Cartridge Blowing

This is a little geeky but do you remember the days of the old school Nintentos, Sega Megadrives, Game Boys and whatever other console game there was? Whenever the game didn’t load, we would all know the magic trick: blow on the cartridge and try again. This was never questioned. It was just done (and done and done till it worked), and always achieved successful results.


I am about to shatter this childhood delusion of ours.

Chris Higgins from Mentalfloss actually questioned whether or not it worked and did extremely thorough research on the subject. Okay, I tried to read the whole article but my geeky side only goes so far so here are the main points that I got from my quick skim:

1. When things went wrong, the problem was usually a bad connection between the cartridge and its slot (tarnishing, corrosion, weak pins, etc).

2. Frankie Viturello, host of Digital Press Webcast, comments on this topic: “I suppose it has a lot to do with the placebo effect”.

3. The act of removing, blowing in and re-seating a cartridge creates another random opportunity for a better connection – so removing the cartridge 10 times and putting back in without blowing on it creates the exact same results as blowing on it each time.

4. In the NES Game Pak Troubleshooting page, Nintendo states: Do not blow into your Game Paks or systems. The moisture in your breath can corrode and contaminate the pin connectors”. Oops (see below image, note mould).

5. It’s just kinda gross, now that you see the results of erm…excess blowing:


So moral of the story? We’ve all been tricked.

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