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!
We 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?
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.
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.
People were asking how closely the colors match the originals, so we figured we’d give you a better look.
Philips = Philips head screwdriver
Tri-wing = Tri-wing head screwdriver 1Bit may not be long enough to reach screws without removing plastic 2Works for most games 3Check game’s internal circuit board to identify the battery needed. It should be labeled either “CR2025” or “CR2016“. 4The Sega Dreamcast’s VMU requires the use of two (2) CR2032 batteries.
If a person played the N64 back in the day, chances are they logged about a billion hours between Goldeneye and Mario Kart. I was finishing up high school just as the N64 was taking off, and my buddies and I were no exception to the Nintendo 64 craze. Heck, given the number of hours in which we brutalized each other with banana peels and proximity mines, you could argue that we actually loved the N64 to death: literally.
The N64 was a fantastic system; however, it had one fatal flaw: the controller. Specifically, the first-party controllers that Nintendo supplied had the wimpiest joystick on the market. As a person used the joystick, the axis inside would literally wear away. The more it wore, the harder you had to push the joystick, which, in turn, wore down the joystick even faster. The only joystick that I can think of with such a huge failure rate is the Atari 5200′s. What’s strange is that during the time of the N64, Sega Saturn’s “3D” joystick was a pretty good item. Maybe Nintendo was afraid of seeming too much like Sega. For whatever reason they chose the design they did, we know the end of the story: joystick failure.
Nintendo’s Joystick Fix?
What was Nintendo’s solution to this issue? They issued controllers in every color under the sun. Heck, if kids got their parents to buy more controllers, then it would prolong the life of the joysticks that the kids already had. And of course, the argument could be made that there were great 4-players games for the N64. Thus, the additional purchases made sense. Or at least it made sense if you weren’t the fourth kid to show up for a session of Bond. Yup, being the last to arrive meant you got stuck with that horrid failure of a thumbstick that everyone else rejected.
We kids were quick to learn to pull apart our controllers to swap the better joysticks into the cooler controllers. That’s why you’ll see so many mismatched controller casings. But this process of cannibalizing controllers certainly wasn’t a solution.
I fix up a ton of games and systems, but for the longest time I was stumped by the issue of Nintendo 64 joysticks. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and scanned forums for repair tips. Some people suggested repairs using layers of Scotch tape. Others had complicated tricks for transplanting joysticks from other non-N64 controllers and then essentially hiring an electrical engineer buddy to make the two compatible. I’d even experimented with a process of resurfacing the worn parts with surfboard resin or clear fingernail polish, but neither of these seemed to work well.
Finally, I found a good supplier for a quality joystick. We’ve started to carry that joystick, and I have to say that the case is now closed on the issue. The replacement joystick feels much more like the Game Cube or Dreamcast’s joysticks, and I honestly wish Nintendo had started with these in the first place.
The “how to” video below demonstrates the installation of these joysticks, and it’s pretty straight forward. All you need is a Philips-head screwdriver, about 5-10 minutes of time, and a little patience. No soldering is involved in this installation process, and once everything is unscrewed, you’ll literally unplug the old joystick and plug in the new one.
Feel free to contact us with any questions by commenting below or buy using our contact page.
Game Cleaning Tips: Restoring the Outside of your Retro Gaming Cartridge
We all know the joy of finding a retro video games. Perhaps it’s one you’ve wanted to play for a long time, or maybe you’ve finally hunted down a super rare one for the collection. Unfortunately, 20+ year old games are rarely in top condition. I’d like to go over some tips for cleaning the outside of your retro gaming carts. (If you want to clean the game’s contacts inside, check out our internal cleaning guide.)
I’ve cleaned hundreds if not thousands of NES, SNES, N64, Genesis, and other retro game cartridges. While that often means just a quick touch up, many times it’s involved super extensive marker, dirt, and sticker removal. Murphy’s Law suggests that the rarer the game, the more likely it is that someone will have put a name, sticker, or some other horror on the label. Anyway, through trial & error, talking with fellow gamers, collectors, game store owners, and people at pawn shops, I feel like I’ve learned quite a bit. I’m always open to your tips and suggestions. This guide covers some of the wisdom 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 if you have grime in the cracks between the game’s casing, etc. 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, N64, and Game Boy 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.
CLEANING THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR GAME
First things first, grab a couple rags and your favorite cleaning supplies. As you’re looking around, here’s what I suggest:
Old Tooth Brush
Removing Dirt: Spray a rag with Windex or some similar sort of cleaner, and start scrubbing that plastic. Just be careful not the wet the game’s label. If the label itself is dirty, you can still attempt to clean (with caution). If the label still has its gloss finish, you’ll probably be ok. If it’s more of a worn and faded matte finish, be especially careful. Oh yeah, you can use a dry or slightly moistened old tooth brush to clean dust and grit out of those harder to reach places on the cartridge.
