Pokemon players warned to back up carts as some begin to die completely

Rebecca Hills-Duty
Game Boy Color and Pokemon CrystalReddit

Though failing cartridge batteries are nothing new to the Pokemon community, a new problem has arisen that a change of battery cannot fix.

To store save files, older cartridges such as those used on the GameBoy Color handheld required a battery. Like all batteries, they can leak or go flat, necessitating the installation of a replacement battery, which can be a delicate procedure. However, now the Pokemon fan community is discovering that cartridges can still fail even after a battery replacement.

Article continues after ad

A Pokemon fan on Reddit named Unlucky_Instance_159 discovered that their copy of Pokemon Crystal was no longer able to save games, despite changing the battery only two years earlier. Replies on the thread advised Unlucky_Instance_159 that many commonly available replacement batteries are very cheaply made and unreliable, meaning this is a problem that is likely to reoccur if another battery is installed.

Cartridge components fail

The problem is compounded due to a quirk of the Generation 2 Pokemon carts. In Gen 2 carts, the battery not only has to preserve the save file but also maintain the real-time clock which is required for many in-game events. This means the battery drains twice as quickly.

Sign up to Dexerto for free and receive:
Fewer Ads|Dark Mode|Deals in Gaming, TV and Movies, and Tech
Article continues after ad

Other users on Reddit pointed out that it is not only the older retro cartridges being affected by faulty components. There are reports that carts from the DS and 3DS era such as X and Y and Sun and Moon are also failing. Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby cartridges are said to be particularly vulnerable to failure, despite using flash memory that does not need a battery.

Red 3DS and POkemon Moon cart

Many Pokemon fans are recommending that owners of older carts should back them up using a combination of Nintendo 64, Everdrive, and Transfer Pak if they can, or obtain a device such as the GBxCart. Alternatively, install a battery holder and change out the battery every couple of years.

None of these options are ideal, and it would be much better if an official method of preserving these games was available.

Article continues after ad

Related Topics

About The Author

Rebecca is a Tech Writer at Dexerto, specializing in PC components, VR, AMD, Nvidia and Intel. She has previously written for UploadVR and The Escapist, hosts a weekly show on RadioSEGA and has an obsession with retro gaming. Get in touch at rebecca.hillsduty@dexerto.com