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Thread: Can you find Atari, SNES, or other cartridges underground with a metal detector???

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    Question Can you find Atari, SNES, or other cartridges underground with a metal detector???

    Hello everyone, I have a quick question about finding games underground. Is it possible to find games underground with a metal detector if the games in question are cartridges? Will the metal detector properties (how it uses waves to find things) within the metal detector cause any damage to the games in question? And will the games be playable after years underground in a box a box of course?
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    Did somebody bury their favorite video games in a time capsule when they were a kid?
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    Wink

    Actually no I do not bury games yet I would like to know if the cartridge ones could be buried and found with a metal detector. Or will this cause a plethora of false positives?
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    try it. take a dirt common game and bury it

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    Assuming this isn't some weird joke, I remember reading stories in Nintendo Power about games lost in the snow for the winter or buried in the wreckage of a fire and still working. I don't believe anything a metal detector does would damage a cart. The real worry would be exposure and pressure from the elements. They may be tough to detect packaged in a box without a high-end detector... but, as I'm sure anyone who has read this is wondering, what the hell?

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    Ha! Metal detector? The detector would go off constantly due to the high level of extraterrestrial alloy in our soil, which acts as a homing beacon to the Martian capital of (gurgle) (smack) (click) (gulp) City.

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    I would say no way. They found the Atari stuff because they had a former Atari employee who supervised the original dump. He ran out of concrete, and that's why some stuff remained accessible.
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    Thanks for the advice I was hoping someone already did, @Niku-Sama, and had extensive knowledge on this subject. @celerystalker no this post was not a joke. I remember reading the article http://mashable.com/2014/11/17/atari...ll-games-sold/ almost a year ago and wondered do any of them work after being buried so long. @gameguy what do you mean extraterrestrial soil? And finally @Greg2600 thanks for your answer, but this opens another question, what if you put a bunch of metal rings within it will it affect the cartridges buried? Furthermore, how long could it be buried and still function afterwards will any other factors affect anything that I possibly missed?
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    You could always just make a treasure map when you hide all your valuable games

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    Lightbulb

    Finding the items would not be the hardest part in this equation based on the answers given, so the map may be unnecessary @bb_hood. And no personally I am not looking to bury games I just wanted feedback on if someone did it before or studied how to do it and the practical knowledge of doing it. And more importantly what are the results are the games ok if not what could have been done differently?
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    I don't have the answer to your question, but I'd like to know why on Earth you want to know this.
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    I dont see why they wouldnt detect the carts. They have metal in them right?
    Running a detector over game carts wont damage them, I have actually tried this before, believe it or not.

    Probably the biggest problem concerning bury carts would be the temperature. Who knows who they might react to extreme cold. Batteries might leak over time and damage the carts. As long as they are sealed to prevent moisture they would last awhile but not forever.
    Last edited by bb_hood; 04-29-2015 at 10:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CastlevaniaDude View Post
    I don't have the answer to your question, but I'd like to know why on Earth you want to know this.
    Curiosity?

    Quote Originally Posted by bb_hood View Post
    Batteries might leak over time and damage the carts. As long as they are sealed to prevent moisture they would last awhile but not forever.
    Those batteries contain approximately 0.3896 mL of leak resistant organic electrolyte contained in a sponge like material; they are unlikely to be a serious problem unless they get wet. The bigger problem is moisture as it will cause the traces and pins to rust. Unless the cartridge is not expose to moisture, you can expect it to eventually fail. However, the data on the mask ROM should still remain intact.
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    Even if it rotted you could in theory desolder the chips and throw them on another board as I've seen some rabid NES collectors and SNES too do this because they can buy a hundreds of dollars broken game rotted and all skanked out for nothing or close to it. They'll use an online database and find a cheapo sports title or some terrible licensed TV trash and pop n' swap the chips and problem is solved.

    On topic though it is a really screwy question. Might as well see if you can dig up a gameboy game while you're at it as they're smaller but with plenty of metal in them too. I'd think a N64 game would set the beeper off like mad since they all have that metal bracket plate within with the 2 added screws on top of what the board itself already has and the 2 security screws to keep the plastic shut.

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    I still want to hear why from the OP on this one. It's not just the initial goofy question, but the persistance in continued trouble shooting that makes it seem less like simple curiosity and more like some elaborate and bizarre plan.

