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give a newbie some ebay advice, please?


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So, I've just started getting into collecting games that I played when i was a kid (wow it sucks having to rebuy things. thanks, teenage me for having garage sales), and clearly my first thought was to go to ebay. iIfound and bought a copy of Earthworm Jim which was listed as acceptable condition, which is good enough for me right now 'cause I'm a poor 20-something.


When it got here, I did the okay, let's wipe the external dirt off. As I was doing so, the paper towel that I was using started turning a lovely shad of black and I sat there going holy crap, what the hell is on this thing? Turns out it was the actual cartridge (paint?). So my question is, what exactly do I have here, is it a game that's been gutted and put into a new cartridge or something? Also there seems to be some pin contacts missing, which I suppose would fall under being acceptable condition? The only description for the item was "Earthworm Jim Used Game Only (Sega Genesis, 1994) Contacts cleaned". Which, uh, doesn't feel accurate. It does play fine, though.


Basically, I just want to know if I should be messaging this seller and asking for a refund or whatnot.


Thanks for any help :)


Here's some pictures.



Looks legit enough, I suppose. The label had peeled off in the top corner a bit, but I smooshed it back down so you can't tell.



Wait, I don't think that's meant to come off.



Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's not right, especially because there's no etching there?



Messed up pins.

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I have collected Atari 2600, 7800, Jaguar, and Sega genesis/32x games. IMO, the Sega cartridges for some reason are always dirtier than the others, except for maybe the 2600 cartridges. I clean all my cartridges with 98% Isopropyl alcohol but be warned: do not use alcohol on the labels! It will take the ink right off the labels. I only buy cartridges from ebay that have pictures and I don't buy exceptionally dirty cartridges. Be especially picky when buying consoles. I bought my Sega Genesis model 2 from ebay, and I took it apart to clean it and there was dried soda all over the inside of the case. No harm, but also no mention in the auction about it either.


When cleaning your cartridges it is important to clean the leads of cartridges before you push them into your console. Most of us use cotton swabs (Q-tips) with alcohol. Also make sure you clean the cartridge slot on your consoles. I use a piece of an old credit card and a clean cotton rag (old T-shirt will do). Put a little alcohol on the cloth, wrap the card with the cloth and push it in and out of the cartridge slot several times.


Just for comparison, here are two of my cartridges: Mortal Kombat II and Starflight. I think your cartridge has a sticker on the back. And the pins are probably normal for that game.





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Regarding using the alcohol to clean the leads, does nail polish remover work essentially the same, or should I go out and buy some proper stuff? It's what I've always used to remove stubborn price stickers on various things, so yeah, definitely not for use on the labels unless I want disaster. Feel I should double check though.


It's probably a good idea to ask for extra pictures, if there's only one or two, not really showing everything? I mean, it's not rude, and if they hesitate, that's probably a sign to get out, yeah? Also, when I say wiping external dirt, I mean dust, essentially. Granted, the label is pretty crap, but that's okay with me for now.


Is it a good idea to take apart the console and give it a clean, even if I've always been the owner and know that nothing overly excessive has been done to it, other than sit around in dust for awhile? I'm taking computer tech and I've got enough under my belt that opening up electric equipment is no longer a terrifying idea to me.

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Don't use nail polish remover!

I use nail polish remover on my nails and .. yeah that's it. They contain substances to make the experience of cleaning your nails less smelly or irritating to the skin.

I strongly suggest not using substances other than 90%+ isopropyl alcohol, and denatured alcohol just because they leave zero residue. Added some more below.


The best way to clean a cartridge is to open it up and clean it that way.

You usually need a hexagon-shaped screwdriver bit though, which can be bought for 6$ or so off ebay so that's lucky.

-> Use an eraser to go across the pins in a horizontal movement (so not up and down the pins, but across the board)

-> Clean the inside plastic because a small army of people have probably blown in it and that is gross!

-> Don't worry about opening the cartridge and removing the board to clean things; the board only fits in one way


A great, reasonable way to clean a cartridge is to use high% (like 99%) isopropyl or denatured alcohol

-> Fill a tiny bowl with the cleaning alcohol, then dip a Q-tip into it

-> Use Q-tip to brush up and down across the pins, opposite of what you'd do with an eraser

-> Wait a day or two, and it should work better than ever

-> Don't use other liquids to clean because they 99% sure leave residue

-> Won't really clean the plastic from obscure germs from the 1980s xD


Definitely clean your genesis! Don't forget to clean your console's cartridge slot!

My games work 100% of the time after cleaning the cartridges and the slot on the genesis. It is well worth taking an hour to clean, and letting it rest for two days afterwards.

I should add that if you can't launch a game in a few tries after cleaning both a cartridge and the slot on the genesis, you may have other issues.. but nothing is unfixable anyway :)

-> (edit), you can use denatured/isopropyl alcohol for the console's cartridge slot as well. The power cable/port can also get dirty, so it works there too. Definitely dry for a few days.

Edited by WeWantWaffles
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Thanks for all the cleaning tips! Will keep the nail polish for dvd cases only, then. And luckily I have a bunch of odd screwdrivers, computers tend to have a lot of odd screws in them, hah.


And thanks, xucaen, I totally did not notice at all that that was a sticker. Looking at it now, it's pretty obvious it's slapped on there, woops. Didn't realize that some games didn't have a full row of pins either.


I've learned much today, thank you all. : )

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  • 2 months later...

I cracked open an Intellivision and found a dead bug larger than any vent or slot. Possible explanations for this have been both mysterious and intriguing.


Please don't say that- my intellivison has something rattling around loose inside it, now I'm gonna be afraid to ever open it!


Anyway- I recently discovered I have 2 Earthworm Jim carts (no idea how that happened), so I grabbed them real quick- one has that sticker, one doesn't. The indent on the stickered one is shaped like an acclaim logo, the other is a standard sega logo. Looks like some Earthworm Jims got re-purposed acclaim shells... interesting to know.

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i got a few of the late games that had the black sticker they were shells that were assembled in a place that was not in the mold


also many of the late games had traces missing


one problem i ran into with a couple games is the chamfer they put on the edge was too extreme and i was getting intermittent contact so i removed the board from the shell and filed the front taking off a little bit so they would make contact (mostly a problem for my nomad)


sometimes you can do a search on half.com and if you search within the sellers items you can find more that you like and only have to pay $1.89 additional


i collect for many systems so i would find a game i like from a seller then search that sellers other items and say pick up a couple gameboy and nintendo games too

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  • 2 weeks later...

I cracked open an Intellivision and found a dead bug larger than any vent or slot. Possible explanations for this have been both mysterious and intriguing.

Maybe it went in as a larva, then starved after he metamorphosed into an adult and couldn't get out.

Maybe it was stuck there from the cartridge factory.

Maybe it was up your nose the whole time, and fell out just as you were opening the case, and you only think it was in the Intellivision the whole time.

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