Nintendo recently made a post on their official Twitter account offering a few pointers regarding the maintenance and cleaning of game card slots on their devices. The tweet has received attention from Japanese users for one nostalgic detail mentioned – the blowing of air onto the device from one’s mouth.
Nintendo warns of the risk of inserting foreign objects or damaged game cards into the slot and recommends the use of a vacuum cleaner in the case of dust collecting inside. They emphasize that blowing into the slot can result in saliva ending up inside and causing damage in the long term.
The bit about blowing into the game slot made many users reminisce about the days of the NES, Nintendo’s cassette-type video game console from the 80s. Back in the day, it was common practice to resolve the issue of a cassette refusing to boot properly by taking it out and blowing onto it. For some reason, a good old puff of air fixed the issue of a poor connection with the slot in most cases. The practice was so commonplace that even Nintendo’s commercial celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Mario series from 2010 displays it being done.
But if it’s bad, why does it work? The answer is likely in that blowing air removes dust, allowing for a better connection, and that the moisture from one’s breath has a temporary effect of increasing electric conductivity of the metal connector. The problem is the long-term effects of doing so, as continuously exposing the metal connectors to one’s saliva causes rust and deposits that decrease conductivity to form.
Realizing so, Nintendo themselves have issued warnings on multiple occasions against the practice, but judging from reactions to their recent tweet, it seems that in doing so they have taken away a nostalgic lucky charm of many. Although at the same time, many did indignantly admit that the actions Nintendo warns against did in fact lead to their device becoming damaged and difficult to use.
On a side note, many couldn’t help but notice a certain cute detail in Nintendo’s tweet. In the sentence “Please do not touch the inside of the game card slot,” the original Japanese contains a grammatical structure that makes it seem like they are referring to a living being or creature, showing the affection they have for their beloved creation.