ROM Cartridges. Lifespan, and other tidbits

ethan at ethan at
Tue Apr 19 10:43:46 CDT 2016

> How long will they last?

Probably a long time, but dump them all anyways! You never know!

> Why does blowing on them help? (mosture? cleaning action?)

The moisure makes the connection work better or something, so that is 
where it comes from. Cleaning the contacts is best, and if it's a NES you 
can replace the "finger module" or the slots on other systems.

> Are some better than others in terms of longevity?

The card edge connectors would probably be where the reliability comes in.

> Can they be refurbished ?

Depending on the system there are reproduction labels made. A lot of the 
older game system carts you will find the labels coming off or 
deteriorating. It depends on how they were stored I'd guess. Moisture and 

> Remember when folks would publish apps on carts to enhance the copy
> protection ?

I think it was used more because the intro cost to the system was cheaper. 
Floppy drives were expensive, you could sell carts to people with basic 

There were units for some of the game systems like the SNES that sat on 
top, and allowed you to copy the rom cart contents to floppy disks. Then 
you could re-load the contents of the rom cart from the floppy disks into 
RAM in the "console copier" and then play the pirated games. Also on the 
home computers people dumped rom carts and made binary executables.

> Remember the ones like Starfox for the SNES that had coprocessors embedded
> on them? Those were neat.

Yes, I think there were only two for the SNES but I could be wrong. Check 
out Pitfall II on the Atari 2600, it has a sound processor in the cart.

In the documentary "Stella at 20" the engineers of the Atari 2600 talk 
about how they cut ?4? pins off the Atari 2600 cart to shave costs. The 
next year the costs were so much lower it was a neglible price cut, but 
had the pins been left there it would have allowed more memory space to be 
accessable in the cart leading to tons of expansion possibilities.

> Re: Rare Neo Geo carts
> Sprites" ? Sure!

Yep, have a 4 slot MVS at home and run a 161 in 1 cart in it. Sure I'd 
love to have piles of Magical Drop 3's and stuff, but just not gonna 
embrace the video-games-are-beanie-babies thing. Some of the N64 and SNES 
games are more now than they were new.

But if you want to see real bubble, look into collecting A list pinball 

> I have some 90's consoles in my collection and I fondly remember a few
> systems that took carts that family and friends owned back in the 80's and
> 90's.  I thought the Colecovision Adam was awesome.  My cousin had one and I
> was so jealous.  The C64, 80's 8bit Atari PCs, the IBM PC Jr, and others all
> had cartridge ports, too.

Yep, and the same damn games on all of them :-) AtariSoft! Parker Bros! 
Etc. Frogger and the Qbert and the Centipede and the Defender.

Ethan O'Toole

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