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Your old Super Nintendo cartridges are at risk

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Super Nintendo System

While the market for old Nintendo games isn’t what it was, say, 20 years ago, plenty of people still love the older systems. But classic cartridges, unfortunately, don't exactly age well.

The SNES, for example, turns 23 this year. While most of today's games should have no trouble surviving that long thanks to their use of DVD and Blu-ray formats, the older cartridge technology is suffering.

Specifically, the batteries in older games, which were used to save progress, are past their optimal life expectancy. Way past it.

While the batteries can and do live longer than 10 years, they're starting to fail. The good news is that dedicated SNES fans (and, presumably, aficionados of other classic game systems) can perform some surgery on them to keep them alive.

Motherboard offers a step-by-step tutorial on how to open up a SNES game and protect against the ravages of time by using a watch battery to keep things running. The downside? Any saved games you have on the system will, in fact, be lost – meaning you'll have to start The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past from the beginning again.

It seems a fairly easy procedure, requiring a razor blade, electrical tape and steady hands, but if you're not careful, there's a good chance you could permanently damage the game.

Of course, once you crack open the game, it could also be a good chance to clean up any dust clogs and to ensure the game's board is secure.

Just whatever you do, don't blow on the cartridge as you work on it.

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