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    Good point and I don't really buy into the 'study' of how one could do this most effectively. I think it's common sense that ET *IS* the answer. You have a low moisture environment (desert) with all that stuff buried under a huge layer of concrete and other junk so the cloud based water couldn't seep towards it either. It was kind of like just sticking a cart in the sand of an egyptian desert and letting the wind bury it for a few decades, centuries, or whatever. Under the sand temps drop so it wouldn't get baked, nor would it freeze, and with such low humidity form whatever the source could be, it just stays preserved.

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    Well... obviously the guy wants to walk around looking for buried games. Assuming he's not totally insane he probably has a lead on a viable place to look.

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    Low-end metal detectors can find coins the size of a quarter or smaller, so I am sure a good metal detector would have no problem finding buried video games with all the traces and connectors on them. This would be particularly easy if the game used a battery-backup save feature, as the "button" or "coin" battery would definitely be big enough to set off a metal detector.

    Putting metal rings inside of the empty part of the cartridges' cases would not cause damage to the games' circuit boards or affect the IC chips' operability as long as they weren't crammed into a space which was too small, i.e. Don't put too many rings inside which would prevent being able to easily close the plastic halves of the case. If you were to try the "metal rings make it easier" approach, be sure to secure the rings to the inside of the plastic with adhesive tape or something else which will keep the rings in place and not cause damage to the plastic. For example, wrap the rings in a thin cloth. However, in all likelihood putting extra metal inside the carts won't be necessary to find them with a detector.

    The magnetic field emitted by the metal detector will not damage the games. The ROM which contains the game's programming code is Read Only Memory, so electromagnetism will not affect it. However, the rewritable save area on some games could be erased, corrupted, or otherwise scrambled by too strong of a magnetic field. But even in that case, no worries, as the games would react as if there were just no saved game "files" on the memory chips.

    If you are going to do this as a fun scavenger hunt activity, have a good time! Just remember that you should bury the game(s) in a protective container.

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    Lightbulb Based On What Was Told And Advice Given Here I think this sums what to do did I miss anything?

    @CastlevaniaDude This is about the best way to bury games (classic ones) I need to know this for future use and finding items of course. @bb_hood thanks for the temperature warning I will put this in my summary below. @RP2A03 thank you for the battery and moisture warning I forgot about the possibility of it leaking & the pins rusting. @Tanooki so in other words you can actually de-solder the chips to make the games more compact then store those without even the cartridge correct? @celerystalker this is my most recent response. @Daria of course theres always leads but burying safely seems to be the most challenging part. @Nz17 thanks for the advice about the battery setting off the detector and the re-affirming about the previous metal ring theory.


    The Best Solution From What I Gathered Thus Far:
    1st: The very first thing to do is actually split the cartridges up, the batteries would need to be removed (these can be replaced). And the pins may be removed if at all possible. Moisture is is everyone's enemy in this situation so make sure the cartridges are completely dry.
    2nd: Put in plastic container. But may need to be encased with something in order to prevent erosion if the plastic should fail like metal. And then to prevent moisture encase the metal in concrete.
    3rd: Put about 1-2 big regular metal rings in the case that it will be buried.
    4th: Bury it in one of the top three places


    The best 3 places to bury it would be:
    1. Mountains (very very high one is necessary in order to have the minimal erosion take place)
    2. Desert
    3. Tundra (frozen desert could be great for preservation purposes)

    The only draw back within the deserts is finding it, I have never been to the desert but from what I observe everything looks the same. While a mountain is pretty easy to recognize especially a very high one. Once there it should last a long time. The only disadvantage to the mountains would be scaling it and of course since some countries are blowing the tops off mountains it might be damaged in a random unrelated explosion. And the disadvantage with it all is fighting back snakes, mountain lions, bears, wolves, moose, occasional insect & coyotes just to safely bury the items. Then have to go through all that again in order to get the items.


    The two remaining questions are how long is a "long time" 100, 200, 1000 years?
    And looking back on it all how do chests in the ocean last so long?
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    See, this is why I'm still scratching my head. Not out of condescent, but curiosity, because the more responses come, the more questions that pop up to me. When you talk about future plans for burying games and time tables like 100+ years, anything other than a simple time capsule starts to become pretty out there to think about.

    A treasure hunt contest or something of the like with recent viral concepts such as people searching for hidden cash based on Twitter clues?

    A plan to cryogenically freeze yourself, but you want to bring your games into the future?

    You're secretly a humanoid canine with a compulsion to bury and unearth the things you love? Ok, that one's far fetched... fetched... hmm

    Seriously, though, I don't really intend to make fun, this is just interstingly strange to me.

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