The NES is one of Nintendo's most famous systems, but it came with a massive, massive design flaw. The "toaster" zero insertion force cartridge slot — designed so the system could avoid unwanted comparisons with traditional games consoles and thus avoid the stigma which had risen up since the Video Game Crash of 1983 — wears out over time, leading the infamous blinking light error — the precursor to the Xbox 360's Red Light of Death.

While it's possible to fix this issue and replace the contacts, it's not a complete solution, and eventually the new contacts will wear out as well. What is needed is a complete redesign — and that's what Blinking Light Win proposes.

Blinking Light Win is a simple mod which can be fitted inside the NES using nothing but a screwdriver. It essentially removes the "toaster" effect mechanism with a straightforward cartridge slot. A Kickstarter campaign has been started by creator Arcade Works to fund production, with a very modest $15,000 being the target goal. 36 days remains with just $146 raised at the time of writing.

Here's some info from the Kickstarter itself:

The Blinking Light Win is a complete re-engineering of the cartridge loading mechanism. It vastly simplifies how games are inserted and by virtue of it's simplicity, it reduces wear and tear on the cartridge slot connector that lets the game communicate with the system. It effectively makes the toaster NES a side-loading top-loader.

The Blinking Light Win consists of two parts, a dual connector PCB and a redesigned loading tray. The dual connector PCB takes the place of the original 72-pin connector. You'll notice it doesn't resemble a ZIF in any way and that's what makes it's special. By being closer to a traditional edge connector, you'll get to enjoy the reliability of every other cartridge based system. Less bending = longer lifespan.

If you're worried about having a system that loads completely sideways, don't be. The majority of Neo-Geo 1-slot boards are side-loaders and they have been in active service for over 20 years. None of them have mechanical issues with the games loading horizontally and those boards have been mounted in every orientation possible.

We personally think this is one of the most exciting developments in NES history, and could mean that millions of faulty consoles are restored to life. Will you be giving this your backing? Let us know with a comment.

[source kickstarter.com]