Weirdest N64 GameShark Repair Ever

It’s hard to imagine a stranger repair than this!  But it worked for us, and I’m still scratching my head.

If you have a Nintendo 64 GameShark (version 3.3) that won’t boot up, here’s a quick and easy trick that might repair it.  You’ll need a working GameShark of the same version.
http://amzn.to/2kUkM43

***Before you start, verify that your bad GameShark displays the number “8” as ours did in the video.  There are lots of things that can go wrong with these devices, so make sure your issue matches ours.***

***Proceed at your own risk.***

Step 1–Bottom:  Insert the working GameShark into your system.
Step 2–Middle:  Insert the bad GameShark into the top of the working one.
Step 3–Top:  Insert a compatible game into the top of both GameSharks.
Step 4:  Boot up your system.

Pardon the grainy footage.  We actually filmed this about 10 years ago and had forgotten about the footage.  I hope this helps unlock some of your bricked GameSharks.

Best of luck & happy retro gaming!

How to Replace Pokemon Gold Battery with a Soldering Iron

Find our VGM Gold 3.8mm Security Bit on Amazon or eBay.

Warning: Proceed at your own risk and be careful when doing any repairs.

In the past we’ve show how to replace your lithium battery without soldering.  It’s quick.  It’s easy.  But so is soldering with a little practice.  Plus, it turns out that the solder method is a bit stronger as it is how these game-saving power supplies were installed in the first place.

Best part is that this method works for Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal, Blue, Red, Yellow, plus Zelda games, Tecmo Super Bowl, and a bunch of other retro video games.

Here’s what you’ll need:

FAQ

(Ok, so a lot of these FAQs were handled in our Solderless Repair Guide and have been recycled below.)

Q: Why can’t I save my game on my old Pokémon Game Boy Color cartridge?
A: Before game systems saved games on flash memory and hard drives, games relied on lithium batteries to maintain saved games. Unfortunately, when that battery dies, so does the saved game. It’s sort of like taking the battery out of your watch. Once the battery is gone, the watch loses the time.

Q: My cartridge lets me save the game, but when I turn it on later the saved game is gone. Is my battery dead?
A: Yes, without a working battery, the game will attempt to save and then lose the saved game data after you power off your Game Boy. Bummer, huh?!

Q: How powerful of a soldering iron do I need?
A:   We’d suggest one with 25 or more watts.  Ideally, you’d get one that has a temperature control to find a setting that works best for you.

Q: I don’t have a soldering iron.  Can I use a flame thrower, light saber, or other implement of destruction?
A:   Hmmm…please make a video of said attempts…using proper safety methods for each of course.

Q: Which Pokémon games does this repair method address?
A:   We’ve used it to repair Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal, Red Version, Blue Version, and Yellow Version (Special Pikachu Edition).  These include Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald versions.

Q: Did I see a FireRed GBA cart in the video?
A: Yeah, we accidentally showed a Pokémon FireRed cart in the video, but it actually doesn’t use a battery. Ha ha, that cartridge looks so much like Ruby at first glance that we mixed them up during filming.

Q: My battery is dead. Will replacing it restore my saved game?
A: Unfortunately, when the battery dies, your saved game files are lost.  It’s sort of like unplugging your alarm clock.  Once it loses power, it loses track of what it saves, which in the case of an alarm clock is the time.  The exception to this is GBA games which only relied on the battery for an in-game clock.  That in-game clock affected things like berry growth.

Q: My battery is old but still working, is there any way to switch the battery without losing the game save?
A:  When you remove the battery, your saved game will be lost.  If you’re thinking about putting in a fresh battery, you should back up your saved game to a device like a Mega Memory Card.  You can also do certain backups using a N64 transfer pak and Pokemon Stadium 2.  Check out this thread for tips on this.

Q:  What size battery do I need?
A:  Most likely, if you’re replacing a battery for a Pokemon Game Boy Color cartridge, you’ll need a CR2025 Lithium battery.  However, some cartridges originally used a CR2016.  When you remove the existing battery, you can check its labeling or for battery size information stamped on the board next to the battery.

Q:  Does this repair work for Game Boy Advance Pokémon games on the GBA?
A:  Yup, you can use the same method to repair Pokémon games for the GBA and GBA SP.  These include Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald versions.

