Some of our N64 cartridges had discoloured around the edges. This happens because the cartridges were made of ABS plastic, which is combustable. To prevent your gamecollection burning down your house, fire retardant chemicals including Bromine were added to the mix.
When Bromine is exposed to UV light it oxideses, which causes discolouration to the cartridges. It was irritating to have a few cartridges with discoloured edges, but we recently purchased Mario Party 3 which was severely affected. We decided to look at a solution to the problem, that solution was possibly Retr0bright.
If you search for Retr0bright online, you’ll discover that it’s not available to buy. It’s a recipe that contains Hydrogen Peroxide, Oxi clean, Glycerine & Xanthan gum. The method involves painting the item with Retr0bright, then covering it with clingfilm to stop the mixture evaporating and placing the whole thing under
a UV lamp for several days. This seemed a bit involved, although if there was no other alternative we’d give it a go.
More searching suggested that the Glycerine and Xanthan gum were only thickeners, only used to stop the Hydrogen Peroxide running off the item to be treated. Then we found a thread on a retro gaming forum suggesting using Bblonde cream Peroxide 40vol which is available off the shelf in chemists for a very reasonable £1.69 for 75ml at the time of writing. It even suggested sunlight would provide enough UV as long as you give it enough time. That seemed an easy solution & we thought we’d give it a try.
We sourced the above product from a branch of SuperDrug, although we’ve since bought a second bottle from Boots, so it’s probably available in most Chemists in the UK, the cream is very thick and doesn’t want to come out of the bottle. We took apart a test cartridge, not the super expensive Mario Party 3 but the more
expendable Pilot wings 64 & painted a small amount of the cream onto the corner, covered it with clingfilm and placed it in a window for 3 days. We considered getting a UV lamp, but thought we’d try the window
3 Days later, we removed the clingfilm & the corner of the cartridge was like new, our socks were blown off! (Not literally).
Another test was run as although the cling film worked, to do the front of the cartridge, the clingfilm would probably smear the solution over the label which would be bad news, So we coated the cartridge front in the cream, carefully painting around the label then put put the cartridge front into a small plastic container with a lid and placed that in the window for another 3 days,
That method worked just as well as the clingfilm, so we fixed all our N64 cartridges and they now all look like new, even Mario Party 3.