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I am really struggling to load my saved game (that I put hours into) on my VisualBoy Advance. I keep getting an error message when I try and open it, and if I go into VBA and Ctrl + O then the saved file does not show up in its folder. It looks like it is saved as an .sg1 file - does this make a difference? Is there a way I can change this to a compatible file?

Please tell me you have good news...

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I don't understand why you're doing Ctrl + O to load the savefile, that option is used to open the game itself (which is usually a .gba file).

VBA's save files should already be in .sav format, unless you are using save state which is a different story.
That .sg1 file should be VBA savestate file, so you can't properly load the game from that. The only way to load that file is starting the game, then load savestate (which is done by pressing F1)

Here's a video tutorial for reference.

Note:
When using VBA it's not only recommended to save the state, it's better to export battery file, too:

File -> Export -> Battery file

This is a really important step that you need to take.

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