Q:  Does this repair work for games of other systems?
A:  Yes, you can use the exact same method to repair games for the Original NES, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis, Game Boy Advance and other older cartridge based games.  This is especially helpful if have an original Nintendo Entertainment System and want to fix your Legend of Zelda, Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, or Tecmo Super Bowl carts.  There are way too many games that use batteries than we can list for these systems.  If you have one with a battery, chances are this method will work just fine.

Q:  Can I use a solderless method instead of soldering the batteries back into place?
A:  Most people don’t know how to solder and don’t have any friends who do either.  While we admire those people who can restore their games through the process of soldering, we want to teach this simple and effective method that most anyone can do.  In our opinion, our no solder method involves less risk of having a person who is new to video game repair hurt themselves or the game cartridge.  Plus, we’ve been pretty happy with the success of the no soldering method.

Q:  How do I open my game cartridge?
A:  Many games require security bits to open them.  We suggest using a  VGM Gold 3.8mm Security Bit.

Q:  Do I really need a security bit to open my cartridge?
A:  Using the correct tool is definitely the easiest and safest way to open your cartridge.  However, others have gotten creative in using thin needle nosed pliers, tweezers, and even modified Bic Pens.  I’ve even heard of a guy (@roxas8137) using a Dremel tool to carve a flat slot in the screw for a normal screwdriver. We suggest getting a security bits since they’re cheap, easy to use, and have lowest risk of scratching or damaging your game.  Note: We also strongly discourage the use of dynamite, chainsaws or pet saber-toothed tigers in opening your game cart as these tend to damage the internal components.

Q:  How long can I expect my battery to last?
A:  The easiest way to figure this out would be to take the year the game was released and to subtract that from the year the battery died.  Speaking in broad terms though, the original batteries in games like Pokemon Gold (generally using CR2025) seemed to last 10-12 years or more.  Amazingly, original batteries in The Legend of Zelda NES cartridges (generally using CR2032) have been know to last 25+ years!  Everything seems to depend on the size of the battery (larger CR2032>CR2025>CR2016>CR1616 smaller), the quality, and the amount of drain placed on the battery.  Regarding drain, games with a continuous clock or items like a Dreamcast’s VMU are always drawing power from the battery. However, a Legend of Zelda Cart simply uses its battery to maintain the saved game.  If you replace your battery, it won’t last forever, but you can probably get a good number of years out of it.

Q:  Can I put a CR2032 battery into a game that previously had a CR2025?
A:  I always like to replace with the exact same battery type that it originally used.  Both the CR2032 and CR2025 are 3V batteries. In my understanding, the main difference is that the CR2032 is 3.2mm in thickness and the CR2025‘s is 2.5mm in thickness.  Additionally, the CR2032 should give longer battery life.  Proceed at your own risk if you’re going to mismatch batteries.  But…we’d gladly use the larger battery for our own games.

Q:  I tried to replace my battery, and it isn’t working.  What did I do wrong?
A1:  Make sure that the battery is in correctly (Positive matching + and Negative matching -).
A2:  Sometimes it helps to wrap a thin strip of electrical tape around the edge of the battery.  This can help to prevent a metal contact from touching both the battery’s positive and negative sizes simultaneously.
A3:  Try cleaning the game and board.  The metal contacts most commonly need cleaning.  We suggest using a Qtip or cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol or WD-40 to clean the contacts.
A4:  Are you certain that your game worked in the first place?  If your little brother dropped it in the toilet 15 years ago and you’re hoping this will get it to work, chances are your game will still have issues.

Your Feedback:

We would love your feedback!  Please comment on the YouTube video or Facebook with your questions and comments.  Thanks!

Introducing the 3.8mm VGM Gold Security Screwdrive​​r Bit

After months of design, engineering and production, we’re happy to announce our new 3.8mm VGM Gold Security Screwdrive​​r Bit!

Get your 3.8mm VGM Gold Security Bit on Amazon or eBay

We’re demonstrating all the different types of cartridges a 3.8mm VGM Gold Security bit can open. This is perfect for opening your retro gaming collection for cleaning, battery replacement, and repairs.

