Monday, July 27, 2015

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time... Fully Restored!

I enjoy restoring old video game cartridges. There's great joy to be gained from taking an old, beat-up and altogether abused cartridge and restoring it to glory. Being that I'm in the retail vintage toy and collectibles business, I buy a lot of used video games. Many that I find are all but destroyed -- they work, but look like utter trash on the outside. With a little bit of ingenuity, the right tools and some effort, they can restored. You just have to put in the work.

I completed one such restoration today.

As you can see below, I had a rather unsightly copy of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64. This was obviously a former rental store copy -- it had various store decals, sticker goo, a security label, marker writing and a trashed label. As it was, this copy was pretty poor looking. Sure, it still worked... but for a game as important as Ocarina of Time, it deserved better.

The first step in restoring a game cartridge is to disassemble the outer casing. Once it's taken apart, the old labels can be removed from the plastic outer case. Great care must be taken not to touch or disturb the parts on the internal game board. I use rubbing alcohol to remove as much dirt and marker writing as possible. To get the old label glue residue off, I use Goo Gone. Once the plastic case is completely clean, I give it one final wash down with some dish soap and warm water. While I work on the plastic outer case, I make sure to put the internal game board, metal housing and screws in a safe place.

After letting the plastic outer shell halves dry, I then set about painting them. I use Dupli-Color Automobile Paint because it provides a clean, professional presentation. For this Ocarina of Time cartridge, I used a superb caramel-gold color paint with a shiny metal-flake finish. Multiple coats were applied, allowing time for drying between each coat. Finally, I applied a clear-coat to seal in the color and prevent against scratches. All in all, it takes a few days to completely apply the paint and clear-coat. I then allow three or four days for the paint and clear coat to thoroughly dry before handling. Once the game cartridge has been put back together, I then apply a set of professionally-printed reproduction cartridge labels -- one for the front and one for the back. In fact, the labels are so nice looking, they often surpass the originals in terms of quality. Anyone who has owned a copy of Ocarina of Time knows hows easily the front gold label fades when repeatedly touched.

Finally, the masterpiece comes together.

To finish the restoration project off, I created a custom storage case. What better way to display your prized game cartridge?

If you're looking for further information on how to restore a video game cartridge, or would like me to complete a restoration project for you, please contact me in the comments section below!


  1. wow nice job, i have the whole collection of zelda games from nes to wiiu, also the portable edition (gb,gbc,gba,ds,3ds), cd-i and satellaview edition, i fond a gold paint from rust-oleum special metallic (gold n1910830) for paint a 64 controler. I have many project for remake instruction booklet but I don't find any source and when I tring to remage a box on a 300lbs paper the finish is not good and the paper broke were it was plie. some advice for do a job on the box like yours. (sorry for my english, i'm french canadien)

  2. Its always good to learn tips like you share for blog posting. As I just started posting comments for blog and facing problem of lots of rejections. I think your suggestion would be helpful for me. I will let you know if its work for me too.

  3. Care to share where you got the labels? I'm restoring mine and the labels need to be replaced due to water damage. Looks Great!

  4. Finding cheap PC games can be frustrating. Most cheap PC games are not fun at all, and the ones that are fun and cheap are hard to find. But it doesn't have to be this way!

  5. When making a great game there are a number of factors that need to be considered if your game is to survive in a market full of great game designs. Below are listed a few of the more important factors that need to be considered when designing a great game.

  6. buy twitch followers A wide portion of browser-based games are based on Java and Flash technologies. That is why they are most commonly known as "flash games". During the past years, online flash games have become increasingly popular due to several reasons derived from three major factors: they are accessible, diverse and affordable.