Gaming at the 2013 San Diego Fair

San Diego Fair Sign Custom (1)Game On Gaming Area (13)Star Trek Captain Kirk's Chair Tribble

If you live in the San Diego area and love gaming, today is the last day to Game On at the San Diego Fair!  Besides all the rides, great food, pig races, and other goofy fair stuff, this year’s theme was perfect for us electronically minded folks.

Our favorite part?

Collections!  Little did we know that the Fair allows people to display their collections.

Hand-made Items!  Created by adults and students, we were blown away by the talent and creativity of these gaming-inspired creations.

Retro Arcade!  Let’s be honest, shouldn’t every fair have a retro arcade?


Our First SC3!

Either someone put a flux capacitor into my Honda Accord, or a group of collectors in Southern California just gathered for some serious retro gaming. My wife Amber and I just attend our first SC3 meeting. For those of you who are new to the Southern California Classic Collectors group like me, let me fill you in. A bunch of private collectors bring together a fantastic, and I mean freak’n fantastic, assortment of their retro arcade machines and home consoles. For $10 each, Amber and I had unlimited playtime on machines like Zoo Keeper, Cosmic Chasm, Jungle King, Paperboy, Tron, Satan’s Hollow, Gorf, Burger Time…and the list goes on!

Our favorites were easily Warlords and Turkey Shoot! I’d love to meet the guy who invented Turkey Shoot. If you’re unfamiliar with it, here’s the deal. Turkeys are robbing banks, and you have to shoot them before they get sacks of money off the screen. Naturally, you get hand grenades and, yes, a “gobble” button. If that wasn’t great enough, after you die, a fan blows real feathers in front of the screen. Yup, awesome.

Warlords was pretty great too. I’m a big fan of Rampart and would simply describe Warlords and a fast-paced mix of Rampart and 4-player Pong. This seemed to be one of the most popular and socially interactive machines on the floor! Great machine!

We had a little sale table at the event. It was great to sell some video game repair tools and to chat with other collectors. However, I was happy to know that people at SC3 function on an honor system with buying and trading. That meant we didn’t have to camp out at our table and spent a majority of our time out on the arcade floor!

Mike Kennedy of did a pretty great raffel in which every ticket holder got a prize.  Well done Mike!

SC3 was a hit, and we’re already looking forward to the next one!


Cleaning Games (Internal)

Game Cleaning Secrets Compared: Get Those Old Video Game Cartridges Working!

Perhaps you’re a retro video game hunter and collector. You find super rare game and get home only to find that game contains 20 years of dirt and corrosion on the contacts. Or maybe you’ve just realized that blowing in your NES carts doesn’t help but only makes you feel better…

While treasure hunting at one of my favorite pawn shops, I was talking with the owner who explained to me that for the past twenty years he’s been trading kids their dirty games for his cleaned ones. This guide covers some of the wisdom he shared with me and some other game cleaning tricks I’ve learned along the way. As always, proceed at your own risk and do your research and safe testing before trying to clean your rarer games.


First off, it’s handy to be able to open the games. This generally isn’t 100% necessary, but it’s insanely helpful for those stubborn games. Additionally, it’s quite useful if you ever want to change your video game’s battery in order to regain saved game functionality. There are two main bits that you’ll want to pick up if you’re a collector. Both of these bits fit into your standard screwdriver handle. Additionally, both game opening security bits can be purchased at our eBay store.

3.8mm Game Security Bit allows you to open your Original 8-bit NES, SNES, and N64 video game cartridges. If’ you’re an old school Nintendo game collector like me, this is a must have.

4.5mm Game Security Bit allows you to open your Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, and Game Cube consoles. Additionally, it’ll allow you to open your Sega console and Sega Genesis & Mega Drive game cartridges.




Whether or not you decide to open your games, you’re going to have two best friends. The first is a good brand of Q-tips. I personally will only use name brand Q-tips, because every cheap brand I’ve tried have too weak of necks. With any of these cleaners, I lightly moisten a Q-tip and, being careful to make sure the cleaner doesn’t run onto the circuit board, I give the game’s contacts a good scrubbing. Using the dry end of the Q-tip, I dry the contacts and repeat this process a couple times until I’m happy with the cleanliness of the contacts.

I’ve ranked mine cleaning solutions based on personal preference. (Remember to read the safety precautions on any cleaner before using it.)

My 1st Favorite: WD-40 Let’s face it, what can’t WD-40 do?! I love this stuff. I spray a little into the cap of the WD-40 can, lightly moisten a Q-tip, rub the contacts, and magic happens. Using this method, I’ve been able to clean all but a few of the most stubborn video game cartridges.