3.8MM VERSION OPENS:

  • Original NES Nintendo game cartridges
  • Super Nintendo game cartridges
  • Nintendo 64 game cartridges
  • Original Game Boy game cartridges
  • Game Boy Color game cartridges
  • Virtual Boy game cartridges
  • Sega Game Gear game cartridges

QUALITY:

  • Durable strong hardened steel
  • Heat treated for maximum strength
  • Length is about 7.6 cm (~3 inches)
  • Gold colored for identification and corrosion resistance
  • Precision engineered teeth fit tightly
  • Pattern: 3.8mm Female 6 Node (6-Pointed Star)
  • Fit any 1/4″ hex hand tool receiver
  • Made in the USA

We’ve worked hard to offer the highest quality screwdriver security bits on the market. We’d rather offer a top quality item once rather than ask people to continuously replace low quality imitations.  We feel we’ve done just that and our proud that these are made 100% in the United States.  This gives us highest quality control, top quality, and supports American jobs.

Get your 3.8mm VGM Gold Security Bit on Amazon or eBay

Protecting Your Boxed NES SNES & N64 Games: Clear Plastic Box Protectors

With the Video Game Museum collection steadily growing, we’ve been working on our methods for preserving our collection.  Just like collecting comic books and baseball cards, a good collection has to be handled with care and properly protected.

NES Box Protectors on Amazon & NES Box Protectors on eBay

Our goal at VideoGameMuseum.com is to provide the best repair tools and preservation materials possible to retro gamers.  With that in mind, we’ve custom designed custom NES, SNES & N64 box protectors to beautifully fit and protect original game boxes. They fit in smoothly and snugly with just enough extra empty space for the best protection. (Certain NES games from independent manufacturers like Color Dreams run larger and won’t fit.) These cases are perfect for protecting your favorite boxed and sealed original Nintendo NES, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64 games.  Cool thing is that SNES & N64 game boxes are the same size, so that model will work for both boxes.  See photos for a closer look.

QUALITY FEATURES:

  • Archival Grade PET Plastic
  • Strong 12 Gauge Thickness
  • Locking Tab Design
  • Crystal Clear Clarity
  • Scratch-Resistant Coating
  • Acid Free Plastic
  • BPA, Lead & Phthalate free

VIDEO GAME MUSEUM ARCHIVAL QUALITY: Each of our boxes is Video Game Museum branded so that you know you’re getting the highest quality product possible. These are manufactured in Canada using materials created in the USA. (Most other sellers cut corners by buying from Chinese suppliers and cannot guarantee our level of production or material quality. That’s not a risk we want to take with our collection, so we want to offer only the best to our customers’ collections.)

NES Box Protectors on Amazon & NES Box Protectors on eBay

SNES & N64 Box Protectors on Amazon & SNES & N64 Box Protectors on eBay

 

 

Replacing N64 Controller’s Joystick with Original Styled Replacement

If you’ve owned and loved an N64, you probably have a few worn out joysticks.  In addition to our GameCube-styled replacement N64 joystick, we’ve found an option that feels and looks a lot more like the original.

If you’ve seen our other N64 joystick repair video, this process is pretty similar.  Here’s another great option!  It’s made by RepairBox and seems to have a solid design. The installation is still super easy.  Just make sure you have a Philips Head screwdriver handy and about 10 minutes of time.

Just let us know if you have questions, comments or any thoughts on this model of joystick.  Best of luck, and happy retro gaming!

Find one of these RepairBox joysticks on Amazon.

Warning: Proceed at your own risk and be careful when doing any repairs.

Nintendo 64-Joystick-RepairBox-Replacement-Part

N64-Joystick-RepairBox-Comparison

Replacing N64 Expansion Covers

wheelbarrow-gnome-400pxWe all know about the gnome who steals socks out of our laundry.  But have you heard about his pixel-hungry buddy who steals battery covers off of Game Boys?  How about his neighbor who snatches expansion covers off of old N64 systems?

pikachu-N64-system

Time to fight back!

We’ll be carrying several colors of replacement expansion covers for the Nintendo 64.  Yup, we’ll be keeping the retro gaming world dust free by carrying the original Gray, Jungle Green, Pikachu Blue, and Atomic Purple versions of these little missing lids.  If these do well, we’ll be happy to get more colors produced in time.

Nintendo-64-System-Jungle-Green

Ok, so here’s the funny part.  Nintendo made an Atomic Purple N64 set, right?  What color was it?  Wait….think about it…hmmm.

Hmmm…so it really wasn’t a purple system.  But it did come with a sweet Atomic Purple controller that kicked off the numerous “funtastic” variants that Nintendo released in controllers and systems.

