Classic video gaming information including collecting, repair, modification, gameplay videos, and best and worst of Nintendo NES, Super Nintendo SNES, Sega Genesis, Sega 32X, Sega CD, Sega Master System, Turbografx16, and Atari.
Recently, I came across a Gameboy at Goodwill for $6.99. While inspecting it I noticed the battery contacts where very corroded but the Gameboy was complete albeit very dirty likely from years of use and the lack of the previous owner taking good care of it. I couldn’t test the Gameboy before I bought it but I thought I could use a low budget trick to clean up the battery contacts to look nearly new.
When I got home I tried to turn on the Gameboy with new, fresh batteries but it wouldn’t power on. I wasn’t very surprised though because the battery contacts where nasty. Here’s some before pictures.
What you need:
Small flat blade screw driver
Needle nose pliers
White distilled vinegar
How to remove the battery contacts
I used a small flat blade screw driver to get underneath the battery contacts and then used needle nose pliers to pull out the battery contacts.
Cleaning the battery contacts with vinegar
White Distilled Vinegar does a great job of eating through the corrosion on the battery contacts. All you need to do is soak the battery contacts in the vinegar for a few minutes. You can see the corrosion bubble right off. You can also use a flat blade screw driver to scrape off any corrosion that doesn’t bubble off on it’s own while it’s soaking.
After 5 minutes of soaking I removed the battery contacts and cleaned them up with water. Next I soaked them in some Rubbing Alcohol and then dried them using a paper towel before reinstalling them into the Gameboy.
Here’s a close up of the battery contacts installed:
Note: This picture was taken during testing and before the final cleaning of the Gameboy
Does it work now?
I reinstalled the batteries and tried to power on the Gameboy and to my delight it turned right on! This is proof of a cheap DIY fix for a non working Gameboy. There was a catch though…
I did notice that once the Gameboy turned on that some of the lines on the lcd were not being displayed. Luckily there’s a DIY fix for this too.
How to fix the lcd screen when lines are missing
A common problem with Gameboy LCD screens is missing lines in the screen. This is usually caused by a bad connection in the LCD cable. When you heat up the cable and apply pressure on it the lines will disappear.
All you need is a hair drier or a heat gun. You want to heat the cable where it’s missing lines. Take a look at the picture I added for a better description:
After heating up the cable and applying pressure it looked perfect! Hopefully this information helps somebody with similar problems with their Gameboy.
Pictures of my two complete in box (CIB) variants of Rad Racer for the Nintendo NES from my personal video game collection. You can see that the Nintendo seal’s are different on the game paks as well as on the game boxes. One is known as the “circle seal” and the other is known as the “round seal”. I only have the instruction manual and the 3-D glasses for one of them unfortunately.
It was a random Tuesday and my girlfriend and I were visiting up our normal stops, shopping at various thrift, resale, and video game stores when we came across this Galaga machine at a thrift store that we hadn’t been to in a while.
I wasn’t looking for an arcade machine (I was actually looking for Nintendo NES games) but when I saw this Galaga machine it definitely got my attention since Galaga is one of my most favorite arcade machines of all time.
The Galaga machine had a price tag on it of $495 which was not in my price range but since I was at a thrift store I figured the price was probably negotiable.
Upon inspecting it I noticed the back door was missing. The store was not very well lit so it was hard to see inside of the cabinet but I did notice that the power supply had been updated to a newer style switching power supply, which I liked. I also noticed the monitor didn’t have any burn in which is very common so I really liked that too.
I asked one of the employees if I could test out the game. He said “Yes, but if I remember correctly it had a bad video something or other”.
I was still interested and wanted to test it out so I asked him if I could at least power it on.
He said “Sure, lets plug it in and see what happens”. When he reached into the cabinet to pull out the power cord he noticed that it was cut in half so obviously I wasn’t going to be able to test it out.
To me this wasn’t a big deal since it’s an easy fix but I wanted to use this for my bargaining advantage. I told him that $495 was way too much since I couldn’t even turn it on to test out. I asked him what’s the best price he can give me keeping in mind the condition that it’s in. He told me that I could have it for $175. I thought that was a fair price so the deal was done. He told me that they would deliver it the next day for me too.
Cleaning & Inspecting
Once the Galaga machine arrived at my house it was time to see what exactly I had gotten myself into.
The first thing I did was vacuum out all the dust, dirt, and spider webs that had accumulated over the last 30 plus years. Once it was clean inside I got a better look at all the wiring and such in the cabinet.
I noticed that some of the wiring was done using butt connectors so I removed those and soldered the wires back together. This wasn’t really necessary but I prefer to solder wiring. I also soldered the broken power cord back together.
