NES Problems


Last week I was perusing eBay looking for some old NES stuff when I came across a particularly awesome auction - some guy was selling 18 NES games along with two controllers and a power adaptor. I didn't actually need any more controllers and I already have like a billion power adaptors, but no-one else had bid on this and the prospect of owning 18 new NES games was too good to resist. I mean come on, look at this bad-ass image that was included in the auction:

Inevitably I ended up bidding for and winning all this cool stuff. 'Hoorah!', I thought, for I am a HUGE GEEK. Skip forward a few days and it all arrived, so I ran upstairs, plugged the NES in and prepared to get totally geek chic. I decided to start with a true classic - Metroid:

So I popped in the game, turned on the NES and expected greatness. What did I actually get? This:

Um... right then. I checked everything was plugged in correctly and made sure the NES was tuned properly on the TV and unsurprisingly everything was fine. I figured it was probably just this one game, so I decided to pop in another classic - the original Zelda.

Oh yeah, that's right - it's Zelda, and it's genius. I popped it in, fired up the NES, and held my breath.

WHAT A LOAD OF BALLS! Seriously, I couldn't believe it - the day I get 18 new NES games is the same day my NES decides to die on me. After making a note of problems I was having - games not working, the red light on the front of the NES flashing on and off etc - I put them all into Google and I basically found out that my NES has a broken 72-pin connector, which is what you shove all your cartridges into. How annoyed did this make me? This annoyed:

However, I hate to lose and so I thought 'I can fix this!'. After spending a good ten minutes on Google I found a potential solution that involved opening up the NES, taking out the connector and messing around with it a bit. There was no guarantee it would work, but the procedure seemed perfectly safe and so I figured I'd give it a go.

Getting the screws out was a complete nightmare because Nintendo builds consoles like impenetrable fortresses, but I eventually removed them without injury. After popping the plastic cover off I was hit in the face with air from 1985, and was presented with this:

Time to get down to business. After removing several more screws, I got the connector out and followed the Internet instructions - basically, the connector has a series of metal prongs on it which make contact with the chipboard of any game cartridge, but over time these metal prongs get bent and eventually fail to make contact with carts. This is actually why the light on my NES was blinking red - the 72-pin connector was broken and so the NES failed to register that a game was actually inserted. Anyway, after slowly bending the pins up using a tiny screwdriver, I put everything back together and gave Metroid another try.

This was it. Had my hard work paid off? Had I opened up my NES and prodded around in it with a screwdriver for no reason? Had I made the situation worse? Had I...

WHAT A PILE OF ARSE. Seriously, this is ridiculous. At the very least, the NES was still turning on and off like it had been before, so my failed repair job hadn't made the situation worse. So why hadn't the procedure worked? Well, after doing yet more Internet searching, I found some games forum where a guy was basically saying 'don't bother trying to fix the 72-pin connector, it won't work, just get a brand new one off of eBay'. So, I did - I got one off eBay for 9 quid and am waiting for it to arrive in the mail.

So, will the new connector work? Will I be able to install it without blowing up my NES? Will I be able to play all my classic NES games again shortly? Come back soon for the THRILLING CONCLUSION to this sad tale of gaming woe!