Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Feats of Strength: How Much Abuse can One Famicom Cart Take?

In a few recent posts the subject of video game cartridge durability has come up in the comments section.

In this post, we put the question of the durability of the Famicom cart to the ultimate test. I have devised a gruelling regimen of ten physical and psychological stress tests to put this copy of Harikiri Stadium through in order to see how far it can be pushed before reaching the breaking point.
Lets just get right into the tests.

1. Getting Run Over By Me on My Bicycle:
Pretty straightforward really. This photo was staged after the fact as I couldn't photograph while riding over it, but I actually did go and, at about 10kmph, run over the cart.

This didn't appear to phase it, there was no visible damage afterwards.

2. Throwing it into the Ocean:
At the beach near my place. Just tossed it in there and let the waves knock it around for about 30 seconds or so.

This just got the thing wet and full of sand.

Trivia discovery: Famicom carts float.

3. Getting Slammed in the Desk Drawer:
Slammed it pretty good in there. Nothing broken afterwards.

4. Making it spend 2 minutes in a municipal public restroom without air conditioning on a scorching hot July afternoon:
Without a doubt the test I enjoyed administering the least.

6. Forcing it to phone its overbearing mother:
Francine had not heard from her son in ages.

7. Dropping it off Something High:
Took it to this pedestrian bridge in an industrial area. Its a lot higher than it looks:
After being extremely careful that nobody was around, I gave it a nudge. It landed in a grassy patch that probably broke its fall:
Nothing obviously broken.

8. Seeing What a Stray Cat Would Do With It:

This didn't turn out to be very stressful at all. I just picked out a random stray and it turned out to be an extremely friendly one who liked getting petted on the head and chin. He pretty much ignored the Harikiri Stadium cart and just wanted to curl up around my feet.

9. Giving it to my Dog to see if the Scent of the Cat Would Drive Him Nuts:
It didn't.

10. The Ultimate Psychological Stress Test.
For this test, I surrounded the cart with a group of the toughest and manliest of his peers as seen in the above photo.

I then took out a package of "For You" stickers - the girliest stickers that Daiso has to offer:
I then applied them to the cart's surface one by one.
By the time we were through it looked like a horde of seven year old girls had gone medieval on the poor guy:
The Outcome.
Having completed the entire series of tests, I put him into my Twin Famicom to see if he still worked.

And to my surprise he....doesn't quite work anymore:
It isn't completely broken, but no matter how many times I put it in, the image is all distorted.

Unfortunately I'm not actually sure which of the stress tests did him in. Probably the ocean, but I'm not too sure.

Lesson learned: To be on the safe side you should probably refrain from putting any Famicom carts you care about through this specific series of tests.

Anyway, there you have it. A Famicom cart driven past the limits of its endurance. Not a pretty sight, I'll admit, but all in the name of scientific inquiry.

Special thanks to Ecto-glow and Nate in the comments section of this post and Bryan and videogamesarerad in this post for the idea.

Related Posts:
-Famicomblog 100th Anniversary Experiment
-Tour D' Excitebike: Fukuoka 2010


  1. And it would probably still work, if you would clean all the dried sea salt from contacts. How you like that, BluRay!

  2. Surprised it still works after all the abuse it went under. Well, kinda works anyways. But judging from the first photo, I was getting the impression you were going to lay it on the train tracks to see what a train would do to it (destroy it probably).

    And I love Daiso! I live in Los Angeles, but when I make trips out to San Francisco, I make sure to visit the Daiso up there and hoard on all sorts of necessary and unnecessary things: novelty socks, combs, toothbrushes, stickers, papercraft, cheap belts, cups, et cetera!

  3. Samsa - I might crack it open and give that a try!

    Mark - yeah, putting it on the train tracks, in addition to being illegal and dangerous, wouldn't have really been fair to the cart. These had to be "survivable" feats of strength!

    And I love Daiso too, I didn't know they had them in the States. I get tons of stuff there (including my Famicom cart storage racks).

  4. Great article! I like to think it was the psychological torture that permanently damaged that cart, but you're right; it was probably the ocean.

    further to the point: i know that Daiso here in Canada, because a Canadian punk rock band form Calgary has a song called "Welcome to the Daiso" all about how great the store is. I have never been there personally, as there are none where I live.

  5. Thanks, videogamesarerad. I'd like to think that the psychological tests at least contributed to the outcome, even if it was the ocean that really screwed it up!

    And I'm amazed to learn that Daiso has opened in my homeland and even had a punk song named after it. Its not a bad shop as everything costs 100 yen, though I wonder how much they charge for stuff in Canada. The "$1.24" shop isn't quite as catchy as the "100 yen shop".

  6. Haha, thanks for making me chuckle most heartily whilst eating my lunch at work :)

    You've also reminded me of the little pictures that came in game instruction booklets which showed what you're not supposed to do to the carts. Some of them were just as bizarre as your tests! :P

  7. Thanks Simon! Yes, I remember those "Do not do this to the cartridge" things too. "Do not launch cart from catapult" and stuff like that.

    Hmmmm... catapults....

  8. All right, Even I'm Surprised by it surviving the Ocean!

  9. LOL, yeah, me too! I wouldn't recommend throwing any good games you care about in there though:)