My 2nd Favorite: Electrical Contact Cleaner You’ve probably walked past it a hundred times without noticing it at your local Radio Shack or other electronic store. It turns out this is some pretty good stuff. Like WD-40 it’s quite effective at cleaning contacts. Unfortunately, I found the brand I bought to have stronger fumes, so my preference is for the WD-40.

My 3rd Favorite: Rubbing Alcohol If you didn’t know already, Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol is magic for taking marker off the plastic of video game cartridges. Be careful though, because it’ll take the ink off your label just as effectively. Just like the previous two cleaners, I’ve commonly used rubbing alcohol to clean the contacts of video games. I haven’t found it to be quite as effective as WD-40, but it does a pretty good job. Plus it’s cheap and probably already in your medicine cabinet.

My 4th Favorite: Copper/Brass Cleaner Now and then you’ll see people on eBay advertise their games as “polished.” Often, they say they have a “secret” method. Chances are it’s simply their favorite brand of brass or copper polish. The stuff does a fantastic job cleaning game contacts, but generally you’ll have to open the game to use this method. Thus, it’s quite a bit more labor intensive than other methods.

My 5th Favorite: Windex Some would argue that the Ammonia in Windex or other Window cleaners can damage your video games, so I’d stick with the other cleaners first. However, I believe Windex is magic for cleaning the outside of video games. Again, be careful around the label as it can remove ink. It seems to do an ok job of cleaning contacts.


Naturally, using a dry cleaning method is a bit safer. Overall, I find it less effective though, unless I’m opening a game to manually scrape corrosion off of the game’s contacts.

Eraser: Another fellow retro gamer suggested using a Staedtler Mars Plastic Erasers. He’s had great success cleaning games with these, and they post a fairly low risk of harming your games. Great suggestion Rudy!

Metal on Metal Scraping: After opening the game, (This is where that 3.8 mm or 4.5 mm bit comes in.) I gently scrape stubborn corrosion off of the game’s contacts. My favorite way to do this is with the edge of my 3.8mm bit itself as it’s already in my hand. Otherwise, I’ve used the edge of a key, a paperclip, etc. Just be careful not to damage the contact itself.

Dry Q-tip: Simply rubbing a dry Q-tip over the game’s contacts is a quick and easy want to get off a lot of the grit and grime. Often this can be done without even opening the game.

Emery Board: Yes guys, men and women can benefit from a manicurist’s emery board. As it’s essentially sandpaper on a stick, when used gently, it can be used to remove stubborn corrosion.

Fiberglass Pen: A fellow collector friend of mine swears by fiberglass pens. He opens the game and cleans it without ever needing to use a solvent. He swears by it since many people use them to clean circuit boards, but it’s a bit too time intensive for my taste.


I hope this guide will give you some ideas for cleaning your cartridge based video game collection. If you have any cleaning tips or suggestions for this guide, just send me a message or post a comment below, and I’ll be happy to add them.

As with any guide, experiment and find out what works for you. Feel free to check out the Video Game Museum eBay store for rare vintage games and cartridge opening bits. Most of all, happy collecting and have fun!

Sales for February: Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, & Intellivision

Here are the February sales. I’ve also added a new Clearance category to my eBay store.  I’ll going to keep repricing and adding older listings to that category, so keep an eye on it if you want a deal.  Happy retro gaming & collecting! –Mark

February Retro Video Game Sales:

    Use to Save an Addition 8%

    Every time I use eBay to buy a Fixed Price item now, I use It’s simply nuts that they offer this deal. On top of my sales, you can take an additional 8% off using (Yeah, that means 10% becomes 18%!). Check out my YouTube walkthrough if you haven’t done this before:

    Sale on Systems, Original Nintendo NES, Super SNES, N64, Atari, Dreamcast & More!

    Here are some of my pre-holiday sales that should make some retro gamers happy!  Time to do some Christmas shopping!  (I’m excited to have pulled together two fully working Sega Genesis 32X systems, so definitely check those out if you’re a Sega fan!) Discounts on eBay:  On Sale Now!

    Use to Save an Addition 8%

    Every time I use eBay to buy a Fixed Price item now, I use  It’s simply nuts that they offer this deal.  On top of my sales, you can take an additional 8% off using (Yeah, that means 30% becomes 38%!). Check out my YouTube walkthrough if you haven’t done this before:

    Retro Gaming Holiday Sales

    Black Friday Sales for Retro Gamers?

