How to Fix A Game Boy Game: Start by Cleaning Cartridge

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Game Maintenance: How to clean your Game Boy Cartridges:

In life, things get dirty. No matter how hard you try—whether using slipcases, dust jackets or air filters—you can never seem prevent dust and grime getting into those hard to reach spaces. This also goes for your Game Boy game cartridges.

The cartridges may have a small opening, but the dirt still seems to get lodged in there, often making it hard for your favorite Game Boy system to read the cartridge. All of this can be avoided by cleaning your games at the first sign of trouble, and it’s not as hard as you’d think.

First make sure you have the right equipment:

  • Can of Compressed Air
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Small amount of water
  • Paper Towels
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Spray compressed air into cartridge to remove excess dirt and dust.

Hold the straw end of Compressed Air Can approximately a half-inch from opening of the game cartridge. Spray air into the opening, and be sure to get the center and the corners.

TIP: Do not put the straw directly into the cartridge opening. Compressed air cans contains Tetrafluoroethane, an ozone safe chemical that is also used as a refrigerant. When it first comes out of the can, it is very cold and could damage the cartridge. Holding the straw end a half-inch away from the opening should allow the air temperature to level enough not to cause any damage.

This may be the only step you need to take. Test the game out and see. If you still have problems, proceed to the next step.

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Dampen one end of a cotton swab.

Dip one end of a cotton swab into the water. Don’t soak it. Just dampen it.

TIP: Nintendo recommends using only water and not alcohol.

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Remove excess water with paper towel.

Use paper towel to dab excess water off the cotton swab.

TIP: The swab should only be damp, not wet. If water seeps into the cartridge, it can destroy the game.

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Clean opening of cartridge and connector pins with damp cotton swab.

Take the damp end of the swab and place it in the opening of the cartridge. Gently rub the connector pins with a side-to-side motion.
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Flip over cotton swab and dry connector pins.

Flip the swab over and use the dry end to gently dry the connector pins.
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Let cartridge sit for ten minutes.

Let the cartridge sit for ten minutes before using to allow any extra moisture to dry.

Next Step? Play and enjoy!

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