Atomic Purple expansion covers, really?  Yup.  Why? Because yellow would have been silly.  Seriously though, we figure these will give people a great opportunity to continue the custom mix-and-match process of customizing their N64.  We all did it with controllers as a kid.  Why not the system?  Would the system in the box below look better with an Atomic Purple expansion lid?  Would that same lid also look sweet on a colored system?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, you understand.  If not, gray is definitely available too. Modders, here’s one more color to toy around with.

N64-Atomic-Purple-System

 

 

 

 

 

People were asking how closely the colors match the originals, so we figured we’d give you a better look.

Happy retro gaming!

 

The Glory of the Neo Geo MVS Arcade!

Growing up in small-town America, the local roller rink was a kid’s dream. Not only could we roller skate to Ghost Busters and fall dead to a weird “Dead Bug” song, but it was the only place in town with an arcade.

The Neo Geo Romance Begins

In an era dominated by the beloved NES, arcade machines stood tall and maintained command of our curiosity and our quarters. Within the dazzling array of arcade machines, the Neo Geo created a lasting impression on me as a 10 year-old. Not only could this machine produce deeply rich visuals, but it provided fantastic, engaging game play!  Just as incredible as the Neo Geo was, we kids were equally intrigued by the idea that some rich kid could own a home version. Yet with a price tag of around $650.00, we kids simply placed the Neo Geo into the ethereal category of unattainable gaming systems.  Naturally, that made us all the more attracted to it. It was the holy grail, and the closest we’d ever come to owning a Neo Geo would be to plunk in our quarters and to buy a few minutes of time in front of our local Neo Geo MVS arcade machine.

Some twenty years later, with that same childhood dream still smoldering in the subconscious, I decided to start looking for a Neo Geo. After doing a bit of research, I realized that the Neo Geo MVS was a bit more reasonable to purchase than the home AES version.  Sure it’s a full sized arcade machine, but price and game selection won out! Armed with my trusty Craigslist app, I checked for Neo Geo items every day for about a six months before pulling the trigger…and I couldn’t be happier!

Apparently this particular MVS had a tough life in east county San Diego.  However, the previous owner Lou took incredible pride in restoring this machine:  painted, new decals, new joystick, buttons, plexiglass, locks, etc.  Heck, he’d even added high-end cup holders to the sides (‘atta boy!). The price was right, and Lou was even cool enough to help set it up once a buddy and I trucked it over.

Moving the Service Panel

One mod that Lou hadn’t finished was the service panel mod.  He had cut a 6″x6″ hole, moved the service panel to the side, and horizontally mounted it. The hole was cut quite well actually, so the door he recommended I order worked quite nicely.

Due to the depth of the door, I had to flip the panel’s mounting bracket inside out and mount it vertically so that it wouldn’t hit the door.  Aside from my questionable paint job, it came out quite nicely…so pretty.

Lessons Learned

1) I seriously need to work on my painting skills.

2) Having purchased and collected countless retro gaming items and having experienced the onset of buyer’s remorse more than a few times, I have to say that my MVS has become a favorite purchase and a solid continued sense of entertainment!

3)  If you buy an MVS, introduce your wife or significant other to Puzzle Bobble.  It turns out my wife both loves this game and is able to consistently destroy me in it.  As they say, happy wife…happy life…and happy collecting! 🙂

Easily Repair Your Pokemon Game Boy Color Cartridge

Want to repair your Pokémon Game Boy Color cartridge?  Here’s our super easy guide for fixing your game and getting it to save again.

FAQ

Q:  Why can’t I save my game on my old Pokémon Game Boy Color cartridge?
A:  Before game systems saved games on flash memory and hard drives, games relied on lithium batteries to maintain saved games.  Unfortunately, when that battery dies, so does the saved game.  It’s sort of like taking the battery out of your watch.  Once the battery is gone, the watch loses the time.

Q:  My cartridge lets me save the game, but when I turn it on later the saved game is gone.  Is my battery dead?
A:  Yes, without a working battery, the game will attempt to save and then lose the saved game data after you power off your Game Boy.  Bummer, huh?!

Q:  Which Pokémon games does this repair method address?
A:  We’ve used it to repair Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal, Red Version, Blue Version, and Yellow Version (Special Pikachu Edition).  It’ll also work for GBA versions too!

Q: My battery is dead.  Will replacing it restore my saved game?
A:  Unfortunately, when the battery dies, your saved game files are lost.

