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A coworker lent me his copy of Fire Emblem for the Game Boy Advance to try before making a buying decision (getting one in good condition isn't exactly cheap). I really got quite into it and have been playing it for ten chapters now, and thought I might buy a copy myself.

I wouldn't want to start over from scratch, though. Is there a way for me to transfer my save from his cartridge to the one I buy? I looked into G-Bank, but the description wasn't entirely clear on this point. The device seems to be geared towards playing ROMs from memory cards, which I'm not at all interested in, but there is some talk about backing up save games in addition to ROMs. Would G-Bank or some other similar device work for this?

Note: I'm playing the game on a DS Phat and/or a Game Boy Player, but will buy a used GBA if necessary.

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I cannot speak for the G-Bank specifically, as I have never seen or used one - per the description, it is certainly able to make the backup, but I cannot tell if it is able to restore it as well. It is, however, possible to handle backups using third-party hardware, and you will be able to restore your save file onto a legitimate cartridge once you acquire one.

The method I am most familiar with uses a USB link cable from a GBA flash cartridge to connect a GBA/GBA SP/GameBoy Player to a PC. You don't need an actual flash cartridge for this, just the cable. You then run a program on the PC and put your GBA into Multiboot mode by holding Select+Start when turning it on; the PC sends a small program to the GBA and communicates with it to dump or restore your save files.

Unfortunately, this particular method can be quite tricky to get working these days; for starters, you need to locate the cable, and furthermore, the drivers can be quite fiddly on modern versions of Windows. This particular cable at least advertises itself as an FTDI-based device, and I was able to get it working by installing new drivers from them, though it was still somewhat shaky - it might require a few attempts.

Since you have a DS, another option is to buy a flash cartridge for the DS, and load a similar tool onto it - you can then backup your save to the DS flash cartridge. All current DS flash cartridges are MicroSD-based, so you can move the save file to your PC for other purposes, or just leave it on there until you're ready to load it onto a different cartridge.

  • Hmm, I think I do have a DS flash cartridge in the back of a closet somewhere. I'll see if I can find it and will try this. Thanks! – JK Laiho Jan 12 '15 at 8:15
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Fire emblem has no method of save transfer, and there is no 1st party support for moving save data from one cartridge to another for any GBA game (and since the GBA has no system memory, there's nothing to transfer between devices, either).

This means that the only way to "transfer" data between cartridges would be to copy the GBA cartridge you have (with the save file) into a blank cartridge. While this is certainly possible, it requires 3rd party merchandise and flirting the line of piracy (you would be, after all, making a copy of the game).

So unfortunately, there is no legal, 1st party way to do this.

  • While the G-Bank may be a solution to the abovementioned problems, I cannot condone it as I have never used it, nor have any experience with it. This answer is addressed to those looking for 1st party solutions only. – Raven Dreamer Jan 11 '15 at 20:02

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