Do Nintendo DS cartridge batteries (do those games have batteries?) run dry after some time like GBA/GBC/GB games? Is it true that they will last at least 100 years or something?

  • 4
    Nope. Nintendo invented Infinite Energy Battery Technology™, but then patented it to ensure that it could only ever be used for video game cartridges. May 28 '15 at 16:41

A DS cartridge is like a micro SD card, so they don't have any battery inside.

And regarding life expectancy of an SD card I'll quote SuperUser:

Flash memory indeed has limited write cycles. However, by now it is unlikely that you'll encounter this within the normal lifetime of such a card. Usually this is in the order of 100,000 write cycles today and SD cards include circuitry to manage wear-leveling, that is, spread out writes over the storage media evenly to avoid "hot spots"—pages that are written too frequently and therefore failing early.

As most games save less than once or twice per ten minutes, I'd say that the electronics in a cartridge will go bad before you cannot save anymore. You will not be able to exhaust its write cycles. So, it should work for at least 40 or 50 years.

  • Thanks! So like how much years can last a DS game without its save file being erased?
    – Beavoru
    May 28 '15 at 13:13
  • 1
    @Beavoru I've edited the answer.
    – pinckerman
    May 28 '15 at 13:18
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    It's more complicated because, while a DS game is very much like an SD card, it isn't the exact same thing. It contains different technology to manage wear that we aren't privy to. However in terms of a write cycle, that would be one save of your game. So playing for a few hours and then saving would incur 1 write cycle. Saving every 5 minutes would incur 12 write cycles in an hour.
    – user66184
    May 28 '15 at 13:27
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    @Beavoru. Keep in mind that your save files will not simply vanish when you reach the write cycling limit. You will still be able to load your previous game, but you won't be able to save any more.
    – Nolonar
    May 28 '15 at 16:22
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    I was a developer on one of the launch-window DS titles (Sprung). At least at the time, Nintendo used ordinary flash NVRAM and there was no wear-leveling in the cartridges (and only a tiny amount of flash); developers were required to only save when prompted or between levels, specifically to avoid running out of write cycles. Later cartridges may have changed this, however. And of course 3DS just stores your save files on your system's SD card - no flash on the cartridge itself.
    – fluffy
    May 28 '15 at 17:41

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