Today’s correspondence comes courtesy of reader Knicksfan:
Hey Tech-Gaming, I recently got a few boxes out of storage
after my wife and I moved. I found my old NES and about 40 cartridges. I hooked
my NES up the TV, and found the console didn’t work. No amount of blowing on
carts or in the system helped. I am debating whether to sell the cartridges on
ebay or keep them, and buy a new system. Any recommendations?
First, Knicksfan, blowing on your old NES cartridges may do
more harm than good. Every time you exhale, you’re sending out moisture onto the
contacts, which may help them to corrode over time. Instead use a cotton swab
dipped in rubbing alcohol, to clean the metal contact pins if there are
extremely dirty. However, on most NES systems, the problem isn’t with the metal
contacts, it’s with the cartridge connector that gets spongy over time. The
best course of action is to replace your dead Nintendo system with a
top-loading model, like the YOBO clone system, or even better, the Generation NEX.
The YOBO NES Clone. Cheap (at around $25), but not fully compatible with all games.
If you don’t want to spend seventy dollars on a new system,
there’s hope in emulation. Since, you already mentioned you own forty original NES
games, you should be on solid legal ground to download and emulate them. NES
emulation is available on many systems ranging from the GBA to the Wii. Here
we’ll walk you through the step necessary to play your old NES games on a PC
and also a Nintendo DS. Let’s start with the PC, as it requires no additional hardware:
the Nestopia binary. Unzip the package to a directory, and then create a folder
Use Google to do a search for the ROM files you
own. Although there are a myriad of places to find these on the internet, we’d
rather not lead you to any specific site.
Once you’ve downloaded the files, unzip them and
place them in your newly created ROMS directory.
Finally, click on Nestopia, set up your
controller, and you’re ready to play.
Nestopia in action, playing 1943. Check out that ‘Destructive Rate’!
Now, if you want to play games on your Nintendo DS, things
are a little trickier:
To use an emulator on the DS, you must own a
rewriteable cartridge; these are a little difficult to find, and are looked
down upon my many, because they can be used to run pirated games. The R4DS, and
the M3 DS Simply are the two most popular carts for using your own software. Don’t forgot a microSD card!
You might also have to patch these programs with
DLDI, to get them to run on your brand of cart.
Create a ROMS folder, insert the files, and
voila, you’re ready to play.
One final note, is our position on piracy: If you don’t own it, don’t play it. Many extremely talented and creative people have worked diligently to create these older games. Downloading a ROM file without owning the cartridge is not a behavior we at tech-gaming can condone.