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Dust and video games

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A DualShock 3 controller covered in dust on top of the PlayStation 3 console, also covered in dust.

We all know what dust is. Dust consists of tiny particles composed of dead skin, hair, pet dander, bacteria, and pollen and other pollutants. Dust often travels in the air and sits on tabletops, floors, carpets, countertops, and other objects. However, this article will deal with what dust can do to your video games as dust is a major enemy to electronics.

How Dust Affects Video Games

  1. With older cartridge-based games, dust often gets onto the connector pins of a cartridge. The dust would then enter the cartridge slot. Once inside, the dust can interfere with the pins connecting to the console and often cause glitches and make the game not start. A common method of fixing this is blowing into the connector pins, but that could actually cause the pins to corrode.
  2. Many older consoles also use RF cables for video display. While it may not result in glitches, dust can get between the pins and connectors of RF cables resulting in poor video quality.
  3. With CD-based consoles, dust could get onto the laser lens for the console and interfere with the disc being read, causing games to skip or barely work. Dust could also get onto CDs and scratch them during cleaning, resulting in the game being ruined.
  4. When dust gets into the console itself, it can cause overheating. Current consoles often heat easily and use fans to get the hot air out to prevent this, but the dust can get onto the fan, weakening the effect. The dust can also get into tiny hole vents blocking airflow. While older consoles don't overheat as easily and don't have fans, dust can still build up and trap the heat generated by electricity.
  5. While this would take a VERY long time, dust gets into controllers as well and finds its way into the rubber pads. Over time, this can make buttons stick, not move as quick, possibly scratch the circuit board or create an effect known as Drifting (the controller‘s analog sticks move by themselves when you don't move them). An example of that is the analog sticks of the Joy-Cons from the Nintendo Switch (More effects on what dust can do an the analog sticks in the following point).
  6. Dust entering analog sticks in particular has a tendency to mix with skin secretions, grease from the controller and fragments of powered plastic or rubber and have the control stick "sweat" an unpleasant black gunge which is simpler to the "bio-slime" that clogs drain pipes. Playstation Dualshock controllers are particularly prone to this.
  7. Dust can get into keyboards and along with food crumbs and other particles, and make the keys unresponsive.
  8. Dust can also get into computer mice, weakening the gold spring, causing unwanted double clicks. Also, dust can affect the scroll wheel or in older mechanical mice, the roller ball, impeding their performance; dust can even affect optical sensors in modern mice, reducing their accuracy.

Prevention

  1. Keep the room where you keep video games in as clean as possible and keep the doors shut. This lowers the amount of dust that builds up and prevents more dust from getting into your consoles or cartridges. If possible, also keep your games in closed shelves where dust will be unlikely to get in.
  2. Always keep your games on optical discs in their respective cases to keep dust away and prevent them from being scratched or a CD holder if the case is gone.
  3. Fabrics always attract dust so always vacuum futons, beds, or, carpets, rugs, and couches that are in the same room as your video games.
  4. Keep your console fans clean as possible. If you don't want to take apart your consoles or can't, use an air duster on the fan.
  5. Always wash your face well to scrub off dead skin. It'll keep your skin smooth and lower the amount of dust slightly. You can also mix baking soda and water that makes a paste that exfoliates your skin.
  6. Using air dusters can keep keyboards clean and tidy.

How To Get Rid Of Dust

  1. You can take your consoles to a game store that can clean it if necessary.
  2. There are tools on the internet that allow you to open up game consoles and take them apart to clean.
  3. When there is dust on connector pins, the best methods is to take a cotton swab, dab just enough window cleaner so it is moist but not wet and clean the pins and use the other side to dry. DO NOT BLOW INTO THE PINS!

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