Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Estate Sale That Time Forgot

Yesterday, I took a long drive through the countryside of Oregon, through insanely twisting roads with unnecessary hairpin curves, past berry farms and orchards.  I saw places such as a stable with a sign featuring a frolicking horse, jumping over some flowers like, "Yay I'm a horse!"  It was awesome.  Also, an alpaca farm.

Alpacas: Never not funny.

Also, there was a sign that said:


I'd like to think there are better ways to get Timothy's attention.

Anyway, on to the sale.  The first day, I had $40 in my pocket and wasn't expecting much.  The ad had listed some SNES and NES games, as well as an SNES system.  I went in expecting to find a bundled Super Nintendo and some games, likely outside of my price range.  I always try to pick up an SNES bundle where I can, because I can sell the system and any games I already have, keep the new games and make back what I spent.

I wasn't really prepared for what they had.  When I arrived, the games were the first thing I saw, I didn't even make it through the rest of the sale.  The Super Nintendo was priced at $49, individually.  My first reaction was to whine internally about how the SNES and games weren't bundled with a fixed price.  For some reason, something in my brain balked and decided at that moment that this wasn't going to be a worthwhile sale.

Then, I noticed the games.  Like, really noticed them.

This wasn't your average yard sale fare.  This wasn't a bin of loose cartridges with random accessories thrown in.  This was a box - alphabetized and orderly - of boxed and complete games.  Not the kind of smashed up boxes you occasionally come by... many of them were absolutely mint.

My brains poured out of my ears as I started looking through the box.  Soon, I'd made a stack, handed the nice lady $40, and walked back to my car in a daze.  Thankfully, I did not drool on the games.

Look at them.  Just look at them.

For the NES, I picked up Metal Gear, Contra, and Turtles II The Arcade Game.  Have I mentioned they're gorgeous?

Did I mention I was a Ninja Turtles fan?

For the SNES, Contra III, Star Fox, Super Street Fighter II, Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters, and Turtles in Time.  Great games, great condition, except for Contra III which was a little bit smooshy.

I made it home at around the time the estate sale was set to close, and told my wife all about the wonder and glory that I'd just experienced.  She looked over the games, and said something I'll probably never hear again.

She told me to go back and buy more.

See, my wife is supportive of my collection.  She knows it's important to me, but she's also the smart one in this relationship.  I respect the budget, and she respects my need for shiny new cartridges.  It's compromise.

So, the following day, I woke up at the crack of dawn.  Not by choice, but because I was just so excited to get back there and pick through the games again.  Armed with $150 and a list of games I intended to pick up, I returned to rural Oregon for round two.

The people running the sale asked, "Back for more?" as soon as I walked up.  I smiled and agreed, going straight for the games.  The list of games I'd wanted to buy dissolved in my mind as I again reverted to a 10 year-old kid who'd just mowed 15 lawns on a Mountain Dew high.  The money was all mine, and I could have anything I wanted.  I would be the coolest kid on the block.  I would be the god of this sale.

The resulting pickup is one for the history books.

A thing of beauty, that.

I picked up the boxed SNES, sold with "the cleaning kit and an extra controller", which were both for the NES.  The Super Nintendo is complete, down to the inserts - even the original twist ties are still in the box!  It's yellowed, but we can reverse that.

My brain shuts down just looking at the picture.


So, I said goodbye to the alpacas, said "HAY" to Timothy and returned home triumphant.  These games are just beautiful, I can't say it enough.  Amazing condition and almost all are complete, down to the inserts.

Today, it's a day later and I'm still reeling.  What an amazing find.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How to Clean A Super Nintendo SNES Controller

Looks all right on the outside, but trust me, it's nasty.

So, your Super Nintendo controllers have been sitting in the basement.  They've been gathering dust and something might or might not be living on or inside them.  Time to break out another how-to!

This controller, purchased with an SNES lot at Goodwill, had a left shoulder button that was near impossible to press.  Something spilled on and inside it had fused the button in place.  It'll make a fine candidate for the oft-searched SNES controller cleaning guide.

Remove the five screws holding the controller together.

First, flip the controller over and remove the five screws.  They're easy to find, and none are hidden or obscured, so have at it.  You'll need a 1/8" precision screwdriver for this, but most tool sets have one.

Back removed, but the shoulder button is still stuck in there.  Is that honey?

Pull the back off and set it aside.  Be careful when removing the shoulder buttons, as there are two metal rods holding them in place and allowing them to swivel.  Set these aside.

The aforementioned metal rods, above.

Unsnake the cable and pull the board out of the controller.

Button pads.

Pull out the button pads and set them aside.  Remove the plastic buttons.

Sudsy Buttons - hey, that could be the title of a Shirley Temple movie.  Ask your parents.

Allow the buttons to soak in a bowl of soapy water while you get started on the button pads.  The button pads can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs, but do so carefully - if the pads come loose from the plastic, you'll need a new controller.

Clean this, too.

If the controller was a spill victim, make sure that there is nothing sticky on the circuit board.  If there is, clean it up with rubbing alcohol.  If not, see all of the little black pads where the buttons and D-pad should be?  Clean those up with rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab.  Don't forget the angled pads where the shoulder buttons connect.

And the case - eww.

Now, on to the case.  The case doesn't usually need a lot of cleaning, but if it does, do so with soap and water, not rubbing alcohol.  Rubbing alcohol can make the plastic cloudy, and occasionally makes the ink run.

This particular controller was so nasty I had to soak it in soapy water, too - it's safe to do so if you need to.

A clean controller.

Now that your case and buttons have been scrubbed clean, set them on a paper towel to drain and dry.  Be sure that they are fully dried before reassembling; water in a plugged-in controller can fry it.

Button, button, who's got the button?

Dry yet?  Good.  Now put the buttons back where they go.  You can see the locations identified with "Lavender" and "Purple" as well as the button colors for other regions, green, yellow, red, and blue.  For a US controller, you only need the two.  Even the R and L locations are labeled.  Insert the rods into the holes and slide the shoulder buttons over them.

Put the pads back in, lining them up with the guides provided.  Make sure that the black pads are facing up.

Almost there.

Put the board back in, lining it up with the guides - if you need a refresher on how the cord is wrapped, see the above image.

Done!  Look how clean!

Put the back of the case in place, screw it back together, and you're done!  Enjoy your nice, like new, hopefully not sticky Super Nintendo controller!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Goodwill Hunting and a Value Village Pillage - NES, Playstation Games and Genesis cleaning kit

W.ho keeps the box for their cleaning kit?

Yesterday was a very, very good thrifting day.  Value Village makes it's first appearance on this blog in style, with a fantastic deal.  As pictured above, The Legend of Zelda II, Mega Man 4 and Mega Man 5.  Also, a Sega Genesis official cleaning kit, which is in the original box.  Why would you keep the box?  I'm not complaining, but that seems like an odd box to hang on to.

Anyway, the total cost was $17.96.  Mega Man 5 alone sells for around $25, so I'm pretty happy with the result.  The Zelda II cart, however, is damaged in such a way that the connector inside retreats into the case when you try to insert it.  I'll take a shot at fixing it once I get a gamebit to open the thing up.

Hell yeah, Bushido Blade.

The Goodwill finds are significantly less impressive, but far more... bladey.  A Greatest Hits copy of Soul Blade and Bushido Blade for the Playstation.  This was purchased along with an original model Playstation 2 - which is outside of the scope of this blog - for $19.97.  With a $15 store credit, I paid $4.98 out of pocket and couldn't pass it up.

All in all, a very, very good trip.