Removing Magic Marker: It’s pretty common to find a person’s name written in magic marker on old games. People did this to prevent games from getting mixed up during sleepovers, etc., but it’s a big eye-sore now. Your main two tools for removing magic marker are magic erasers and rubbing alcohol.
Magic Eraser: If you’re using a magic eraser, just lightly moisten it, and start scrubbing. Since this is basically a specialized sponge, be careful not to let the water run from the sponge onto anything that might be damaged.
Rubbing Alcohol: If you’re going to use rubbing alcohol, just moisten an area of your rag, and start rubbing the ink/marker covered area. Given time, these two methods should remove most marker and probably any nearby dirt.
Removing Stickers & Tape: Lots of game stores & rental places put stickers on games. Dealing with these is probably the worst part of cleaning games. Use extra caution (and a ton of patience) when removing with stickers. Here are a few methods for removing stickers:
Peel & Scream: Well, this is the obvious method and definitely the worst one. Sort of like taking off a band-aid, you can grab a hold of that sticker, peel it fast, and pray for the best. Extra prayer is recommended if the sticker is on a label, since prayer is about the only thing preventing this method from destroying the game’s label underneath. In reality, you shouldn’t use this method unless the sticker is on a safe area of the game’s plastic.
Windex: Using Windex you can lightly moisten the surface of the sticker. Let it sit for a minute or two. The Windex should soften up the sticker over time and will let you scrape it away with a fingernail. As a note, this method is extra risky if the sticker is on the game’s label. Additionally, it obviously doesn’t work on waterproof stickers, vinyl stickers, etc.
Blow Dryer: It turns out that blow dryers (aka in man-speak as “heat guns”) are pretty awesome for removing stickers. The idea is to use hot air to heat up the sticker. The sticker’s glue generally starts to soften and loosen up when heated. When done just right, that means you’ll hopefully be able to simply heat and peel off the sticker. The trick here is tons of patience. A stubborn sticker may need to be heated, partially peel, reheated, peeled a little more, reheated, etc. Since thrift stores seem to love using packing tape to bundle items, this method is pretty good for removing that sort of material as well.
Goo Gone: Once the sticker is off, it’s time to get rid of any sticker residue. Goo Gone is great for this. Just apply a little to your cleaning cloth and start working on that goo.
If you haven’t already, check out our YouTube videos for cleaning & repair tips. If you want to clean your game’s internal contacts, check out our internal cleaning guide. Best of luck as you’re restoring your retro gaming collection, and happy retro gaming!
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 Amazon and eBay stores for rare vintage games and cartridge opening bits. Most of all, happy collecting and have fun!
Having an incredible video game collection is one thing…displaying it is quite another. eBay seller ubben52 has one of the most impressive sets of Nintendo branded store display cases that I’ve seen on eBay. These photos speak for themselves…
Need a Mario Phone? How about a Vectrex kiosk or a Virtual Boy sign?
You’ve got to love eBay and the fantastic and unique gaming items listed this week. Here’s a collection of my favorites:
FACTORY SEALED nes Chubby Cherub CIB new +box nintendo
neo geo aes metal slug 5 usa excellent ultra rare!!
Pikmin 2 Nintendo Gamecube Countertop Display RARE
E.T. Atari Game Video Store Display Mobile 1982 Sealed
RARE Age of Empires III Game Promo Ship Store Display
Mario Nintendo Custom Bomb Omb Art Sculpture Galaxy The beauty of paper mâché…
Nintendo Game Boy Color Store Display Kiosk
Rare XBOX 360 Large Neon Sign
RARE Nintendo Neon Sign
AMAZING VECTREX DISPLAY STAND PROTOTYPE – VERY RARE !!!
AMAZING SEGA GAME DISPLAY STAND PROTOTYPE – VERY RARE I have a semi-respectable Vectrex collection and would love to have the space and cash for this gem.
AMAZING SEGA DISPLAY STAND PROTOTYPE – VERY RARE !!!
RARE NINTENDO VIRTUAL BOY STORE DISPLAY SIGN INBOX
Rare Nintendo Gamecube 35mm film trailer Metroid/Mario
Nintendo Game Cube Stand Up Store Display Game System
Sega Saturn Nights into Dreams Poster Promo Rare 120 120-Games.com is selling this and other items for the 100% benefit of the American Breast Cancer Foundation.
Mario Kart Telephone This may not be the rarest item, but it makes up for it in sheer awesomeness. Apparently in Mario’s car phone was just as absurdly large…just like in the early days of cell phones in real-people land…