Do Game Boy Advance cartridge batteries run dry after some amount of time, like GBC/GB games do? I got ton of games, the only save files I would miss are the ones from RPG games, and maybe some platformers. Would this happen after some time?


Only certain Game Boy Advanced cartridges use a battery backup. A GBA cartridge can contain either EEPROM, SRAM, or Flash RAM. Only the SRAM variant would need a battery backup. So for most games it is not a problem.

The only games I know of that use battery power to hold save data are as follows:

  • Baseball Advance
  • Boktai 1, 2 and 3 (JP)
  • Bomberman Tournament
  • Breath of Fire
  • Breath of Fire II
  • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
  • Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance
  • Dragonball Z Collectible Card Game
  • Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak
  • Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land
  • Krazy Racers
  • Lego Bionicle
  • Lego Island 2: The Brickster's Revenge
  • MegaMan Battle Network
  • MegaMan Zero
  • Metroid Fusion (Only some use a battery)
  • Metroid Zero Mission
  • Monster Rancher Advance
  • Monster Rancher Advance 2
  • Pokemon Emerald (Not for saving, but to power the Real Time Clock)
  • Pokemon Ruby (Not for saving, but to power the Real Time Clock)
  • Pokemon Sapphire (Not for saving, but to power the Real Time Clock)
  • Super Dodgeball Advance
  • Warioland 4

Source GBAtemp.

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  • What about games like Pokémon Fire Red, or Mystery Dungeon Red? – Beavoru May 28 '15 at 16:22
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    @Beavoru I edited my answer with more information. Neither of those games will lose data over time due to a battery running dry. – user113908 May 28 '15 at 17:55
  • I think that list is incomplete - Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap used battery backup, at least on my copy. – fluffy May 28 '15 at 17:56
  • Add Harry Potter Prisoner of Askaban to that list, I had a copy that wouldn't save. Also potentially Yoshi's Island, but the copy I got was a dodgy copy from Bulgaria so that might not be true for a legit copy. – Pharap May 28 '15 at 19:40
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    @user113908 - I just read that early releases and bootlegs can have batteries to backup the save files. Might be good to add to the answer. – 5pike Jun 2 '15 at 10:56

Yes, this will definitely happen. No battery lasts forever. Eventually, you will need to replace them in order to be able to store game saves.

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    That depends on the usage of the battery. From what I've read, the battery (CR2032) can last for up to 5 years when used, but I wouldn't count on that. – 5pike May 28 '15 at 13:09
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    Also worth mentioning: I read somewhere that you can use powersave devices to make a backup copy of your save, then restore that backup to the cartridge once you've changed the battery. So if you're looking to save your progress, it might be worth looking into – Robotnik May 28 '15 at 14:06
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    @Robotnik: you can also temporarily solder on a secondary battery/power supply ... – PlasmaHH May 28 '15 at 14:51
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    Wait, what? Since when do GBA games use a battery to save? I know that with Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, you can remove the battery entirely and have the save functionality work just fine. People do this to get consistent RNG seeds for RNG abuse. – user2357112 supports Monica May 28 '15 at 16:21
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    @user2357112 Depends on the cartridge. Some of them used flash, some of them used battery-backed RAM, and some (like Pokemon as you mentioned) used both - flash for long-term storage and battery for constantly-changing stuff. Minish Cap used battery-backed storage, for example (source: the battery in my copy died). – fluffy May 28 '15 at 17:55

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