After months of design, engineering and production, we’re happy to announce our new 3.8mm VGM Gold Security Screwdriver 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
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
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.
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 GameGavel.com 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!
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!
It looks like the world is a step closer to Super Nintendo euphoria! Hyperkin has just posted preliminary product details and a price for their new Super Nintendo handheld: The SupaBoy.
It’s looking like retail price will be $79.99. Not bad if you consider you’re getting both a handheld and a home console in one. Both their NES handheld FC Mobile II and their Sega Genesis handheld Gen Mobile are priced at $59.99, so that’s certainly in the same ballpark. We’ll see if the price comes down over time to match those units’ pricing.
When I interviewed Sergio at Hyperkin a couple weeks ago, this new handheld announcement was in prototype form. Hyperkin’s posting pricing information seems to be a positive sign that things are moving forward.
They’ve posted some specifications that carry the following disclaimer “The following details were gathered by testing a prototype. Hyperkin does not guarantee the following features.” Even the photo currently posted by Hyperkin is watermarked “PROTOTYPE.”
From Hyperkin’s description:
Screen size (diagonal): 3.5 inches
5.5 Hours battery life (tested only once without sound)
Measures: 8.5 x 4 x 1.5 inches
Weight: 11.5 ounces
Adjustable volume control
Innovative cartridge lock feature
Two seven-pin controller ports
Tested compatible original hardware:
Nintendo SNES controller
Nintendo Super Scope
Nintendo Mario Paint Mouse
In short – everything we’ve plugged into the controller ports has worked
Compatible with Japanese Super Famicom Cartridges
Tested, Confirmed as Working
Super Mario RPG
Super Mario World
Donkey Kong Country
Noah’s Ark 3D
PAL (Europe) cartridges are untested
Whether it be on an iPhone, a PSP, or a new 3DS, it’s obvious that handheld gaming is at an all time high. It’ll be interesting to see how such a gaming climate treats the newest kid on the block: The SupaBoy. My feeling is that the retro gaming and collecting world seems to be in for a treat. Naturally, this is a niche item, but I for one can’t wait to get my hands on it. Heck, I’m still amazed that Hyperkin is dedicated enough to the retro scene to develop systems like this.
Want proof of a company dedicated to retro gaming? Hyperkin is announcing a new SNES handheld! Yes, that’s about 20 years after the release of the original Super Nintendo!
As soon as I heard about this project, I lined up an interview with Sergio (aka “The Applemonkey“) from Hyperkin. As I spoke with him for a phone interview, Sergio had a fully-functional prototype in hand, but he wanted to make it clear that changes could be made by the time Hyperkin releases its final product.
Mark: What’s the story on the name?
We’ll it’s called “SupaBoy.” It has a little bit of a big feel to it. We were thinking it’s big, so maybe we’ll call it “big boy.” But then everything would think restaurant. Someone was like, it’s a Super Nintendo, so let’s get the Super name in there. Let’s call it “Super Boy,” and that became “SupaBoy.” Everyone liked it, so it stuck.
Mark: What motivated Hyperkin to create a SNES handheld/home console?
Hyperkin has the FC Mobile II (NES) and Gen Mobile (Sega Genesis). It was time for us to do a Super Nintendo mobile.
Mark: What can you tell me about the “SupaBoy Portable Video Game System?”
Sergio: Our previous systems have wireless controllers with them. Those are great, but if you lose a controller, it’s not like you have an extra one lying around. Most retro gamers have extra Super Nintendo controllers already. Offering actual controller ports allows people to use whatever controller they want.
Mark: That means you could use your favorite turbo controller with it.
Sergio: Exactly. Let’s say you’re playing by yourself and then you want to go to two- player mode. Just plug in the controllers, and hook it up to a TV, and you have a 2-player system.
Mark: Does it have to be hooked up to a TV for an external controller to work?
Sergio: Actually, you could prop it up and play it just as it is with them attached. Think car ride or bus or subway with a buddy.
