Maybe you’ve just uncovered your old SNES from the attic. Or maybe you’re a next gen gamer who has recently got into retrogaming. Either way, you should probably read these tips before you get stuck into your ancient console. These gaming relics weren’t built with the robustness of modern consoles and have most likely worn with time. To stop your console dying on you, you need to look after it in its old age. Here are useful tips for maintaining your old console and keeping it alive and healthy.
Be careful cleaning cartridges
Before discs we all had cartridges. They might seem like they’re more armoured against damage. However, if anything, they’re easier to break. Cartridges have to be regularly cleaned of dust and dirt. The best way is to use a q-tip, but be careful not to probe to forcefully. Many of us used to blow into our old cartridges, which is an effective method, so long as no saliva gets into the electronics. Any liquid can destroy a cartridge’s circuitry – never use any sprays or wipes.
Note that there are still sites that still sell cartridges (such as this site for Nintendo 64 games) – some very cheaply. So if you’ve recently uncovered your old collection to find out few are working, realize that not all is lost!
Don’t fold up wires
Wrapping up wires around controllers used to be a great way of keeping them tidy, until it was revealed that this gradually destroyed the cords (as is the case with all my old Xbox controllers). Wireless controllers have solved this issue and many of us have forgotten the nuisance that wires can be. One of the best ways to deal with them is to keep them in a box or drawer and let them naturally coil around the bottom. The wires on controllers have a tendency to fray right at the join (something that a lot of modern phone chargers seem to still have a problem with). Get these taped up as soon as you notice them starting to fray.
Keep away from heat
Old consoles don’t have the fan systems that newer ones do. Exposed to heat such as a radiator or sunlight, the console could overheat very easily. Keep the console well ventilated – those TV stands in which the back is closed off are the worst for causing consoles to overheat. If the console has been exposed to heat for some time, let it cool down before turning it on. You don’t want your old console to burst into flames!
Games and controllers should also be kept away from heat.
Keep away from cold
Anything that isn’t room temperature generally isn’t good for consoles – which also includes the cold. If you keep your console in a uninsulated attack – it’s possible that the freezing temperature could cause components to warp. You also want to avoid any damp. Store it in a room within the rest of your house so that it’s getting the same heating in the winter.