Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cleaning Video Games Tutorial

I love the hunt for used video games because you never know what you'll find. One thing you do find though is that used games are usually dirty and covered with stickers. I'm a bit OCD about my games and I can not stand the ugly Gamestop yellow stickers that they have plastered all over their used games so I've had a lot of practice cleaning up video games.

To clean video games you'll need a few products; cleaners like Goo Gone and Goof Off, Magic Erasers, paper towels, q-tips, and tools for opening cartridges.


First, we will start off with older cartridge games like NES and Sega Genesis games. On these old cartridges, you'll usually find one of two different problems. The first would be ink left by people who wrote their names on their games or by video rental chains.

These words are usually easily removed with magic erasers.

All you need to do is take an eraser and rub the ink off. If you find a stubborn name you can add spray some cleaner onto the ink, I usually use Goo Gone simply because it's on hand when I'm cleaning games.

With very little work you can have old cartridges looking brand new. Cleaning these old cartridges not only make your collection look nicer but if you'll also make more money selling your old games if they look like they're brand new.

Here is a Sega Genesis cartridge with a big stupid Gamestop sticker on it. I bought this for $1.99 way back when for my wife as she loves this game. Strangely instead of trying to win the game, she likes to collect every coin she can find. Anyway, when I want to get stickers off cartridges I use some Goo Gone. I spray the Goo Gone onto a paper towel and rub it over the sticker. After a few minutes, I check it and if it's still stuck on there good I spray it again. Once the sticker loses enough adhesion I scrap it with the paper towel or my finger. I don't recommend using a tool because it can put gouges into the plastic. Once the sticker itself is off there can still be some glue residue left so I spray the paper towel again and rub it until it's looking like new.

Like New!!
One thing to be cautious about is the cartridge's sticker. Try to keep any of the cleaning fluids off the sticker but if the stickers are very close spray a q-tip with the cleaning fluid. If you have a sticker on top of the cartridge's sticker just wet the top sticker with the Goo Gone and carefully work the sticker off. In most cases, it will come off with little to no damage on the cartridge's sticker.

After repeated tries with the Goo Gone and the sticker is still holding tight it's time to break out the big guns, Goof Off. Goof Off will get rid of the sticker with no problem. You have to be careful when using Goof Off because it will take off any sticker it touches. Also, you may want to test the Goof Off on the inside of the cartridge in case it wants to take the color off. I've never had that happen but it doesn't hurt to be safe. The other big problem is the smell. Goof Off smells very bad and it's also very powerful so you start to use it in the house your whole house will smell. I recommend using it in a garage or outside.

I recently purchased Shadowgate for the NES.

This is how it came from the store which is a comic book type store. They applied the sticker to the cartridge's sticker and it has some kind of yellow crust on the left side. I would never put a game that looked like this for sale but I guess they are shooting for mediocrity. Anyway, I was able to get the sticker off of the cartridge sticker with the method I described above. I also was able to clean off the yellow gunk with the Goo Gone but regular soap and water would have worked just as well.

Finally, for cartridges, and especially NES cartridges, you'll want to clean the 72-pin connector. To clean it thoroughly you can pop the cartridge apart to clean it, you'll need to purchase a 3.8mm security bit which can be found for sale all over the Internet including eBay. I've only cleaned the pin connector without taking the cartridge apart and it's worked fine for me.

3.8mm security bit

The way I clean out a pin connector is with Brasso on a q-tip. You'll find people all over the Internet that have an opinion of what's best to use. All I know is that Brasso has worked very well for me for many years. If you are afraid to use Brasso there are many other cleaners you can try.

If your Nintendo would just flash when you tried to play a game it was because the 72-pin collector was dirty. When I was a kid I stopped playing my NES because the games would only flash and back then we had no idea why it wouldn't work but apparently blowing on it, like everyone would do back then, was actually making the problem worse. 


The other type of cleaning you'll be doing is on the modern plastic cases that are found in all games today. These usually will be a bit dirty but mostly it will be to remove Gamestop stickers.

As you can see on this copy of Call Of Duty 3 Gamestop graffito tagged its yellow sticker on the front and spine. The front sticker came off easily with Goo Gone but as I go to apply the cleaner to the spine sticker I find that they psychos at Gamestop placed the sticker on the Call Of Duty card, not on the plastic.

I have no idea why they would do this but to tell you the truth I don't have the energy to remove this. It would probably come off with some careful Goo Gone or even Goof Off with minimal damage but this game isn't worth the effort. 

Well, that's all I know, and this will be enough to clean 99 percent of the games you have. If you have any tips let me know and thanks for reading.

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