Restoring Neglected Sentimentality

I don’t remember if I brought it up last time when I was talking about my Game Boy Advance, but I’ve had this itch to expand a bit further and make an attempt at restoring more of my old stuff. I went through what I had stored away in my closet and, well…

My handhelds and cartridges have been slowly rotting away while in my closet; this is something I’ve known for many years. What did catch me by surprise was how very few Game Boy and Game Boy Advance cartridges I had left. Yeah, a few of them were lost and stolen, but there were also some that straight up vanished into thin air.

One of my early GB games was Mega Man II and that one disappeared when I was still a little kid. No idea where the hell that one went. My copy of Kirby’s Pinball Land was stolen by my elementary school bully (thanks school for not doing anything about it). Pokémon Blue and Kirby’s Block Ball also disappeared, but those two happened after we moved homes (unlike my copy of Kirby’s Super Star, which I assume it stayed at an old neighbor’s house). No idea where my cartridges for Kirby’s Dream Land and Dream Land 2 ended up, though. I remember seeing them several years ago.

Now then, I already own these two flash carts that I previously talked about in my previous post. I have all that I need simply to sate my occasional Game Boy itch. What more could I possibly need?

It’s not really a matter of need, but want. I knew I wanted to someday mod/restore my Game Boy Color and dedicate the EZ-Flash Jr to it, but why stop there? Why not restore what I have into a more presentable state?

I fell into the Etsy rabbit hole. I had already seen videos about reproduction cartridges and cartridge restoration/repairs and it came to me: “maybe I can also do this?”. Perhaps some unnecessary purchases, but I just want to bring what I want back to life.

I ordered a few replacement cartridge shells, alongside some stickers and reproduction game boxes. I don’t particularly care about collector’s value. These games are originals, so I don’t mind at all since the end product will most likely look better in the end. 

What I did consider was making reproduction cartridges for my lost and stolen games, but individual flash carts do add up really quickly. What I may end up doing (eventually) is getting everything else first and later try to hunt down those cartridges online and yoink the PCB out of them. Though if they’re too expensive I may just end up getting a Flash Cart or two.

I also want to replace the ancient batteries in them, so this little project will also serve as some soldering practice. I may be bad with a soldering iron, but this seems like something I could do somewhat easily. Maybe. Hopefully.

The battery in my copy of Pokémon Silver died well over a decade ago. Don’t remember exactly when, but I tried forcibly ripping out the battery from Kirby’s Star Stacker and taping it onto Silver. 

And it worked! Well, for just a little bit. Just an attempt as a teenager with no knowledge of how things work. Luckily Kirby’s Star Stacker doesn’t really need the save battery. 

Also, in my list is fixing up my precious copy of Mega Man Battle Network 3: Blue. The cartridge once went through a wash cycle when I lent it to a friend of mine, but it kept working just fine. The only real victim here was the sticker on it. It should look amazing when the replacement shell and sticker arrive. 

I still regret wiping the save file simply because I wanted to play more of it (I had 100%’d it). I also ordered a cart flasher, which will let me back up and restore save files. I beat the postgame on the new save file, but I may back-up this data and replace it with one that’s fully complete it as a way of restoring it to the way I originally left it.

Some stuff should be arriving this week. When enough items arrive, I can start working on the restoration. Hopefully I don’t forget to take pictures along the way unlike when I was fixing up my GBA. If the game boxes end up being really good, I’ll see if I can order ones for games that weren’t already in their store. I may skip on the few shovelware-ish games like Off Road and BreakThru! since they aren’t very good to begin with.

I also plan on replacing the tiny square shelves in my room for ones that can actually hold items instead of mere tiny decorations. I want to showcase them there.

Nothing like a good dose of depression to make me spend money on things that I don’t need.