I ordered a NES repair kit from nintendorepairshop.com (unimportant) and cleaned everything. I took the whole thing apart and replaced the 72 pin connector inside (the thing that the game cart plugs into) and cleaned off the motherboard. A whole lot of black crap came off everything even though it looked silver or gold. Interesting that it was so dirty even though it looked sort of shiny. As I cleaned it, the contacts started looking like a clean mirror instead of smokey mirror.
Why? Some games do the purple flashing thing. In the end, it’s a little better but not the silver bullet I was hoping for. I think some of my carts are just scratched or not quite rightly aligned. I don’t know. Some work better. Super Techmo Bowl would always give me problems but now it works pretty quickly once I jiggle it around. But it didn’t fix it completely.
I also had to clean every single game I have because if you don’t, you just deposit crap back on the pins. You can take apart the NES mostly with just a normal philips screwdriver. It’s pretty easy but the games have a security bit that I had to buy with the kit.
Anyway, here’s the fun stuff. Each game is different. No wonder why the games were expensive, it’s electronics in there! Some games have this MMC3b chip on it. Some games have old IC style chips on them, some have one of these MMC3b chips on it. Take a look at Super Techmo Bowl.
It’s got a battery for save games, the square chip is the MM3C chip (some have MM3B, just different revs) and a bunch of rectangular chips that I have no idea what they are. It was interesting to see the older games only have the rectangles on them. Newer (and good/complex) games almost always had the MMC3x chip on it and a battery. Except Metroid (uses passwords for save games). The pin connectors at the bottom is what sticks out (what you blow on). Crazy!
So here’s the real reason I’m posting this. Another mystery solved! Remember how sometimes your NES cart had a clicky sound when you shook it? I always thought it was a screw, part of the cart that was broken. I were like: “how does it still work?!”. Well I found out what it is! One of my carts has that same sound and when I opened it up to clean it, this is what I found.
It’s just a little gray plastic standoff post in the inside. It’s made out of the case. You can see the little dot where it broke off. So it rattles around in there, maybe hitting the cart electronics but it’s so light it doesn’t mess with anything. I don’t even think the standoff is really needed unless you were flexing and pressing down on the middle of the cart. And the electronics have so much space inside, you might not even hit it. I didn’t see any cart electronics that take up even 40% of the space in there. It’s like a potato chip bag. You open it up and most of it is air.