I removed the motherboard and began to inspect it. I was looking for burnt chips, cut traces and any other problems. From my research I realized that Galaga is notorious for having problems with the motherboard / video board. The reason is because there are a lot of socketed chips on the boards that are prone to failure due to heat, dirt, and low quality parts that were used in assembly. The chips have very fragile legs on them so you have to be very careful when removing them. It wasn’t my first time removing socketed chips but it was true these chips are fragile.
It was apparent the motherboard had been worked on in the past. It still had service stickers attached to it and it also some hot glue on the board from the service.
Cleaning the motherboard / video board
I carefully removed each of the socketed chips one at a time and cleaned them. I used a pencil eraser on the chip’s legs as well as some isopropyl alcohol. While the chips were out, I also cleaned out the sockets with isopropyl alcohol and compressed air. I took my time to make sure I didn’t break off any of the chip’s legs.
Time to power on!
After installing the cleaned motherboard I was ready to test out the machine. I pressed the power switch and I was happy to hear the familiar high pitched sound of the monitor coming to life. After a few seconds it warmed up and I saw that the game was playing.
Unfortunately though, the screen didn’t look right. The colors were way off as it was too red and in the top right corner it was green.
Luckily for me the fix was to adjust the pots on the back of the monitor’s neck board (see the pic).
After the fine tuning I also adjusted the focus so I would get a nice clear picture. The red monitor must have been what the salesmen was talking about it having a “bad video board”.
Extended testing AKA: Playing some Galaga
I started playing and made it to stage 20 and then all of a sudden the game rebooted on me. It then came up to an error screen where it said “RAM OK ROM 01” (Note: Errors are displayed in upside text when the Galaga machine boots)
From my research it indicated there was a problem with the rom chip at 3N so I removed the rom chip again and cleaned it some more and also cleaned the socket again.
I also read that the power supply voltage should be checked and adjusted if it wasn’t around 5.2 volts. My power supply was putting out 4.9 volts so after I adjusted it to 5.2
After the cleaning the 3N rom chip / socket and adjusting the power supply voltage I’m happy to say that I’ve had no problems at all with the game. It hasn’t rebooted on me or acted up at all.
Video of the end result
Next on my list is to install a marquee light because it doesn’t have one in the cabinet. I’ve already ordered side art and the kick panel art so that the cabinet looks complete. All in all I’m very happy with my Galaga game.
A compilation of Sega Genesis Opening Title Screen Intro Videos. Some games have the title theme and demo gameplay footage while others just are the static title screen. These videos are sometimes called “attract mode” on arcade machines, which is meant to make the player familiar with the gameplay. It’s funny how the quality of the gameplay can vary so much from game to game. It seems that some games were played by experts and others were played by someone who had no idea of what the point of the game way. Depending on the game it will either loop through the same short video over and over indefinitely while some other games will show you many different levels that you can play.
Retro game collecting is a wonderful hobby that lets people relive their childhood playing the classic games that they grew up with. Retro game collecting also lets younger people experience all the fun and excitement of classic games. Today’s modern games are filled with vast 3D lands, voice acting, and full movie like capabilties. The classic games of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s obviously can’t compete with this new technology but they have their own charm and personality that makes them enjoyable. These games were built on exciting gameplay, difficult challenge, and all around fun.
The many types of retro game collectors
There are many different “type” of retro game collectors. The common types of collectors are the following:
Loose Game Collectors
– Collectors who collect the game only.
Loose games are the most common way to find a retro game for sale. They are much less expensive than finding a game in the original packaging.
CIB Games Collectors
– CIB stands for “Complete in Box”. These are collectors of the game, box, and instruction manuals.
Sealed Games Collectors
– Collectors of unopened games in their original shrink wrap. This is the most expensive type of retro game collecting.
Variant Game Collectors
– Collectors of games that were released with notable differences. Some common game variants are differences of labels, artwork, or boxes.
– Collectors of “paper products” including instruction manuals, posters, and advertisements that came packaged with games.
Homebrew Game Collectors
– Collectors of homebrew games which are games that are created to run on the original hardware. These games are typically programmed by game fans but some are programmed by the original game creators. Some homebrew games are completely new games which others are “hacks” of original games. An example a popular homebrew game “hack” is Zelda Outlands for the NES. It plays like the original Legend of Zelda but it’s been reprogrammed so much that it’s a completely new game experience. One more type of homebrew game is games that were never released because they were never finished or because they weren’t available in certain countries.
Nintendo NES, Super Nintendo, Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, Intellivision, Sega 32X and most later released Sega Genesis games were all sold in cardboard boxes. Most gamers back in the day, did not save these boxes. Little did they know these boxes would one day become collector’s items. Due to the fact that most of the boxes were discarded these boxes today are very sought after.
