BACKSTORY:

I recently found my Pokémon gold cartridge, which I had from a very long time ago and I was surprised that it was still working after at least 7 years. I could play and save almost normally; the only exception was that I had to set the clock every time. After a week or so, it just stopped saving, and I stopped playing it. Some time after that my seven-year-old nephew saw my Gameboy with the game attached and overwrote my old save ( the horror!), saving a new file. (Honestly I do not know how, because it could not save anymore.) Now I've lost my old save and can't continue a new one.

QUESTION:

Can I somehow recover the save?, Maybe not the conventional way, but I mean data is data, right? The same way you can recover info from a computer if deleted. Is there something I can do to recover that "data"? Childhood memories are on the line!

FYI - I tagged this Gameboy Advance because there was not a Gameboy Color tag; and because I used to play on a Gameboy Advance.

  • 1
    "The same way you can recover info from a computer if deleted." Not if it's deleted. OS's have lots of failsafes like restore points and recycle bins to keep you from actually deleting stuff you might need later, but if it isn't on your memory anymore you can't get it back. – Asad Saeeduddin Jul 11 '13 at 18:44
  • 3
    Even the phrase "delete" isn't really accurate. Unless you use some kind of purging software, your computer normally just leaves the data there until it gets overwritten by a new program. – Lawton Jul 11 '13 at 18:46
  • Ugh, this happened to me at least 3 times with Pokémon Red, when my friend wanted to play a new game. I repeatedly told him not to save when starting a new game, and not to change Boxes on the PC (because that required saving). He always forgot, and I learned to deal with it... eventually. – Nolonar Jul 11 '13 at 20:17
  • Under the "Data is data" assumption, if you remember your save details you could create a save. Stats are just stored variables, I'm sure Pokemon are stored by an ID or something. All you need to do is figure out how. – Batophobia Jul 11 '13 at 21:05
  • @DavidStarkey Yeah, he could use a gameshark to create copies of the pokemon that were lost. However I don't think thats really the point since they wouldn't be the same. It would probably feel fake – Lawton Jul 11 '13 at 21:27
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, when your nephew created a new save file a significant portion of the data will have been overwritten, so complete recovery is impossible and even partial recovery is completely unfeasible. The cartridge only has a limited amount of memory to write on. In order to make room for your nephews save, it had to make new space by writing over place where your data was. Since the kind of sophisticated programs used for hard drive recovery are not available for gba cartridges, you are out of luck.

The difference between recovering data from a computer and a cartridge is a combination of the lack of programs and access to the cartridge, and the fact that the creation of a new file overwrites a significant amount of data. Its not like a computer where the data is still there but not easy for the computer to find

  • 2
    there's also the fact that harddrives have so much more spare space to keep old blocks around – ratchet freak Jul 11 '13 at 21:21
  • An interesting titbit: with hard drives, it is possible (although very hard) to recover overwritten data, which is why most data destruction software uses up to dozens of passes on HDDs; (un)fortunately I believe this is impossible with the sort of memory Game Boy cartridges use. – kotekzot Jul 11 '13 at 22:04
  • @kotekzot I am aware it is possible to do so with specialized hardware which is cool. That's government/research level tech though, not something that is relevant for restoring Pokemans. – Lawton Jul 11 '13 at 23:50

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