No more MarioKart?
April 7, 2006 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Do I have to bury my N64?

About a year ago I bought a used Nintendo 64 (Ice Blue, thankyouverymuch). Then the entire system sat in my New Orleans apartment for four months (a broken window, no air conditioning) after the storm. Today I got the urge to play some MarioKart and I can't get the damn thing to work!

It appears to power up (the little red light goes on) but nothing comes up on the TV screen when I switch to AV1. I tried plugging it in to AV2 (which I normally use with my DVD player) but no luck.

Any ideas?
posted by radioamy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Today I got the urge to play some MarioKart

posted by jozxyqk at 3:11 PM on April 7, 2006

Yep, that's why I decided to plug it in.
posted by radioamy at 3:12 PM on April 7, 2006

Ooh, 4 months in NO humidity... definitely landfill potential. :(

Just to check, you know the TV works, right? And you get no sound either? Have you checked that the cart is in tight, and that the contacts are clean? (I'm not sure what N64 cart contacts look like offhand, it's been awhile since I used mine... if you can't reach them, ignore that part.) And you've tried more than one cart?

If it's definitely broken, you might be able to get it fixed by Nintendo, but another used one might be cheaper. :(
posted by Malor at 3:27 PM on April 7, 2006

Sometimes it takes me 3-4 times to get a cart working on my N64. Here's the ritual:

1) Put in cart, turn on console. Red light comes on. Screen remains black.

2) Take out cart and blow on it (I know, you're not supposed to do this). Wave cart in air

3) Repeat

4) Repeat again

5) Think about giving up, but try one more time. It works. Happy Mario Goodness.
posted by Otis at 3:38 PM on April 7, 2006

I seem to remember that when I first got my N64 I thought it was broken because nothing showed up on the screen. Turned out, for some reason you had to have the TV on and set to the right input first, and then turn on the N64. Maybe you tried this already, but it's worth a shot.
posted by Who_Am_I at 3:44 PM on April 7, 2006

Nintendo is unbelievably good about repairs. The official website has a repair form, although non-warranty repairs do have a charge.

Of course, you can obtain another N64 for $20-30 easily, likely as cheap as any normal repair. This would not be a normal repair. New Orleans humidity, especially considering the salty ocean water, will do a number on electronics like you wouldn't believe. Likely, there's more than a few corroded connections inside. In fact, if the games were left at your apartment, examine the connections inside the game. They're likely corroded as well.

I'd be amazed to see it work after such conditions. At the same time, Nintendo built their systems to take the abuse of pre-teens, so I've seen some mangled systems work quite well.

If you really want to test out what works and what doesn't, try this. Replace the video adapter first, since nothing comes up on the TV. If nothing comes up on the TV after that, the core system is likely beyond hope. If something comes up, but it's not working, check the connections on the game. I always cleaned my Nintendo cartridges with a q-tip, regardless of what I was told. Worked just fine every time too. Should that fail, either the connections in the core system aren't working, or the game is trashed.

If after replacing the video adapter and cleaning the game, nothing worked.. I'd say it's hopeless and get a new system.
posted by Saydur at 3:45 PM on April 7, 2006

Mario Kart: Double Dash (GameCube) and Mario Kart DS are also really good games. Just sayin'.

Also, Nintendo used the same composite video cable with the N64 that they used with the SNES and GameCube, so the cables are readily available through either secondhand or regular retail channels. It seems unlikely that the cable's the problem, but it's easy enough to find out.
posted by box at 4:00 PM on April 7, 2006

does the t.v. screen flicker or anything when you flick the power button on?

the red light means the power supply is functional. the t.v. should do something when you flick the button. a new one on ebay.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:09 PM on April 7, 2006

Don't blow on the cart, unless there's somehow an actual accumulation of dust in there or something.

Think of it this way: can you clean anything besides dust and debris by blowing it away? Do you do your dishes that way?

You're better off using a Q-Tip. Not only will you not accomplish anything by blowing, but you'll get little bits of spit in there, theoretically increasing the deterioration of the contacts.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:32 PM on April 7, 2006

Tried the Qtip. With rubbing alcohol. Did the trick. Am on my way to beating MarioKart.

Thanks guys!
posted by radioamy at 6:04 PM on April 7, 2006

One “feature” that Nintendo touts (touted?) is the ruggedness of their systems. I remember reading Nintendo Power (my youthful Pravda) and they'd often have a feature in the letters section, usually written by a parent, I think, about how little Joey left his Game Boy in the yard, the snow came, and five months later the Game Boy was found. Hoping against hope, the Game Boy worked “as good as new”, thus proving Yokoi Gunpei Thought and Nintendoism.

As you succeeded at reviving it, I could see Nintendo Power running with the somewhat tasteless feature, “My N64 survived Hurricane Katrina!”. Of course, I think the last time I opened an issue of Nintendo Power might have been in the previous millennium.
posted by Gnatcho at 5:51 AM on April 8, 2006

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