Modder finally fixes the biggest problem with the original NES

Rebecca Hills-Duty
NES with Ninten-drawer mod

The NES is an iconic console that launched Nintendo’s vast videogame empire, but it did have one terrible flaw, one that has finally been resolved by a pair of modders.

The Nintendo Entertainment System or NES was the device that made Nintendo a household name across America and Europe. It is due to the success of the NES that Nintendo enjoys its current status as the Elder Statesman of modern consoles.

For all the amazing qualities of the NES, it did come with a major flaw, which has haunted gamers and retro enthusiasts for decades.

The NES makes use of a front-loading flap and something named a ZIF, or Zero Insertion Force connector. This gave the console an appearance closer to a VCR, letting it look more like an appliance and something that would blend in next to your TV.

Fixing an old design flaw

Unfortunately, that design choice would come back to bite Nintendo in later years. In top-loading game consoles like the Famicom, the Japanese version of the NES, the action of forcibly pushing and pulling the cartridge from the slot helps keep the connectors free of dust, debris, and oxidation. This is not the case with the NES’s ZIF connector. As a result, the connector becomes caked in gunk, which stops a proper connection from forming and causes the dreaded ‘blinking light’ error.

Modders and retro enthusiasts RockerGaming and Reventlow were planning on putting a new transparent case on an NES but were not excited about the prospect of dealing with a dodgy 72-pin ZIF connector. So they put their heads together to come up with a solution, which they dubbed the Ninten-drawer, and was shared on Twitter/X.

As the name suggests, the Ninten-drawer effectively replaces the VCR-like ZIF connector with a tunnel-like drawer system that gives users a straight path to the connector. This allows for better reliability for both the console and the games.

RockerGaming is now searching for people to help test the mod and see how well it holds up. You can check his Twitter for more details.

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