We’ve been playing the NES we purchased earlier this year a lot lately. While we do have an Everdrive ready to help us get some homebrew going later (I’ve worked through a fair few of the famicom.party tutorials so far) and to play some harder-to-find titles, it’s all been retro-game-store-bought original cartridges so far, which is why it was a little concerning when the wicked music of The Legend of Zelda noticeably pitched down a few times during gameplay last night. The sprite animations all got a bit gooey and molasses-like, and it felt like the system was really struggling. Once would be spooky enough, but this happened repeatedly!
It turns out, that’s apparently normal when the system is showing a lot of sprites. I’m surprised I’ve never noticed / didn’t know this already, but then, how much time have I spent playing sprite-heavy NES games on the original hardware? I’m doing it now, and it’s happening now. People on reddit mentioned that not having this happen is one of the best aspects of using an emulator, but one poster linked to the above post: how to avoid it on the original hardware by modding your NES to run at a higher frequency! I don’t want to go messing with our dear grey friend, but someday this might be a very fun project. We’ve already disassembled it to clean and pull the pins, so what’s left but to start adding components and resoldering things!