Don't Fufu Your NES Carts & Other Pearls of Gaming Wisdom

After years spent blowing our dusty game cartridges in an effort to get them to work on our ageing consoles, Nintendo have officially announced that said practice actually harms your fragile games of yore. In a recent tongue-in-cheek Japanese TV ad celebrating the 25th anniversary of Super Mario, the Kyoto based gaming giant has said no more to the old cartridge fufu (Japanese for the sound of blowing).

After two decades of costly scientific research, the word is finally out; saliva and a sudden rush of warm, moist air don't do Super Mario any favours. Inspired by Nintendo's sage advice, here are some of my own pearls of gaming wisdom.

1. Don't play the Virtual Boy for extended periods

Under no circumstances should you play Nintendo's first experiment with 3D portable gaming, the Virtual Boy, for more than 3 minutes, as it is likely to kill you.

The following are actual quotes from the precautions section included in all Virtual Boy game instruction manuals:

a. "This product MUST NOT be used by children under the age of seven years. Artificial stereo vision displays may not be safe for such children and may cause serious, permanent damage to their vision" (read: the Virtual Boy blinds children)

b. "Discontinue use immediately if you feel dizzy, nauseated, tired or if your eyes hurt or become strained" (these symptoms usually kick-in at the 3 minute mark)

c. "Failure to follow all instructions could injure you and cause serious damage to your vision or hearing" (who on earth thought this was a good idea!!?)

d. "The Virtual Boy is best enjoyed at home, placed on a flat, secure surface. Attempting to use the Virtual Boy outside of the home, or in a public area will make you look like a twat"

I made-up the last one, but the rest are absolutely, 100% genuine. Play the VB at your own risk.

2. Don't sell your old video games

A difficult lesson, but one that many of us have learnt at one time or another. Everyone has their own horror stories, off-loading what seemed at the time to be superfluous titles, only to deeply regret it a few years later. It could be a collection of Master System games, a first console, your original version of Metal Gear Solid that made you fall in love with video games, or that copy of Stadium Events that you traded-in for a partial discount on Dirge of Cerberus.

My own heartbreak stems from the loss of my original PAL Sega Saturn and games, off-loaded to a friend for £50 to fund my purchase of Resident Evil 2 for my brand new PlayStation. At the time, fifty quid seemed worthwhile, but if I had it now I wouldn't off-load it for five times that amount. My friend eventually sold it on, and rarely a day passes by without me wondering whose attic/loft it now graces with its presence, as I gently weep into my pillow. So do yourself a favour and keep your old games, saving yourself some heartbreak further down the road.

3. Don't run a Game Gear on regular batteries

The Game Gear was a beast. At a time when most portables settled for black and white/green simplicity, the Game Gear offered a colourful solution. For all intents and purposes it was a Master System in the palm of your hand (if you had massive hands). You had access to Sonic the Hedgehog, OutRun and NBA Jam on the move, but there was a catch: you needed to spend a small fortune feeding batteries to the greedy little bastard. It required six AA batteries, and ate them up at an alarming rate. The Game Gear screams out for an AC adapter or rechargeable batteries. They are a wise investment.

4. Don't forget to take regular breaks during long gaming sessions

A cautionary tale; during the 1990-1991 NBA season, then rookie Lionel Simmons missed two straight games due to wrist tendonitis. A relatively common injury amongst basketball players, tendonitis wouldn't necessarily attract much attention, but as the team medical staff soon discovered, this wasn't your average injury. The diagnosis: excessive play of his Nintendo Game Boy! Lionel just couldn't get enough of his new hand held. Of course, if he were playing Game Gear, battery limitations would have kept him on the court. The moral of this story, as so often is the case, is put down your Nintendo and play some SEGA. Or just don't play video games excessively. Both should work out fine.

5. Don't buy a console at launch

The romantic in you loves the idea of lining up throughout the night, huddled together with fellow gamers, sharing stories of gaming heritage and preparing to usher in the next generation of home consoles with the only people who truly understand you. When the doors finally open at 7am, you will be one of the first in the country to get your hands on the next big thing and will be overcome with a sense of achievement and momentary importance. You will also be saddled with a lacklustre choice of games, as well as a model that will soon be replaced with a quieter, faster, sleeker version at a fraction of the cost. There will likely be one must buy title (think Virtua Fighter, Ridge Racer or Super Mario 64) accompanied by a crock of shit. Exercise some restraint, eek out another twelve months from your existing console and then splurge when the inevitable quality titles arrive and the console gets its first price drop. Sometimes it pays to wait.

6. Always read the voltage instructions

As I can personally attest, it is vital that you check the voltage limitations of your import consoles. In a highly complex experiment, I ran 240 volts through my Japanese Wii earlier this year, with catastrophic results. To save me recounting my foolishness, go here as I recount a tale of stupidity, mothers and the smell of burning toast.


  1. Good advice. I did buy a PS2 at launch however, but I never sell any of my games...

  2. I remember the PS2 launch garnering a fair amount of press. lLots of people camping outside shops and selling them for a small fortune on ebay.


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