Why blow air into NES cartridges is the game’s biggest city legend

Now it is when some people will insist that they tried to do it as children but first had much greater success blowing in the cartridge. While this is likely to be just a case of players remembering exactly how it went, some have since argued that if your breathing did not actually clear waste significantly, then the moisture from your breath may have helped improve the connection between the cartridge and console.

While there may be select cases where this has happened, the fact is that there is nothing scientific that supports the idea that your saliva would have consistently improved the connection between your NES and your cartridges. In fact, at least one slightly rough fan study makes it pretty obvious that blowing into an NES cartridge too often would have caused the cartridge connectors to wear even faster. In fact, Nintendo eventually began advising people not to blow air into cartridges, even releasing an official NES cleaning kit designed in part to deter children from relying on the seemingly simple method.

Once you get the hang of it, there’s just nothing concrete that supports the idea of ​​blowing air into cartridges or the NES itself actually fixing anything. However, that is precisely why this is the greatest gaming urban legend ever.

We know Bigfoot is not with us GTA: San Andreas, we know there is not really one Madden curse, and we know it Polybius was not a real arcade game. You can prove that the urban legends are not true and the only thing that stands in your way is someone’s insistence that you make a mistake because there is a .01% chance of doubt that you have not addressed properly .

However, when it comes to blowing into an NES cartridge, there is significantly more room for doubt than that. Not only can so many of us clearly remember times when blowing in an NES cartridge solved the problem, but it is technically still possible that there were selected cases when blowing in an NES cartridge solved very specific problems. Sure, it’s far more likely that removing the cartridge and reinserting it is what actually did the job most of the time, but the best urban legends are usually based on something you can verify (or not completely debunk), and at least part of this process was really a good idea.

For the most part, though, I think this is the greatest urban legend in game history because it completely changed the way we remember the NES and talk about the console’s shortcomings. Honestly, Nintendo should have caught a lot of flak for NES ‘front-loading design and the many ways it made the console wear faster. There are very good reasons why they never tried that hardware design style again and instead adopted a “top-loading” format for the SNES and N64.

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