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How to Clean Cartridges
Fortunately for us, old videogame cartridges are incredibly durable. However, you will find that cartridges will often accumulate a buildup of dirt on the contacts that usually results in a scrambled picture. This occurs more often with cartridges that have exposed contacts, as opposed to most of the Atari-made cartridges for the 2600 that have a hinged cover. Don't throw away those scrambled cartridges however, because they're simple and cheap to clean.
First, you will need to buy some Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and a box of q-tips. This should cost you about $5 at any grocery or drug store. This is basically the same thing you will find in expensive videogame "cleaning kits".
Simply dip the q-tip in alcohol, and clean the cartridge contact edge with the alcohol soaked q-tip. You should wind up with a dirty q-tip and a clean cartridge. Severely dirty cartridges may take several cleanings, with vigorous scrubbing. Don't worry, you're not going to damage the cartridge by scrubbing hard.
If you're still having problems, your system might be the culprit. Occasionally you will find a cartridge that is beyond repair, but we've found that 99% of all old cartridges will work after a little elbow grease.