15Blowing into video game cartridges could actually damage them

Super Nintendo Game Cartridges

Anyone who’s ever played one of the classic 16-bit consoles can tell you that if the game is glitching out, blowing into the cartridge is the easiest way to fix it. A small puff of air should be enough to dislodge any dust sitting inside of the

cartridge - once the game has been cleaned out, it should start working normally again.

...that’s the myth, anyways. In reality, blowing into a cartridge does more harm that good.

The problems arise from the moisture present in everyone’s breath - and the fact that the insides of game cartridges contain extremely sensitive connector pins. Normally, when a cartridge is inserted into the console, these pins serve as the main connection between the two. Over time, however, enough moisture can start to corrode these pins, rendering the game unplayable.

The fact that this method ‘worked’ is all smoke and mirrors: pulling and re-inserting the cartridges simply gave the console another chance at making a stable connection. As it turns out, there’s no easy way to clean a cartridge - and simply blowing into it certainly doesn’t help.

Sega Genesis
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