Just In Bailey: Nemesis

When I was a kid I saved the world countless times.  I saved kingdoms and princesses no matter what castle they were in.  I defeated evil doctors, mythological creatures, and even giant turtles.  Countless foes fell before my gaming might.  But there was one foe that refused to yield; one that could stop me before I even started.  This foe could strike at any time.  Which foe do I speak of that was mightier than Ganon, Bowser, Dr. Wily, and even Dracula?

That foe was none other than…The NES Cartridge!

While it was a well made piece of plastic, the cartridge had a sadistic side.  When I would go to power up a game, I would insert the cartridge in the NES horizontally, push the cartridge down until it clicked, and hit the power button.  Most times the game would start up without issue.  But, sometimes it would look a wee bit scrambled.  The words might not have lined up right or strange lines would appear across the screen.  Occasionally, the screen would look fine one second and then with a flash, it would scramble itself like a pay-per-view channel [or Skinimax. ; ) ~J].  It was a nightmare!

Unfortunately, the nightmare didn’t end there.  When the cartridge was feeling truly evil, which it had a tendency to do, it would just give you a screen of flashing color.  Sometimes, the screen would flash just one color.  Other times, it would flash several different colors.  The cartridge must have loved torturing those with epilepsy.  I also believe that the NES cartridges may have established a network, similar to the geth in Mass Effect, because there would be times when several of them refused to work.So, how did I combat this devious, diabolical, devilish foe?  There were several weapons to choose from.  GameStop, or FuncoLand at the time, sold a cartridge cleaner that was just rubbing alcohol and a fancy Q-Tip.  That didn’t work.  The reset button on the NES was about as useful as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.  Sometimes, if I timed it just so, the reset button would catch and set things right.  But, the chances of this happening were very slim.

The most popular method, which was as trusty as a knight’s blade, was blowing in the cartridge.  It was believed that the element of wind was super effective, and the success rate with this method was high.  My favorite plan of attack was a two-pronged maneuver which started with using my wind powers to remove dust particles.  Then, carefully, I would place the cartridge into the NES and push down and in at the same time.  This would cause the top end of the cartridge to scrape ever so gently against the inside of the NES.  This was the only way I knew with a great degree of certainty that I could overcome my greatest foe and go on to save the world (and princesses) again.

Now, looking back on my battles, I realize that it was only an alignment issue.  Lucky for me, the cartridge is a thing of the past.  It has become a part of video game lore.  My children will never experience the struggles I went through, the trials and tribulations.  And really, all I’m bound to get when I tell them this story is a roll of the eyes as they go back to their digitally downloaded game.  What a shame.




Just In Bailey –an homage to the secret code from Metriod, which allowed you to play as Samus Aran without her suit– is an editorial column at Vagary.TV brought to you by Joey Alesia. Each week Joey will challenge you to look at a different perspective of the characters, gameplay, and/or plot in your favorite games. Chat up your thoughts below, or send Joey an e-mail at Joey.Alesia@vagary.tv and remember to follow him on Twitter @wrkngclsswrtr.



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Author: Joey Alesia View all posts by
Joey's adventure into the realm of video games began at 3 when Nintendo first hit the West. He grew up a Nintendo fan and ended up branching out to Playstation when FF7 hit and XBox when Oblivion hit the 360. He's not huge on first person shooters or sports games but definitely enjoys a good RPG or survival horror game. His all-time favorite series is definitely The Legend of Zelda, followed extremely closely by Metal Gear. Joey has a firm belief that games should be treated with respect when they are made and that the classics should never be overlooked.
  • Ah, blowing into the cartridge. Brings back memories.

  • Don Parsons

    My NES loved this method; blowing (of course) in the system and cartridge. Then pushing the cartridge in as far as possible and pushing down. Lastly, I jiggled it back and forth and back towards me at the same time until it was as far back as it would go. Worked like a charm. ^_^