Mark: What sort of AV outputs will the SupaBoy have?
Sergio: The system will have stereo speakers. The photo only shows one speaker. Plus, it’ll have an AV out jack right next to the power jack.
Mark: Will the AV output be stereo too?
Sergio: Yeah, it’ll end in your normal video and stereo RCA outputs.
Mark: You mentioned a power jack. Is this rechargeable?
Sergio: It’s rechargeable. So you don’t need to run around the house stealing batteries out of remotes and other controllers.
Mark: What’s battery life looking like?
Sergio: We’ve tested it for 5 to 5 1/2 hours of game play. And it looks good. It has a great LCD screen. It’s bright and crisp. The screen is 3.5 inches. Action and racing games stay pretty clear.
Mark: What games have you tested it with?
Sergio: Ha, first game I tested it with was Super 3D Noah’s Ark. I brought it in and the guys in the office were like, “Is that some sort of homebrew?”
Mark: That’s awesome!
Sergio: Yeah, what a goofy game. You get to shoot fruit into animals’ mouths. Anyway, I also tested it with Kirby’s Avalanche, F-Zero, Super Mario RPG, Star Fox, the Super Game Boy adapter, and a bunch of other games. So far we haven’t found any that haven’t worked.
Mark: How about PAL or Super Famicom games?
Sergio: We tested it on a couple Super Famicom games, and it worked. I’m really not sure about PAL stuff. I don’t have any PAL games. If you have any you want to send to me, I’ll test it out.
Mark: Sorry, I don’t have any either. Just a PAL Little Samson for the original NES. I’m guessing that the PAL/NTSC technology would be a no go, but I was just curious.
Mark: How about accessory compatibility?
Sergio: It’ll work with the Super Scope. You can set it up to play 5-man Bomberman or even use the Mario Paint mouse. It’ll obviously work with traditional Super Nintendo controllers.
Mark: You mentioned its feeling “big.” How’s it feel during testing?
Sergio: I have big hands, and I’d say it’s comfortable in hands of people with big hands. Plus, we had some girls try it out, and it seemed comfortable in female hands.
Sergio: Oh yeah, and it’ll have a cartridge lock feature. That way if you’re moving around while playing, it’ll help prevent tripping out the game.
Mark: That’s great! Let’s be honest. Lots of us move our hands when making Mario jump.
Sergio: Exactly. I love watching people do that! So the game cartridge lock will help prevent your game play from getting messed up if you do that.
Mark: How heavy is the SupaBoy?
Sergio: It’s currently about 11.5 ounces and feels lighter than a Game Gear.
Mark: What’s it come with?
Sergio: It comes with the system and a charger. I’ve had my FC Mobile II forever, and it’s pretty beat up now. I’m hoping we can release with some sort of a bag/case to slip it into.
Mark: So how long has it been in development?
Sergio: We’ve been working on it for over a year to a year and a half. We’ve gone through a lot of prototype drawings. Some looked more square, and we finally decided that we wanted it to look like a big controller.
Mark: Do you have a release date yet?
Sergio: Hopefully Summer 2011.
Mark: How about a retail price?
Sergio: No final price at this time. I’m guessing that’ll depend on what the final product looks like.
Mark: Given the option between buying an original SNES and a SupaBoy, why should a person buy a SupaBoy?
Sergio: Original is great…nostalgia is great. Lots of people are going to want to have an original SNES no matter what. As for the SupaBoy you have both portability and a home console in one. That makes it great for traveling, playing at home, or in field game cart testing.
Mark: It’s not a bad idea to have one with you if you’re thinking of buying an expensive game while out thrifting.
Sergio: Exactly. You’ll know on the spot if the game works or if it’s even the right game.
Mark: I’m curious, what’s with the Hyperkin dedication to retro gaming?
