Game cartridge contribution instructions

Note: new submissions are no longer accepted, except in special cases

Taking photos of the cartridge

Cartridge submissions require three primary photos of the cartridge: one front photo of the shell and label, one front photo of the circuit board, and one back photo of the circuit board. In the circuit board photos, the labels of the main chips should be visible.

Front photo PCB front photo example PCB back photo example

Here are some general tips for taking good photos:

  • Good lighting and focus is much more important than the amount of megapixels in your camera/smartphone
  • Taking photos during daytime with ambient lighting (but no direct sunlight) usually gives good results
  • If you're too close to the subject, you can get blurry photos (unless you are using macro mode or equivalent). Focus is more important than megapixels, so move back a bit!
  • Consider using a clean piece of white paper (e.g. printer paper) as a background in the photo

Extra photos for chip labels

If you find it difficult to get a good photo of the circuit board with all chip labels visible, you can just take a decent primary photo and include extra photos of the chips in the submission. As long as all main chips have visible labels in some photos, it's ok if the primary photo is not perfect.

Identifying the cartridge stamp code

Almost every official genuine cartridge has a stamped code on its label consisting of two digits and optionally one letter. This information is not usually visible in the main photo, so it has to be collected separately. Identify the stamp code and include the stamp in the submission in some way, for example by writing it in a .txt file and including it in the submission.

The stamp is sometimes very difficult to see, especially if the label has a complicated picture instead of large areas with solid colours:

Cartridge stamp example, not visible
This cartridge has stamp code "00A", but it's not visible in the photo.

If you find it difficult to see the stamp, try using a strong light source and looking at the cartridge from different angles. Here are some photos of the previous example cart from different angles, and the stamp code highlighted with blue colour:

Cartridge stamp example 1 Cartridge stamp example 1, annotated

Cartridge stamp example 2 Cartridge stamp example 2, annotated

Sending the submission

Once you have taken a set of photos and identified the stamp code, upload them somewhere (e.g. Google Drive) and send me (Gekkio) a link via E-mail/Discord/Twitter.

Examples of bad photos

Bad photo 1
This photo is completely terrible and worthless. Never send photos like this.

Bad photo 2
This photo is too dark, and the chip labels are not visible.

Bad photo 3
This photo was obviously taken with flash on, because the lighting is very uneven. Using flash is not always bad, and the main problem in this photo is that chip labels are not readable. For example, the label of the chip on the right (U1) is not visible at all.

Examples of good photos

Good photo 1 Good photo 2 Good photo 3

These photos are perfect: perfectly in focus, nice even lighting, white background, and all chip labels are visible.