Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions from past customers. Don’t hesitate to e-mail me if you have any further questions.

Q) What is a donor cart and why do you need one?
A) I convert old Nintendo games (donor carts) to new, never released games. I reuse the outside plastic shell and the circuit board to make your game. Different games have different circuit boards inside, and many of them are not compatible. On the main web page at nesreproductions.com click on the circuit board picture next to the game you want to purchase; a popup window will provide you with a list of compatible donor carts. You must find one game from that list and ship it to me. I take care of the rest. Since I reuse most of the donor cart components, the reproduction will only look as good as what you send me. If you want clean reproduction (free of writing, scratches, etc) then you must supply me a clean donor cart.

Q) Will the reproduction work on my system?
A) If the donor cart you send me works on your current system, the reproduction will as well.

Q) Why do I have to ship a game to you?
A) In recent years, retro gaming has become very popular and the cost of donor carts has gone up while supply and quality of donor carts has gone down (eBay seems to be the only place I can now purchase donor carts. Unfortunately, a lot of eBay sellers either use stock pictures that vastly differ from the final product you receive, or demand astronomical prices for what were once common games). Some customers also want reproductions of games I don’t have easy access to (PAL, Famicom, or even using custom shells). To keep prices constant (they haven’t changed since 2002!) customers must now supply the donor cart.

Q) What exactly am I paying for?
The fixed price covers my time, supplies and shipping. That is how I’m able to keep prices so low – I supply you a service, not a product. This includes:new memory chips holding the game datanew battery/battery holder (if applicable)the time/material to assemble the gamereturn shipping in USA/Canada
Q) What method of payment do you accept?
A) PayPal, money order, certified check, personal check or cash.

Q) What is the cost of shipping?
A) Shipping is included. I ship air mail to the USA and Canada. There’s an added fee to ship to the rest of the world.

Q) How should we ship the donor cart to you?
A) The best, cheapest, and easiest way is using USPS in the USA / Canada Post in Canada. When shipping items to me, please mark item value @ 10$ to avoid paying Canadian customs fees (your donor cart will be shipped back to you anyways) Here in Canada, anything priced over 20$ gets an automatic 13% sales tax + 5$ handling fee added to it. If you ship via UPS/FedEx, they also add a brokerage fee (which tends to be around 25$!!) It’s best to ship using USPS for this reason.

Q) I made my own game / I want a game not on your list. Can you put it on a cart for me?
A) Maybe! You’ll need to e-mail me the ROM image (.NES file) so that I can verify the game can be reproduced. You will also be responsible for creating your own custom label for your new game. Otherwise you’ll get a game back with no label. I do not reproduce commercially available games – please don’t ask me to reproduce games like Stadium Events

Q) Can you reproduce SNES/GBA/Other system games?
A) At this time, due to high volume and little free time, I’m focusing only on NES games. In the future, I might venture to other systems, but the NES is what I love, and want to focus my limited free time on.

Q) How long does the process take?
A) It depends. I’m not a store, I’m not a big company with employees. I’m a game collector that does this on his free time using his electronics lab in his home. It depends on how many other orders I have at the same time. The actual process takes only a couple of days (cleaning, assembling, testing and shipping your game) You should add return shipping time (5-7 days), shipping time to me, and delay due to other orders (typically 1-2 weeks). On average, I have 50-100 games I’m working on any one time. From the time you ship the donor cart to me to the time you get it back should take about 4-6 weeks on average.

Q) Can I use my own custom label rather than the one showing on your web site?
A) Sure! E-mail me and I’ll provide you with the correct image dimensions that I use in the label printing process.

Q) A guy is selling reproductions on YouTube and says he doesn’t need donor carts. Why do you? And why does your web site look so 90’s??? Why should I trust you?
A) Short answer: Not everything on YouTube is true or in your best interest. I’ve been asking customers to send me donor carts for the past 6 years. Customers from across the pond pay a few bucks extra and I do purchase, clean, and ship donor carts to them. But I do so from local game stores (with limited stock) after I had a chance to make sure the games are in MINT condition. I charge them my actual cost. Back in 2002, donor carts were on average 3$, in 2008 5$, 8-10$ today. To keep prices the same as in 2002, I decided to make nesreproductions.com a service provider, not a product producer. You may for my services. Read the long answer on why my site looks so old. 🙂

Visit the nesreproductions.com – Hall of Shame to see why you should be careful of whom you buy your games from.

Long answer: Back in 2002 no one was selling NES reproductions. This commercial concept was my brain child after talking to other long time forum members over at DigitalPress.com. Before moving to a dedicated server, this site was created in a couple of days and served from Yahoo! (one of my goals at the time was to also optimize for 28.8k modems!) Also in 2002, bandwidth limits were much more strict than they are today, and much more expensive! To keep costs down, I kept images as small as possible (you can still click on images on this site and get full size versions)

Fast forward over a decade, and not much has changed on the site unfortunately (Remember, this is a hobby for me. I do this for fun. I don’t do this for the money. My prices have not changed in 10+ years even though shipping from Canada has gone up >200% and the Canadian dollar is many times stronger than it used to be when I started) But heck, at least nesreproductions.com looks great on a smart phone!

In 2002, I used to post full size images of my reproductions. Little did I know that others would take screen grabs of my labels and use them on their own reproductions. This is why everything is now water marked on the site. Over the years, I paid (out of pocket) for artists to create some of these labels. For these, I’m the only one who has the high res TIFF versions. If anyone else sells a reproduction that looks like mine (but isn’t) chances are you’re purchasing a much lower resolution screen grab!

Over the years I’ve also had the unfortunate task of fixing reproductions made by others – I’ve seen it all. Wrong type of wire used, the inside of carts that look like a rat’s nest, batteries that are held in place with tape, labels that look like they were printed on an inkjet printer, etc. I’ve fixed dozens of these reproductions; reproductions purchased by customers that over paid from places like eBay and “some guy on a chat forum”. I guess with the invent of YouTube and 20$ at Radio Shack, anyone can make their own reproductions! My electronics lab has state-of-the-art soldering, desoldering and rework stations, commercial grade EPROM erasers and programmers, etc. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on equipment over the years. Has the other guy? Most importantly, has the “other guy” been professionally trained to use this equipment? I have an aerospace engineering degree with majors in Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science. I’ve spent countless of hours in a lab designing, manufacturing, testing and programming many different types of circuit boards.

I have also heard too many “hey you can clean those carts” from eBay comments. How exactly can one clean permanent marker from carts that have texture to it? Clean yellowed/browned carts? cracked carts? carts with a kid’s name etched into them with a knife? Games that smell like a rat was using it as a toilet? What about ones where the circuit board is so rusted on the inside, I would be scared to run power through it?

Bottom line: Purchase from me, purchase from someone else, I don’t care. Unlike others, I will not be learning on your game using your money. You will get a professionally assembled cart that I stand 100% behind – even if it costs money out of my pocket to make it right. I’ve been doing this for 10+ years with thousands of satisfied customers from around the world. I’ve been featured on countless web sites, blogs, magazines and local newspapers. Have others? Do they really have YOUR best interest in mind, or their own?

interesting tidbits: As far as I know, “reproduction” and “donor cart” are 2 terms I came up with in the context of NES reproductions. In retrospect, reproduction is not the best choice of words, as I’m not actually reproducing something which ever existed. But alas, the term stuck, and is now commonly used in the gaming industry. donor cart is a lot more accurate in terms of what it is.