Back in the day before I worked for Hyperkin, I originally got to know about Hyperkin because of their dance pads. Then I started to notice their AC adapters, controllers, and systems. Hyperkin is growing both retro and current gen gaming items. Most mainline stores only carry current generation stuff. I shop at those, but I also love mom & pop (independent) game shops. Those sort of shops are committed to retro games, and since the demand is there they figure they’ll sell retro to have an edge over the big stores. Retro gaming is huge, so Hyperkin is able to sell both our retro and current gen stuff both here in the US and worldwide.
Mark: I’m sort of curious, what sells more at Hyperkin: retro or current gen accessories?
Sergio: It all depends on the stores that we’re dealing with. Both move in large amounts at different times. Even during hard economic times people are still playing games. Game’s have a lot of replay value.
Mark: Where will it be sold?
Sergio: Check out your favorite gaming store. If they don’t have it, ask them to order it or look online.
Mark: Sounds like a great console! I have to hand it to Hyperkin for their clear dedication to retro gaming. Working to create the SupaBoy is pretty awesome.
There are some real gems on eBay right now. Check out the life size Halo 2 statue and Atari Jaguar developers cart. My personal favorites: Patapon promo magnets and the Mario pipe phone…
MACS~ The Multi-Purpose Arcade Combat Simulator ~SNES~ (label damage) Currently a live auction on eBay with 0 bids given its near total label damage and starting bid of $39.95 USD.
M.A.C.S. Multi-Purpose Arcade Combat Simulator Version 1.1e 1993 SNES Game (label damage) Sold Sept. 30, 2010 for $71.01.
MACS Multi-Purpose Arcade Combat Simulator Version 1994.0 SNES Game Sold Sept. 30, 2010 for $71.01.
This is the “Basic Rifle Marksmanship Program” game used by the US Army to train soldiers using a low cost virtual shooting range before bringing them to a real shooting range. It’s interesting to see two of the version variations appear on eBay. I’d be curious to know how they differ.
Vectrex Homebrew Game V-Hockey
Atari Jaguar: Official Developer’s Flash Card Cart Currently at $245.03 GBP (Approx. $389.35 USD) with 4 days remaining on auction.
This is an auction for a screamingly rare Atari Jaguar Flash Cart. These were originally developed for a trial program Atari ran in Florida that was to allow gamers to ‘download’ games broadcast over the cable TV network. The games would then be downloaded to one of these cartridges, plugged into the Jaguar and played. Unfortunately this never amounted to anything due to the stupidly expensive hardware required (on top of the Jaguar, cart, TV and cable box!) – however the official developers realised how useful a reprogrammable cartridge could be and started using them internally. They were often used to take demo and beta games to trade shows, or to send to gaming magazines as review copies. When Atari folded at the end of the Tramiel era all remaining flash carts and development kits were recalled to Atari for destruction – only very few survived, and this is one of them!
For those of you interested in more recent gaming history, this is the flash cart on which I discovered the finished beta of Total Carnage – this game has now seen a widespread commercial release through Carl Forhan of Songbird Productions.
In use the flash carts are plugged into a computer with a parallel port cable and programmed with a game image using a program called FLASH.COM (which I will provide on request to the winning bidder). The cart contains 4MB of Flash memory (very, very expensive at 1994 prices!) – as there are no games larger than this, it allows any ROM to be loaded onto it. They are fantastic tools for testing out prototype, beta and unreleased games.
Super Metroid 1994 Promo Standee 6′ Samus Display Currently at $320.00 USD with 3 hours remaining on auction.
1990 NINTENDO SUPER MARIO BROTHERS Phone TELEPHONE Currently at $14.99 USD with 9 hours remaining on auction.
Vintage 1980’s Nintendo Service Sign
Nintendo NES 1983 Punch Out Winter Gloves These are pretty rad, but I keep on wondering why they’re gloves rather than red boxing glove shaped mittens. Perhaps that was a safety call by Nintendo…
Patapon Promo Magnet Set Sold Oct. 2, 2010 for $4.99 USD. Being a huge Patapon fan, I love seeing stuff like this! And what could be cooler than setting up a Patapon battle scene on your fridge?!