    Everyone knows about the sales offered on current generation video games, but maybe you’re an old-school gamer and are more interested in retro gaming & collecting.  Here’s a list of the sales I’ve come across for vintage video games like the original 8-bit Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Atari, etc.: eBay Store

    On top of these sales, take an additional 8% off using (Yeah, that means 15% becomes 23%!).  Check out my YouTube walkthrough if you haven’t done this before:

    20% off any games & systems in stock with promo code “Holiday09”


    50% off storewide sale!  Might as well go to the source for vintage gaming & other retro radness since most of us have a Goodwill in our area.

    Check the Goodwill Store Locator to verify the sale for your area.

    Other Retro Gaming Deals?

    Know of any other retro video game sales?  Please comment or e-mail me.  Happy holidays, collecting, and retro gaming!

    Rare Video Game Collectibles on eBay: Intellivision, Atari, and Sega Prototypes, Nintendo Signs, and Other Retro Stuff

    Here’s a bunch of collectible video game stuff that I’m currently watching on eBay.   People have a ton of great stuff listed right now…maybe because the holiday season is coming up or maybe people are just hard up.  Either way, it looks like you can find rare video games surfacing for about any vintage system right now.  Happy eBaying and collecting!

    Video Game Collectibles:

    1982 ticket DISNEYs TRON Video Game Tournament +paper

    1989 Super Mario Bros 2 Nintendo of America Glass NR

    Nintendo Power Lunch Box Super Mario & Zelda From 1989!

    Vintage NINTENDO NES Store Display Lighted Sign

    Vintage 1982 Tomy Pac-Man Water Game & Box Arcade Video

    NINTENDO Nes BUTTON PIN Second Amendment -Custom Design

    AVGN KO Boxing Video Game Cover

    Dragon’s Lair Dirk Animation Cel Don Bluth video game



    Rare Retro Games, Prototypes, Demo Carts, etc.:

    RED DEMONSTRATION Cartridge – Intellivision, VERY RARE!

    4-TRIS Intellivision: Philly Classic Version! Complete Limited edition Intellivision homebrew game cart, which is obviously Tetris for the Intellivision!




    Atari 2600 Promotional Use Only System ” LOOKS NEW ”

    Mondu’s Fight Palace Sega Genesis RARE RELEASE PROTO

    Tecmo Super Bowl Sega Genesis PROTOTYPE game proto RARE


    Nintendo NES Flintstones Surprise At Dinosaur Peak CIB

    Super Off Road Sega Genesis Game SAMPLE COPY rare proto

    Warsong Sega Genesis Game PROTO RARE war song sample

    Collect sealed Sega Dreamcast games?  eBay seller jfrost0809 has a bunch!  Nothing too rare, but a great chance to fill out a collection in one shot.

    Reproduction Carts:

    These can be purchased from various websites for about $25 each, but are cool to find here on eBay.
    4 nes games lot earth worm Jim 2 3 bubble bath babes…

    Xybots for nes Tengen mint very very rare

    1990 Nintendo World Championships Repro Cartridge # 253 (You can find these on

    Recently Ended:

    Nintendo World Championship VIP Guest Sticker 1990 (Sold by kofcrayon on eBay for $17.37 USD on Oct. 10, 2009)

    Rare Video Game Stuff on eBay: Atari Music Machine, Super Star Fox Weekend Jacket, NES Promotional Rep Items and Other Collectibles

    Currently on eBay:

    The Music Machine (for Atari 2600) Insanely rare and sealed!

    * RARE Nintendo Star Fox Super Weekend Jacket and Pen *

    Nintendo World Championship VIP Guest Sticker 1990 Quite yellowed with age, but an interesting find.

    The Simpsons Hit & Run Video Game Promotional Ball Cap Pretty cheap and cool looking.  The seller is only asking about $14.00 USD including s/h.

    110 in 1 for NES very rare and great games Good ole’ NES multi-carts

    You’ve got to see this stuff: eBay seller thethingsifind has an incredible number of auctions up for Nintendo collectibles and promotional items that were given to NES reps.  Definitely take a look at these if you’re a Nintendo collector. Here are a few examples:

    Nintendo Prototype Transparency Package Sample Rare

    Nintendo Employee Coffee Mug Pen Lot Rare Original MINT

    Nintendo Store Sign Display LOT Pokemon Banjo Rare MINT

    This guy has a ton more interesting stuff up.  Check out his other Nintendo video game collectibles here.

    Interesting auctions that recently ended on eBay:

    Stadium Mud Buggies – rare Intellivision game (Sold on eBay for $310 USD on Oct 25, 2009)

    SONY PLAYSTATION 2 Development TOOL PS2 DEV KIT RARE (Sold on eBay for $697 USD on Oct 27, 2009)

    1983 Don Bluth Animation Flip Book Dragon’s Lair (Sold on eBay for $13.48 USD on Oct. 26, 2009)