Q:  My battery is old but still working, is there any way to switch the battery without losing the game save?
A:  When you remove the battery, your saved game will be lost.  If you’re thinking about putting in a fresh battery, you should back up your saved game to a device like a Mega Memory Card.

Q:  What size battery do I need?
A:  Most likely, if you’re replacing a battery for a Pokemon Game Boy Color cartridge, you’ll need a CR2025 Lithium battery.  However, some cartridges originally used a CR2016.  When you remove the existing battery, you can check its labeling or for battery size information stamped on the board next to the battery.

Q:  Does this repair work for Game Boy Advance Pokémon games on the GBA?
A:  Yup, you can use the same method to repair Pokémon games for the GBA and GBA SP.  These include Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald versions.

Q:  Does this repair work for games of other systems?
A:  Yes, you can use the exact same method to repair games for the Original NES, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis, Game Boy Advance and other older cartridge based games.  This is especially helpful if have an original Nintendo Entertainment System and want to fix your Legend of Zelda, Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, or Tecmo Super Bowl carts.  There are way too many games that use batteries than we can list for these systems.  If you have one with a battery, chances are this method will work just fine.

Q:  Why do you use a solderless method instead of soldering the batteries back into place?
A:  Most people don’t know how to solder and don’t have any friends who do either.  While we admire those people who can restore their games through the process of soldering, we want to teach this simple and effective method that most anyone can do.  In our opinion, our no solder method involves less risk of having a person who is new to video game repair hurt themselves or the game cartridge.  Plus, we’ve been pretty happy with the success of the no soldering method.

Q:  How do I open my game cartridge?
A:  Many games require security bits to open them.  We suggest using a  VGM Gold 3.8mm Security Bit. Just check out our security tool and battery chart to figure out which one you need.

Q:  Do I really need a security bit to open my cartridge?
A:  Using the correct tool is definitely the easiest and safest way to open your cartridge.  However, others have gotten creative in using thin needle nosed pliers, tweezers, and even modified Bic Pens.  I’ve even heard of a guy (@roxas8137) using a Dremel tool to carve a flat slot in the screw for a normal screwdriver. We suggest getting a security bits since they’re cheap, easy to use, and have lowest risk of scratching or damaging your game.

Q:  How long can I expect my battery to last?
A:  The easiest way to figure this out would be to take the year the game was released and to subtract that from the year the battery died.  Speaking in broad terms though, the original batteries in games like Pokemon Gold (generally using CR2025) seemed to last 10-12 years or more.  Amazingly, original batteries in The Legend of Zelda NES cartridges (generally using CR2032) have been know to last 25+ years!  Everything seems to depend on the size of the battery (larger CR2032>CR2025>CR2016>CR1616 smaller), the quality, and the amount of drain placed on the battery.  Regarding drain, games with a continuous clock or items like a Dreamcast’s VMU are always drawing power from the battery. However, a Legend of Zelda Cart simply uses its battery to maintain the saved game.  If you replace your battery, it won’t last forever, but you can probably get a good number of years out of it.

Q:  Can I put a CR2032 battery into a game that previously had a CR2025?
A:  I always like to replace with the exact same battery type that it originally used.  Both the CR2032 and CR2025 are 3V batteries. In my understanding, the only difference is that the CR2032 is 3.2mm in thickness and the CR2025‘s is 2.5mm in thickness.  Additionally, the CR2032 should give longer battery life.  Proceed at your own risk if you’re going to mismatch batteries.

Q:  I tried to replace my battery, and it isn’t working.  What did I do wrong?
A1:  Make sure that the battery is in correctly (Positive matching + and Negative matching -).
A2:  Sometimes it helps to wrap a thin strip of electrical tape around the edge of the battery.  This can help to prevent a metal contact from touching both the battery’s positive and negative sizes simultaneously.
A3:  Try cleaning the game and board.  The metal contacts most commonly need cleaning.  We suggest using a Qtip or cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol or WD-40 to clean the contacts.

Q:  Do I have to use electrical tape?
A:  Electrical tape is nonconductive (does not conduct electricity) and is quite inexpensive to purchase.  If you don’t already own some, we strongly suggest purchasing some from your local hardware store.

Q:  I broke one of the brackets off.  What do I do now?
A:  Bummer, but you’re not out of luck.  You’ll need to solder it back on.  If you do some searching on YouTube, you’ll find videos showing you the soldering method.

Your Feedback:

We would love your feedback!  Please comment below with your questions and comments.  Thanks!