Instruction manuals and inserts
Nearly all retro games were released with paper manuals explaining the game and other topics such as the controls, gameplay mechanics, items to be found, etc.
Since the instruction manuals are made of paper they are highly susceptible to damage or were commonly lost or thrown away. Some games were packaged with bonus items such as “world maps”, players guides and advertising which is collectable today. These are all items that paper collectors are interested in.
Complete in Box (CIB) Games
“Complete in box” is the term used to describe a “complete game”. A “complete game” is the game itself, the instruction manual and the box that it came in. It’s often abbreviated as “CIB”. CIB games always commend a premium price over lose games or games that just include the box (also known as “boxed games”). In most cases the highest value comes from the box, then the game and then the manual. This is a general rule and their are some exceptions but this is usually the case.
Collecting box, instruction manuals, and inserts separately
Collecting the original boxes, instruction manuals and inserts can be a fun way to get yourself a complete game. For the game systems that came with cardboard boxes it can be difficult to find an original box due to them being thrown away or in very poor shape due to their age. Same goes for the instruction manuals and inserts (maps, guides, advertising, etc).
Where to find Games, Boxes, Instruction Manuals, and Inserts
Shopping at retail stores
You can find retro games at local video game stores but expect to pay a premium for them. Good places to look for retro games are Goodwill stores, Resale shops, pawn shops and antique shops. These places are generally cheaper than video game stores but it really depends on how much the seller knows about the particular games. Some will price their inventory off of internet prices so it pays to search around for the best deals.
You can find these items on sites such as Ebay.com and GameGavel.com. You can also look on sites such as Craigslist.org for local items for sale from individuals. This is the usually the best place to find them. Internet prices are usually much more than individuals will charge off of Craigslist. Some Craigslist seller will sell for internet prices though so you need to do your homework and search for the best deals.
One site that has a lot of games, boxes, instruction manuals, and inserts is UncleTusk.com. UncleTusk also sells complete in box Homebrew games and they take custom orders if you want to make your own custom NES items. It’s definitely worth a look. I have a few of their boxes in my collection and I must say that the quality of UncleTusk’s boxes are top notch. They are printed on high quality stock and which is very durable. The boxes have a nice shine to them and they have the same embossed pleats in them like the original game boxes.
Here are some examples of UncleTusk’s boxes that I have:
CIB Stack Up and UncleTusk’s Stack Up Side by side:
UncleTusk’s SNES Power Fest ’94
UncleTusk’s Super Mario All Stars & Super Mario World
UncleTusk’s Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dragons of Flame
UncleTusk’s Cheetahmen 2 the Lost Levels box
Where to look for retro gaming item’s values
I use sites like Ebay.com (look at the “completed” auctions and click on “sold auctions”) and videogames.pricecharting.com to figure out what retro games are currently selling for. These sites help a lot in determining how much your items are worth. Remember items are really only worth what people are willing to pay for them but using these sources will give you a good idea of what you have or what you are looking for.
Here’s a short video of the Star World’s Arcade at the 2013 Midwest Gaming Classic. There were quite a few classic arcades to play as well as more modern titles and some pinball machines. All of the games were on free-play which gave everybody a chance to play, and play as many times as possible. Some of the popular games were:
Robotron 2084 (Had 2 machines)
Joust (cocktail table)
Nintendo VS Wrecking Crew
Dance Dance Revolution
It was pretty crowded so I tried to get as many games in the video as possible but it was cramped so this is the best I could do.
All in all it was a great time and I would highly recommend the Midwest Gaming Classic to anyone who enjoys classic and modern video games and pinball machines. There was much more to do than just play games including arts and crafts for families, a huge video game/computer museum, giant vendor sales areas with all sorts of games/systems and merchandise for sale and pinball tournaments.
I finally got my hands on an NES Test Station. I won this one on eBay. It was in non-working condition. In the description the seller said that it didn’t power on so I figured why not try to win it, it sounds like a fun little project if the price is right.
Once I got the test station I traced the “no powering on problem” to a bad power supply. I found another working power supply on eBay for $10 plus shipping. It required a little soldering and splicing wires to replace it but it was pretty simple. Once I got the new power supply in, the test station turned on so it was time to “test the test station”.
I did find a problem with the Control Deck test area. I ended up having to resolder the wiring for the A/V inputs because they were not working. Luckily, that was the only other thing I had to fix. It was a fun project and this is something I’ve been wanting for a long time.
The NES Test Station tests the following items:
NES Control Deck
Game Pak (Game Cartridge)
Audio / Video Composite Cables (The Red / Yellow RCA Cables)
Accessories (NES Controllers, ROB the Robot, Zapper light gun, & Power Pad Mat)
This is one of my favorite pieces of my game collection. It’s very rare and you don’t see them for sale a lot and when you do they are pretty expensive.