Action 53 manual

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This is a draft of the common manual for Action 53 multicarts. Its precautions and regional notes sections can be reused for other projects distributed on cartridge.


A Game Pak is a high-precision piece of electronics. Don't drop it, and don't take it apart. Don't touch the edge connector with your fingers or otherwise let it get wet or dirty. Always turn off the Control Deck's power before inserting or removing a Game Pak.*

To fix a blank or scrambled screen, turn the power off and remove and reinsert the Game Pak. If that doesn't work, don't blow on the edge connector. Instead, clean the edge connector with a cotton swab soaked in water or isopropyl rubbing alcohol and then dry it with the other end.

A small fraction of the population is sensitive to flashing lights and other things commonly seen in video games. If you have had seizures, ask a health care professional before playing video games. To minimize the risk, play with the lights on and don't sit too close to the screen.

Playing too long can hurt your eyes and hands. Make sure to take a few minutes' break every hour. If you start to feel sick or sore, take a nap.

Leaving a still image on the screen too long may cause the image to be permanently burned into the screen. This can happen with games' score indicators or with a game that's left on pause too long. It can even happen with regular TV, with the channel's logo or the ball game's score in the corner. Cathode ray tube (CRT) front and rear projection TVs appear to be the most affected, with plasma TVs and direct view CRT TVs less so. LCDs and LCD projectors don't appear to suffer from noticeable burn-in. So if you're leaving a game on pause more than a couple minutes, turn the TV off.

* With the exception of TapeDump.

Regional notes

The NES Control Deck contains a checking integrated circuit (CIC) to ensure good connection with the Game Pak. When the CIC fails to make a connection to the key chip in the Game Pak, the power light blinks slowly. To give each distributor exclusive access to its territory, Nintendo used a slightly different CIC for each region.

Action 53 uses a multi-region key that can interact with the CICs used in North America (NTSC) and both European markets (PAL). If the power light blinks, wait ten seconds and press the Reset button on the Control Deck to change the region. After a successful connection, it saves the region for next time. But if it continues to blink after several tries, or if it comes up with a blank or scrambled screen, the edge connector may be dirty. Clean the Game Pak's edge connector, and try other Game Paks.

All activities work on Family Computer and North American versions of the NES, which use 60 Hz field rate. Some activities will not work on PAL systems, which use 50 Hz field rate.

The menu

Each volume of Action 53 contains well over a dozen games and other activities. After the title screen (press A or wait), a list of activities appears.

With an NES controller in port 1:

  • Up and Down: Go to the previous or next activity
  • Left and Right: Go to the previous or next page
  • A: Open an activity's description, or start the activity if the description is showing
  • B: Return to the activity list

With a Super NES Mouse in port 1:

  • Up and Down: Go to the previous or next activity
  • Left and Right: Go to the previous or next page
  • Left button: Open an activity's description, or start the activity if the description is showing
  • Right button: Return to the activity list

With a Zapper in port 2:

  • Aim up and down: Move the cursor to an activity on this page
  • Fire above list: Go to the next page
  • Fire at list: Open an activity's description, or start the activity if the description is showing
  • Fire offscreen: Return to the activity list

Activities that use the Zapper work only with a standard-definition television (SDTV) using a cathode ray tube (CRT). They do not work with flat-panel, projection, or high-definition TVs.

In most activities, you can press the Reset button to return to the menu. In others, Reset goes back to the activity's title screen, and you can choose to return to the menu from the title screen.

Connecting a mouse

If you can solder, and you have a couple controller extension cables, you can build an adapter to use a Super NES controller or Super NES Mouse with your NES. Almost all activities work with the Super NES controller, which you may find more comfortable to hold than the original NES controller. In activities without specific support for the Super NES controller, the B and Y buttons act as A and B on an NES controller. Some activities in this collection work with a mouse as well.

Pins in the Super NES controller are numbered from the square end to the round end.

1 [oooo|ooo) 7
1:+5V  2:Clk  3:Out  4:D0  5,6:NC  7:Gnd

Connect the five pins to the NES plug end as follows:

GND -- |7\
CLK <- |21\ -- +5V
OUT <- |3o| -- NC
 D0 -> |4o| -- NC

Leave the other two pins on each side disconnected.


  • Menu program by Damian Yerrick ( | @PinoBatch on Twitter)
  • Activities developed by contributors listed on activities' description pages
  • Contains entries from game development competitions hosted by and
  • Game Pak distribution through
  • This product is in no way endorsed by Nintendo.