Guide: How To Backup Save Games From Original Nintendo Game Boy Cartridges To The PC (As .SAV Files)

Guide-How-To-Backup-Original-Nintendo-Game-Boy-Cartridge-Save-Games-Sav-Files-To-The-PCShould you have a perfect Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening save game or even a Pokemon Gold cartridge containing all 251 pocket monsters, sooner or later your hard work will be lost due to the dwindling life of battery backed saves. Today we will show you how to beat the clock and make a backup of your Nintendo Game Boy game saves to the PC.

There any many advantages to using this guide beyond just making a backup. The save file you will be creating can also be used in emulation, allowing you to continue where you left off on the Game Boy, only in an emulator. And should you feel you've played enough via emulation, you can then use this guide in reverse to put the save game back onto the original cartridge.

A detailed tutorial can be found below, however those wanting a more hands on look at the process can watch from start to finish our copy of Pokemon Yellow being backed up in this video:

How To Backup Nintendo Game Boy Cartridge Save Games To The PC (.sav)

Parts / Hardware Required

1. Insert your Game Boy cartridge and Mega Memory into the Game Boy

Simple enough! Plug the Mega Memory cartridge into the Game Boy first followed by the game you want to backup facing label outwards into the Mega Memory. Turn on the power and you should see the Mega Memory main menu. If not, turn off the Game Boy and push the Mega Memory switch found on the top of the device the other way and try again.

2. Backup your Game Boy cartridge's save game

Choose the very first option on the screen labeled 'Backup' by pressing the A button on your Game Boy. In the next screen you will be asked to enter a name for this save game backup. Name the save something you will remember and press the A button again. The Mega Memory will tell you it is working. Once finished the Mega Memory will return to the main menu meaning your save game backup has been made.

Should you be unable to start a Backup on the Mega Memory cartridge and you're getting a beeping noise when you press the A button, it means your game cartridge isn't fully inserted to the device or the cartridge is unreadable. Take out the cartridge and clean it before reinserting it and trying again.

3. Restore the save game onto the GB USB Smart Card 64M's internal memory

The GB USB Smart Card 64M flash card has its own battery backed save functionality on board which we will be making the most of. Turn off the Game Boy, remove the game cartridge from the Mega Memory and plug in the GB USB Smart Card into the device instead. Turn the Game Boy back on.

This time we are going to use the second option on the Mega Memory's main menu labeled 'Restore'. Once chosen you will be able to select a save game from the Mega Memory's backups. In here chose the one you made in the last step and press the A button. The Mega Memory will now upload your game cartridge's save game onto the GB USB Smart Card's battery backed memory. Once the main menu returns, power off the Game Boy as you will no longer need it.

4. Backup the Nintendo Game Boy Save Game to the PC

Plug your GB USB Smart Card into a USB slot on your computer by using the cable provided. Once connected you will need to launch the GB USB Smart Card application that was provided when you bought the cartridge. Should you no longer have this file, it can be downloaded again from here (32-Bit Windows) and here (64-bit Windows plus Installation Guide).

Open GB_USB.exe and click on the button labeled up as 'Read SRAM'. You will here be asked where you want to save your game file to and what name you want to give it. When typing in the name, be sure to include .sav at the end too. Once you click Ok, the application will begin downloading your save game to your computer's hard drive.

5. Enjoy your backed up Nintendo Game Boy game's save game

That's it! Your Nintendo Game Boy cartridge's save game has been backed up. If you now want to use this in an emulator, make sure your game save file is the same name as the ROM file it belongs to and is in the same folder. You will be able to continue playing as if you were still on the original hardware.

(Optional) 6. Restore a Save Game from the PC onto an original Nintendo Game Boy cartridge

It is also possible to reverse the process and use this guide in reverse. Here is how to restore a save game you have on your PC back onto an original Game Boy Cartridge.

  1. Connect the GB USB Smart Card to the PC and open GB_USB.exe
  2. Once connected, click the button labeled up as 'Write SRAM'.
  3. When the box pops up, navigate the folder when your save same is and select it.
  4. Once the save has been uploaded, disconnect the cartridge and plug it into the Mega Memory cartridge.
  5. With the Mega Memory inserted into the Game Boy and the GB USB Smart Card attached, choose 'Backup' from the Mega Memory's main menu and make a Backup of the save game currently on the GB USB Smart Card.
  6. Power off once done and swap the GB USB Smart Card with the original game cartridge you wish to restore the save to.
  7. Power on and choose 'Restore' from the Mega Memory's main menu, then choose the save game you wish to restore to the original cartridge.
  8. Once done, you should have transferred a game save from the PC onto an original cartridge.

Taking it a step further

Last year we showed you how to replace the battery in Nintendo Game Boy cartridges, if used with this guide can be the ultimate combination to extending the life of your save games. Remember though, you will need to backup save games before replacing the battery, as once the battery is removed, so is the save game.

As usual, we insist you take care while performing this guide. Whilst it is fairly straightforward there is always the chance something could go wrong. We are more than happy to help assist you in the comments below, however, we take no responsibility for anything which goes wrong. Good luck!

Last Updated ( 24 June 2012 )  


Better known as Adam offline, Cauterize is one of RetroCollect's final bosses with an unhealthy addiction to pixels. When he's not out searching the web for the latest retro gaming news or creating content for RetroCollect, he'll will most likely be found working on his Sensible Soccer skills.

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