There's nothing worse than digging out your old Pokemon games and finding that one save file- the one you invested hours of 8-bit-blood, sweat and tears into- to find that it has vanished into the digital ether.
The save file in these games runs off an old CR032 watch battery. They can last up to a good 20 years but once the battery dies, that's it. The game won't recall your save every time you reboot the game.
Sadly, there's no way of retrieving your old saved games, but there is a way of getting the save function to work again! And the best bit about it all is there is no soldering required, unlike a lot of other retro console and game fixes. The tools you need are all widely available and super cheap on Amazon and eBay.
So, here's what you'll need:
- Electric Tape
- Flat-head screwdriver (or some form of small plastic palette you get with cheap phone cleaning sets)
- 3.8mm/4.5mm hex tool bit (usually come as a set)
- CR2025 battery- Check the number on the battery when you open up the cartridge. Most likely it will be CR2025, but I've heard CR2032 works fine too and apparently can last longer.
And that's it!
Please note: Please do this exercise at your own risk! I am not responsible for your game if it gets wrecked during the process. I have however done this process a lot and have never ran into any issues. As long as you're patient, it's very easy.
The example I'm using is for Pokemon Silver on the Gameboy. Later games like Ruby and Saphire for Gameboy Advance run off a different, smaller battery for the example I'm doing here.
Below, I've made a timelapse of my own process which should help understand the instructions that follow.
So first off, unscrew the screw in the back of the Gameboy game cartridge. Put the screw to the side and gently open up the cartridge.
The battery is the small round disc in the top right of the board. This part is easy but you need to take your time and be patient with it. Slowly, begin prying apart the metal arm that's soldered to the battery with a flat headed tool. Damaging the old battery obviously isn't a problem.These old games can take a beating but be careful not to damage the arm itself. All you need to do is break the two soldered points that hold the arm to the battery.
Once that's done, do the same on the other side. This bit is a little harder as the other silver arm on the bottom side is harder to see, but you just need to hold the battery still with your finger and thumb whilst you keep working it with the flat head until the soldering points break.
Chuck away the old battery and then cut a small (about 2 inches) bit of electric tape. Feed it sticky-side up to the base of the board beneath the bottom silver arm.
Now put the new battery in-between the two metal arms. flatten them down with the flat-head as much as possible so they're hugging the new battery tightly. Then wrap the electric tape around them all.
Fit the cartridge back together and screw back in the screw using the hex tool.
And there you go! Now you can relive the glory days of Pokemon knowing you're safe for another 20 years.
Still not working?
If your save function still doesn't work, try reopening the cartridge again and flattening down the metal arms to the battery as firmly as possible as it could be they're just not making close enough contact to work.
Still not working!?
There's a slim chance the old battery might have spent a little too long in the cartridge and leaked, causing damage but it's highly unlikely.