Blowing Nintendo Cartridges

Yup. Exactly.

When I was a kid with a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), sometimes my games wouldn’t load. But I, like all kids, knew the secret: take out the game cartridge, blow on the contacts, and put it back in. And it seemed to work. (When it failed, I’d just keep trying until it worked.) 

via Mental Floss

This is exactly the psychology that every kid had back then. It’s just what you did when things weren’t working! Placebo effect?

It was very much a hive-mind kind of thing, something that all kids did, and many still do on modern cartridge based systems.

Prior to the NES I don’t recall people blowing into Atari or any other cartridge-based hardware that predated the NES (though that likely spoke to the general reliability of that hardware versus the dreaded front-loading Nintendo 72 Pin connectors). 

I suppose it has a lot to do with the placebo effect. US NES hardware required, on most games, optimal connection across up to 72 pins as well as communication with a security lock-out chip. 

The theory that ‘dust’ could be a legitimate inhibitor and that ‘blowing it out’ was the solution, still sounds silly to me when I say it out loud.

Even to this day, if I had an NES sitting in front of me and it didn’t load, I think I’d still pop the cartridge out and blow on it and give it another go, even though I know it’s bad for the system.

The pull (and desire) is so strong!

Now, they went even farther in this article to do some actual tests, seen above. Because, science!