into your cartridge actually make anything better? (electronic music) It’s the sort of thing that
sounds like it makes sense. Mario isn’t working? There must be some dust in the way. To find out whether or not
blowing into a cartridge would actually help
things or make them worse, I talked to Christopher Grant, the Editor-in-Chief of Polygon and an expert in retro gaming hardware. – When your NES didn’t read the cartridge, when you put it in and it blinked the red blinking light, if you blew on it and you put it back in, and you got it, you blew it just right to get that one piece of dust off, it would work. People did this over and over again thinking that this was the solution, that dust was the problem, when in fact all they were doing was re-inserting the
game over and over again, and that the sort of placebo effect made it feel like the
blowing was doing something when in fact it was just the reseating of the cartridge that did it. – Okay, so blowing into the
cartridge doesn’t fix anything, but it’s okay if I still do it anyway ’cause I’m used to doing it, right? – You should not blow
into the cartridge at all. (electronic music) – So, blowing into cartridges not only doesn’t help anything, but adding moisture from
your breathe into the mix can actually make things worse corroding the copper connectors and damaging your games and your console in the long run. Nintendo actually starting warning against this behavior with later consoles. The Super Nintendo included a note on the back of each game saying that cartridges
should be regularly cleaned but only with the proper cleaning kit. And the Nintendo 64 went one step further outright stating on the back of each game in large block letters, “Do not blow on the edge connector.” The myth dates back to the original NES which used a zero insertion force or ZIF, and while ZIF slots are great for making it easy to
swap in and out a game, because, like the name suggests, it doesn’t require much
force to slot it in, it also means that if the contacts in the cartridge aren’t
properly connecting, you’re gonna get stuck with a glitched out screen instead. But there is still a grain of truth to the whole thing because while the actual blowing on the cartridges didn’t do anything, simply taking the game
out and re-inserting it as part of that process gave you another chance to have the contacts properly connect letting your game work right which may be the origin
of why people assumed that the blowing was
working in the first place. So, yeah, don’t blow into your cartridges, but if you’ve got a retro console that isn’t working, there are solutions out there that might actually help you get your games up and running again that don’t involve you spitting on them. (blows air) – [Director] That was good, that was good. Okay, one more. – (blowing air) – [Director] Don’t blow in it. (laughing)

100 thoughts on “Should you blow into your video game cartridges?”

  1. look, everybody knows that this is bad for the cartridge, however at least on my case this always helped me.

  2. My whole life has been lie. PS Timely story. Next topic…..Floppy Disks not actually floppy nor disks? Discuss.

  3. BS I will continue NES Magic it work fine. You just have to blow up up down down left right left right and press B A start

  4. Don't tell us about those solutions. I can't see why we would want to know about them after watching the video. It's good to keep us in the dark on that info.

  5. Nope still going to blow in my cartridges because that's what I'm used to and it had never failed me. But on a side note I never knew there was writing on the back of the cartridge lol 😂

  6. Am I the only one who noticed that the mouse is turned backwards to Chaim? Why is it even there? To fill up some space in the frame with stuff?

  7. Blowing into the cartridge puts moisture on the connectors and helps them contact/conduct electricity (water conducts electricity) through more contact area vs just dry. I still believe that's true. Prove me wrong.

  8. Nope. Don't believe this one. Sorry. When having a problem with these retro cartridges, blowing fixes the problem about 5 times as often as simply taking the cartridge out and reinserting. Them's the facts.

  9. That was life before the internet. We did so many things that we now know weren't true. There was no way to easily fact check.

  10. Actually, it goes more like this:
    If you have a super dusty cartridge that got so dirty that it's caking the contacts, blowing air there is a half assed but functional solution. Just as much as blowing the nes itself, since the contacts inside work in a similar fashion.
    But spit and warm moist air will also promote oxidation there, so you shouldn't do it anyways.
    If you need to do a thorought cleaning of contacts, isopropil alcohol with a cotton swab, or something that won't leave any residues there (because some cotton swabs will), is better in general.
    Most of the times though inserting and removing it will be enough.
    This is also valid for anything that has bare contacts btw… desktop pc cards, ram memory sticks, usb connectors and a bunch of others. Some of those are not copper, which is more prone to oxidation, but still valid.

  11. Am I the only one bothered by what feels like that seemingly purposeful placement of the Logitech mouse to show the logo? I mean let alone the random music synth. Idk just come on you look silly as hell sitting there.

  12. I've been blowing into a specific cartridge for 23 years. The cartridge and my original NES, with nothing replaced, still works fine.

  13. Those days man :(. I miss them. AND BLOWING THE CARTRIDGE HELPED. maybe they just wanted you to not blow so you buy the game again?

  14. Well since i cant remember when i saw a cross in any of your videos, this jew-hat has cost you a subscriber, bye

  15. They're just saying that because they know it works and they want you to spend your money foolishly buying brand new cartridges from kay-bee.

  16. I still have my NES that I bought online like 8 years ago. Had to do the hack where you snap off a pin connector from one of the transistors and it still works although I haven't played it in a while

  17. No. Do not tell me what to do. I will blow into my Gameboy Advance Cartridges because that is part of the experience of owning a Gameboy Advance. Do not tell me what to do. /endrant

  18. The logic of their argument can be used in reverse aswell.

    Reseating the cartridge doesn't work; But because you take it out it generates airflow which dislodges dust particles. Therefor it seems like reseating the cartridge works, but that's just a placebo effect.

  19. if Chaim is playing the original NES with a regular good old CRT TV with the RF connector, why the hell is the output in a square format instead of 4:3??

  20. This video is so redeeming. I have been saying this all my life. I noticed the usual fix was to nudge the cartridge and try again. My buddy had this comical process of blowing as hard as he could, then three taps on his leg. Hilarious.

  21. Blew on my Atari 2600, Intellivision, and Commodore 64 cartridges long before the NES came out. As of a couple of years ago, they were still working, so obviously my breath didn't kill them.

  22. So dust or dirt can't cause the game not to be read? If they can then blowing would in certain cases help. You asked one side instead of actually testing of dust can or can't stop the game from working. This is the laziest journalism I've ever seen

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