Introduction: Making a Custom N64 Game Insert

As a game collector, nothing drives me crazy more than improperly stored game cartridges. Sega (generally) had hard plastic cases. NES/SNES games had cardboard boxes (which aren't the best for protecting the game), but they also had dust covers to protect the contacts. NES/SNES game holders are also relatively common place, and the NES even has individual cases for its games.

Unfortunately, the Nintendo 64 had neither of these things. While N64 storage cases exist, they tend to be rare, expensive, and bulky/ugly. Unless you were lucky/smart enough to keep your original boxes, storing these games was no fun task.

The problem with storing N64 games tends to stem form their slightly rounded shape. To combat this problem, I've made a template for making a cardstock insert. Why? Well a few reasons are:
  • The inserts have a rectangular shape, which makes storing them in tupperware/containers/boxes easier.
  • The inserts are also made to fit inside of the aforementioned NES game cases. Combined with some nice label work, it makes for the perfect individual N64 game case.
  • This method is a lot cheaper than buying Retroboxes, etc. especially if you already have the NES cases.

Step 1: Materials

To make these Nintendo 64 inserts, you will need the following materials:

Cardstock, 8 1/2" x 11" size.

If you are using NES cases, you will also need:

NES cases. The template I've included was made specifically for my former rental boxes. I've noticed that official Nintendo cases have some small extra pegs inside of them, so you may need to make some small incisions. These should not interfere with where the game sits.

Labels: I used some Avery shipping labels I found on clearance. You can easily use two 3" x 4" labels, carefully lined up for the cover. Also, a 1" x 4" label works great for the spine. Avery offers free online templates, making this a breeze.

You will also need the following tools:

A Printer.
An x-acto knife/scalpel. It is preferable to have both a sharp blade and a dull blade (explanation later).
Tape (optional).


Step 2: The Insert: Overview

Before we make the cardstock insert, I think it's important that I go over a few overview points.

1. It is important that you take a couple quick measurements before you start assembly. While the measurements from my template should be correct, they may be off due to a couple issues, such as printer differences. These measurements only need to be off by a couple millimeters to completely ruin it. Here are a couple of measurements:

Cartridge dimensions: 11.5cm x 7.5cm x 2cm.
NES Case internal dimensions: 12.25cm x 13.75cm x 2.25cm

2. The making of this insert involves a lot of folding. The easiest way to get nice, crisp folds is to use a dull blade. Run the blade (with your ruler) along the line you plan on folding. This will allow you to fold with ease. If a dull blade isn't available, gently using your scissors can work too (be careful not to cut yourself using this method).

Start by Right-clicking the image above and saving it to your computer. Print it off, and we will begin.

Step 3: The Insert: Cutting the Fat

With your template in front of you, we can start by cutting off the parts you will not need. While this can be done with scissors alone, I find it easier to use an x-acto knife or scalpel. Start by cutting out sections A through L. It should look like the second image.

Step 4: The Insert: First Folds

We begin with the first 2 folds, as indicated by the arrows in the first image. Using your ruler, carefully crease the lines, and fold them underneath. Once properly folded, you can re-open the page.

Step 5: The Insert: Center Fold

Next up will be the center fold. Normally I'd say this should be done first, however the template is not as perfect as I'd like it to be. Therefore, find the center by lining up the two previously folded lines. It is incredibly important that these planes match up evenly. You should be left with a V groove, similar to the second image.

Step 6: The Insert: Small Flaps

Next up, we will be liberating some small flaps. These small flaps are indicated in the first image. Using your scissors or scalpel, carefully cut out the small flaps. It is important that you do not cut too far; you should only be cutting up to the end of the second rectangle. For more information, see the second image. 

Do this for all 4 flaps. We will get back to these later on.

Step 7: The Insert: the Sides

Next we will be folding the sides of the insert. Starting with the lines indicated by the arrows, carefully make a crease on EACH of the lines. Fold them as shown in the images, making a small step or rabbet. The end of the side will be tucked underneath later on. After this has been done on both sides, re-flatten the template.

Step 8: The Insert: Top and Bottom

Similar to the sides, we will now fold the top and bottom, as marked by the arrows in the first image. It is important that while creasing these, you also crease and fold the flaps. Once both top and bottom are folded, flatten the template once again.

Step 9: The Insert: Prepping the Center

As shown by the arrows, crease these lines. You will only need to crease where the lines actually are (not the whole length of the page).

Step 10: The Insert: Cutting the Center

Using the first image as a guide, we will now cut the lines that make up the center. DO NOT CUT THE LINES WE PREVIOUSLY CREASED! This is where a scalpel will come in handy. Carefully cut each of the lines, until the center is now able to move from the rest of the insert.

Remember those creases from the previous step? We will now fold these. Follow the image as a reference.

Step 11: The Insert: Cutting the Large Flaps

Now that the center is cut out, we will do one last bit of cutting. Using your scissors or scalpel, make 3 cuts at the top and bottom of the insert. As with the other flaps, do not cut past the marked line. You should have 2 flaps on top and bottom, similar to the image.

Step 12: The Insert: Gluing Up

With all our cutting done, we can start gluing! Should you choose, you could use tape as a substitute, although it will be more visible, less sturdy, and a lot less professional looking.

Following the image below, apply some glue to the area shown. Fold the two parts together, and watch as they adhere to each other.

Step 13: The Insert: Attaching the Large Flaps

Flip your template over. We will now be gluing the large flaps onto the top and bottom. Fold your top and bottom into position, and carefully attach the large flap to it as shown in the image. Repeat until all 4 flaps are attached.

Step 14: The Insert: Attaching the Small Flap

Next we will be gluing the small flap to the insert. Unlike the previous flap, this flap will be glued onto the INSIDE of the insert. Apply some glue to the outer face and attach the flap as shown in the image. Repeat for all 4 flaps.

Step 15: The Insert: Attaching the Final Flaps

Last but not least, we will now glue on the final flaps. These flaps will overlap the first flaps. It is very important that your step/rabbet is properly oriented. Repeat with all 4 flaps. You should have something similar to the images.

Step 16: The Insert: Finalizing the Back

The final step is to glue up the back. With your final 6 flaps facing up, start by putting some glue onto the back of the Cartridge holder. We will then fold the two side flaps onto this glued area.

Next, apply some glue to the areas shown in the forth image. We will now fold each flap down so that it connects to the previous flap, and if possible the cartridge holder.

Apply careful pressure, and flip it over. You're Done!

Step 17: The Insert: Test and Suggestions

Before we can celebrate, test the insert with a game. Place the game inside. You may have to fix a few issues, but if you followed the instructions well enough it should fit perfectly. Again, if something seems oversized, you may need to adjust your printer settings or in extreme cases, make your own template.

So what now?

Well, you can do as I suggested, and fit this insert into an NES case. If you do this, I recommend gluing a second piece of cardstock over the back of the insert. This makes it a wee bit stronger, but most of all it hides all the folding on the back (which is completely visible through the case). You can also print off a game related picture on this piece, to up the awesomeness.

I highly recommend using either the original box art, or visiting the Retroboxes website for some nice mockups.

If you have any other suggestions, mention them in the comments.

The End.
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