How to Fix a Blue Screen on an NES

by Blaze Johnson ; Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • Cotton swabs

  • Isopropyl alcohol

The Nintendo Entertainment System hit the United States consumer market in 1985. The NES features an 8-bit microprocessor, 2 Kb of video RAM and two control pads. Standard NES systems came bundled with Duck Hunt, Super Mario Brothers and a special light gun. A more expensive package added the Robotic Operating Buddy and an additional game. Dirty or misaligned game cartridges may cause a “blue screen” condition when operating the NES. Fixing the blue screen issue is an easy task, when using the proper methods.

Turn off the NES system and remove the game cartridge.

Saturate the tip of a cotton swab with Isopropyl alcohol. Clean the cartridge's metal contacts with the saturated cotton swab tip, using a back-and-forth motion.

Repeat the cleaning process with a new cotton swab. Remove any cotton fibers left on the metal contacts.

Dry the game cartridges metal contacts by waving the cartridge in the air, using a fanning motion with your hand.

Insert the cartridge into the NES and press the power button. If the problem persists, shift the cartridge to one side, with the game still in the console and press the reset button.

Place the game cartridge in the “eject” position, with the power off. Back the game out slightly, until the front exposed portion of the cartridge barely rubs against the ejection port. Press the cartridge down to the “loaded” position and turn on the console.

About the Author

In the spring of 2008, Blaze Johnson decided to share his expertise through writing. He studied business administration at a local community college and runs his own driveway mechanic service, specializing in computer-controlled vehicles and custom car audio installs. Johnson also serves as the de facto computer repair person for his family, friends and coworkers.