HALO MASTER CHIEF LIFE SIZE STATUE, ULTRA RARE 6+ FEET Sold Oct. 1, 2010 for $850.01 USD (+freight shipping).
IT IS A 1:1 SCALE REPLICA OF JOHN-117 WIELDING TWIN M7 SMGs. IT WAS CAST FROM AN ORIGINAL PROTOTYPE SCULPT DONE BY MARC AND GABY KLINNERT AT STUDIO OXMOX IN AUSTRALIA. IT WAS THEN PRODUCED BY MUCKLE MANNEQUINS IN GERMANY AND ONLY AVAILABLE TO EXCLUSIVE RETAIL LOCATIONS IN EUROPE THAT WERE PREPARING FOR THE LAUNCH OF HALO 2
THE STATUE IS CONSTRUCTED OF STURDY FIBERGLASS AND RESIN, WITH TOUGH STEEL CONNECTION JOINTS. THE ARMS MAY BE POSITIONED UP OR DOWN AND IT DISASSEMBLES INTO 8 PIECES PLUS A VERY LARGE BASE (NINE PIECES TOTAL). HEAD, HANDS/GUNS, ARMS, LEGS, MAIN BODY(HUGE).
NOS Nintendo Super Mario Bros.2 Rare Wind Up Toy MOC Mouser Sold Sept. 27, 2010 for $22.70 USD.
VTG Nintendo Super Mario Bros. Ice Capades 50th Flag Sold Sept. 29, 2010 for $12.50 USD.
I love eBay for being both a marketplace and a living museum of video game history! Here are the fantastic items that I’m watching this week.
CALTRON 6 IN 1 NINTENDO NES ORIGINAL GAME SEALED RARE
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Fortune Hunter Edition …why are the most expensive items often sold by zero feedback sellers. Is that (A) a guarantee that the listing is a scam, (B) simply a sign that someone wants to sell the item anonymously, or (C) some honest guy who simply never used eBay before?
SNES Donkey Kong Country Competition Complete Nintendo
Soap Panic CIB Famicom Bubble Bath Babes NES Complete
AV Pachi Slot Big Chance CIB Famicom Hot Slots NES
Unique Atari 2700 (2600) RC Stella Prototype Console You can read more about this console in the Atari Museum. Bidding still has about a day to go and this gem is going for $1,150.00 USD!
Unique Atari 2600 CX-2000 “Val” Prototype Console Also featured in the Atari Museum. Bidding still has about a day to go and this gem is already up to $2,500.00 USD!
SEGA Channel Hoodie
Atari Video Music model C-240 Innovative Leisure RARE!!
Lair Artbox Promotional Reel (Playstation 3, 2007)
Nintendo Super Mario Bros 1989 Puppet Kooler Cup Weird!
Nintendo Game Boy Advance Store Display Kiosk + Mario
Rare Mario Chain Chomp Soccer Ball Collectible Awesome…looks like these were used to promote Super Mario Strikers. Anyone know if these are actually rare or not?
VERY RARE Super Mario 2 Dixie Cup FULL SET 1989 For the Mario collector who has everything…
Nintendo Super Mario Bros 1989 Puppet Kooler Cup Weird! Yup, weird.
1980 PAC-MAN TELEPHONE IN COUNTER DISPLAY BOX WORKS! This is hands down the coolest phone I’ve ever seen. More photos are below…
Xbox Live 4′ Store Display Sign 360
Nintendo 64 N64 4′ x 10′ Store Display Sign
Nintendo Game Boy 4′ x 10′ Store Display Sign
Vintage Sega Genesis 4′ x 10′ Store Display Sign
Vintage Super Nintendo SNES 4′ x 10′ Store Display Sign
rare vintage Nintendo Gameboy fiber optic sign display
RARE 1996 Nintendo 64 Promo Banner Display Sign N64 Wii