If you played the NES, SNES or Nintendo 64, you’ve probably blown into a cartridge or two. The quick-fix trick cleared out any dust that was preventing games from working properly — or so we thought.
The PBS Digital Studios show It’s OK To Be Smart recently examined the practice, which was often used when a game appeared to be frozen or did not launch correctly.
However, it turns out our “cleaning” efforts were never actually doing anything and all that excess breathing was really just our brains playing tricks on us. As the video below explains, what actually helped get the games working was simply removing the cartridge and placing it back into the system — blowing air had nothing to do with it, and actually, the moisture in your breath may have even damaged games.
Chris Higgins at Mental Floss also touched on this topic with a great post that fully debunks the air-blowing practice.
“My money is on the blowing thing being a pure placebo, offering the user just another chance at getting a good connection,” Higgins wrote. “The problems with Nintendo’s connector system are well-documented, and most of them are mechanical — they just wore out faster than expected.”
So there you have it — blowing into Nintendo games was really just a myth, and as PBS notes below, gamers are just victims of confirmation bias.
Related: Mario Kart 8 helps Nintendo’s Wii U turn a corner, lifting console sales more than Titanfall or Second Son