Restoring Old Video Games: Can It Be Done?


If you love your old games, regularly buy or trade games from the cartridge era, and generally have a fun vintage game hobby, you’re probably also curious about restoration. Can old games be restored at all? Can you do it at home without ruining the game? What are the benefits to game restoration, anyway?

Well, it’s probably no surprise that video games and their consoles tend to get musty after a couple decades. If you want to put a game back in working order, salvage a beat-up cartridge, or restore the game’s appearance to its original glory, we’ve got some facts for you!

Professional Services

First, if you don’t want to restore games yourself there are plenty of professional services out there that specialize in restoring vintage games for you. Many of these are either museums or mail-in services manned by professionals as well as experienced amateurs. Obviously mileage may vary on these services, so pick them carefully and look for sites that are well-reviewed.

Cleaning Up Your Games

If you want to try the DIY option, there are plenty of resources to help you restore your own games, especially if you are getting ready for a sale or trade. As you can imagine, a lot of this work is simply getting the dust out of the game and removing any marks from the outside of the game without damaging its appearance. Over the year, cartridge games tend to gather marker writing, tape, stickers, labels and more. You can remove these…if you are very careful. Rubbing alcohol, magic eraser products, and Goo Gone can all help get your game looking fresh again, but you will want to take it as slowly as possible.

Opening Up the Hood

If you have a game that just doesn’t work or seems to be very dusty inside, you can open it up. This helps clean the gunk out of the edges of cartridges and removes internal dust that could be causing problems. However, it’s also opening up those sensitive innards, which could result in more damage unless you are careful! You will also need to get the right tools to do the job without damaging the casing. The Video Game Museum has a lot of great tips on how to do this and other restoration projects if you are ready to take the next step.

More Serious Repairs

If you are look at a damage system and really want a functioning console to play your now pristine games on, then you absolutely can work on repairing the console yourself. There are guides online to help out, but some technical computer experience comes in handy if you want to start replacing connectors or adjusting other components. Remember to work in a clean environment and always use the right tools.


Have these topics been boring you? Do you already have plenty of experience with restoring your old games and a lot of confidence about what you do? Consider starting a crowdfunding project to create mods for old gaming consoles, or offer your services for one of the repair companies!

Storage and Sales

Finally, what do you do with your games or consoles when they are restored? You have several different options, including simply playing the games, finding proper storage for them so you can appreciate their newfound beauty…or selling them. If you are interested in trading high-quality traditional games online, visit for easy payments and information on pricing.


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