I have two four-drawer plastic organizers that house almost all of my console’s controllers and peripherals. They sit in a corner of my temple of doom stacked on top of one and other. I would have to say that it is the best system I’ve come up with so far for organizing all of my extra stuff that is difficult to display. One group of drawers is all for licensed peripherals, grouped by console, one drawer for light guns, one for memory cards and other delicates, etc. But the very top drawer is dedicated to what I call my Nerd Kit, which is basically a collection of the essential tools for good video game collecting. Stuff I use for the cleaning of new additions, as well as the upkeep and general maintenance of my collection as a whole. I have been adding stuff as I develop a need for it, so if you have a Nerd Kit of your own, and you have something in it that you feel is vital, and I have left it out, by all means tell me by leaving a comment.
Among the cleaning utilities I have in the kit are both name brand Q Tips as well as generic brand Q Tips and a small soft brissel tooth brush. The reason I have two different kinds of Q Tips is because the name brand Q Tips are a bit softer and good for cleaning connectors that aren’t as dirty. Due to their softness they also tend to soak up more cleaning solution. The generic brand Q Tips tend to be harder and are generally better for cleaning out something like a Super NES game that had Mountain Dew spilled in it 15 years ago.
I use the tooth brush mostly for cleaning out controllers and consoles. The kind I have is an infant tooth brush that I managed to procure from the public health office during one of my daughters vaccination appointments, but I am sure you can buy them just about anywhere. It works really great because it’s so small and the brissels are super soft.
I have two different fluids in my kit; Windex and a diluted isopropyl alcohol solution (not pictured). I use name brand Windex (I have found that the cheaper generic brands can sometime leave blue stains, so I only use the real stuff) and I use it mainly for cosmetic cleaning, like console and controller casings and the non-label parts of cartridge housings. Sometimes you run across a controller that has some unidentifiable sticky horribleness spackled into the entire inside, and for something heavy like that I use the aforementioned toothbrush and a little bit of Ivory dish soap. The isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) solution is what I use to clean cartridge and console contacts. The solution I use is 1 part isopropyl alcohol, 2 parts demineralized water. It is important you don’t use tap water, as it contains stuff like sodium, calcium, and often times fluoride that can end up doing more damage than good in the long run.
Pressurized Air Duster
Remember when you were a kid and you would blow into your Nintendo games to get them to work? Did it ever work? Probably not, because the problem was more than likely a combination of the 72 pin connector in your NES and the 10NES lockout chip. Not only did you blowing into your cart certainly not solve anything, but the misty spray of saliva that you released when you would blow would find its way onto your game’s connectors and attribute to corrosion. It’s a good thing Nintendo let everybody know this… nearly 15 years after the NES ceased production.
This is where the pressurized air duster comes in handy. You can easily blow out all your carts without the risk of exposing your carefully cleaned connectors to unnecessary corrosion. It is also pretty handy to blow dust out of consoles when taking them apart for cleaning, for blowing dust off of display shelves, and blowing dust and grit out of cooling fans on newer systems such as Game Cube, Wii, and PlayStation 2 and 3. I would rate this as a absolute must for any collector serious about keeping their stuff dust free.
If you don’t coil and rubber band your controller cords, than what the hell do you do with them? This was actually the first addition to my Nerd Kit back when I stored it all in a N64 hard shell console case. This is another item that I feel is a necessity. I would seriously be undoing tangles for an hour if I had to unravel a giant ball of controllers everytime I needed a turbo pad to play Legendary Wings. The horror…
Oh yes, lest I forget. Essential tools include and exacto knife, a couple small screw drivers and the all mighty gamebit. If you do not have a gamebit than I highly recommend that you grab on off ebay. The one I got was only $7 and it hasn’t failed me yet. I most recently used it to transfer the reproduction board of my Dragon Quest V into a Super Famicom Dragon Quest V case. Beautiful. The smaller screw drivers are good for taking apart your NES or Sega consoles, and also the older NES carts that do not have the security screws.
CD Laser Cleaner
You’d be surprised what a simple laser eye cleaning can do for a CD system. I recently cleaned the eye of my old PS2’s laser (and also blew out the fan with my handy air duster) and it works like a dream. It no longer makes terrifying whirring noises between cinemas in Final Fantasy XII and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. This is also a must for Dreamcast fans (like myself). You be surprised what a good cleaning can do for an older system, especially the ones with moving parts.
Dust Free Cloth
And finally, no Nerd Kit can be complete without a good dust free cloth. I got my at a car detailing place, and it has it’s own little bag and everything. Perfect for cleaning cartridge labels, TV screens, hand helds, and shining up consoles.
There are a few other things I keep in the kit, such as a wide selection of batteries (for Wii remotes, peripherals, Dreamcast VMUs), various wipes and cloths, and an assortment of devices such as RCA extenders and RF splitters, because it always seemed that before I assembled the Nerd Kit, I never had anything when I needed it. Now it’s always right where I can find it.
Am I missing anything that you think is vital to upkeep your collection? If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment and tell me what’s up.