Cartridge blowing is a practice most often employed on older Nintendo games and systems, but is sometimes required to remedy problems with the old Sega and even game boy games.

Cartridge blowing becomes an important ritual when your system has been subjected to products not bearing the Official Nintendo Seal of Quality, or simply when it has become old and dusty. At a certain point, your games no longer just appear at a touch of the power button. Instead, you are subjected to a slow purple strobe effect. It's time to start blowing.

Hold the cartridge and blow into the business end from left to right and back. Do this several times. Some believe it's good to get some spittle going, as it will increase your chance of making contact. However, this is a quick fix only, because it will probably corrode the metal. Use the corner of your shirt to wipe the inside. For good measure, blow into the cartridge dock as well. Replace the catridge and try again.

It is important at this stage to learn to diagnose the severity of these flashes, or how far your Nintendo is from being healthy. In this respect you must get to know your NES in a deep and personal way. Usually if you can get it to stop flashing and if you get fragments of text or patterns, you're on the right track. Keep at it until you get your reward, the title screen of your favourite game!