carts:nintendo:gba

Game Boy Advance

(See this page for an overview of all known hardware.)

If you need help, please come chat with us on the VGPC Discord.


Important Notes

  • If you have an unused/sealed game, you should dump ROM and save data from the physical media before using it, and note in your submission if the physical media was new or sealed when you got it. This is to avoid inadvertent modification of the data and to help preserve the data in its unused/“factory” state. Its also a good idea to photograph the cart/packaging in its sealed state, in order to help with verifying it.
  • If the dump hashes don't match an already existing item in the relevant database, you should try and verify that the dump is correct before submitting it as a new dump or new version. You can do that by cleaning the contacts (or equivalent) and dumping again.

Game Boy Advance games are one of the easier systems to dump and there are numerous tools available, so you should be able to find a great method that works with the hardware you have on hand. The cheapest way to dump a GBA game is probably with a slot-1 DS flashcart, but dedicated dumping hardware tools support a larger variety of consoles vs just a GBA.

GBxCart RW

GBxCart RW is one of the cheaper dedicated hardware methods for dumping.

Supports: GB/GBC/GBA, Game Boy Camera, and Nintendo Power Carts and Bootleg flashing

Please see the the page for Lesserkuma's open-source software for the GBxCart RW, FlashGBX.

The Joey Jr

The Joey Jr is another inexpensive option for dedicated dumping hardware.

Supports: GB/GBC/GBA, Game Boy Camera, and Nintendo Power Carts and Bootleg flashing

For latest official instruction on how to use the Joey Jr, please see the official user guide.

Sanni Cart Reader

Sanni Cart Reader is a versatile dumping tool that supports several different consoles/cartridges, but is pricier than the Joey Jr or GBxCart RW.

The Sanni Cart Reader comes with Game Boy / Game Boy Color dumping capabilities by default. Follow the Sanni Cart Reader wiki for proper settings, and dumping instructions.

GBA Backup Tool

GBA Backup Tool is a commonly used and well-tested tool, though its closed-sourced and hasn't seen any updates since 2008.

Tools needed
  1. A Nintendo DS or Nintendo DS Lite with a slot-1 (DS) flashcart
Dumping
  1. Insert your DS flashcart into slot-1, turn on the ds and boot up the flashcart.
  2. Run the GBA Backup Tool .nds
  3. Ensure that your GBA cart is inserted, then press A on the pop-up.
  4. By default, GBA Backup Tool is in Save Backup mode. Press R twice to go to ROM backup mode.
  5. Press B to make a new backup, then hit A to confirm. Your rom will be dumped to your SD card.

GodMode9i

GodMode9 is open source, but is less well-tested at dumping GBA carts as GBA Backup Tool.

Tools needed
Dumping
  • Download the .nds file for GodMode9i, put it on your flashcart and put it in the slot-1 (DS slot) of your DS.
  • Insert the GBA cart into slot 2, turn on the DS, and boot up the flashcart
  • Run the GodMode9i .nds file.

Use the D-pad to select the GBA game and press A twice to dump it to the flashcart's SD card.

If you have multiple GBA games to dump, you can swap cartidges in slot 2 without rebooting the DS.

Duplo

Duplo can dump GBA Video Movie Carts (which use Matrix Memory chips) unlike other dumping tools, but it cannot dump normal carts (which include the GBA TV show carts).

Tools needed
Dumping
  • Download the .nds file for duplo, put it on your flashcart and put the flashcart in the slot-1 (DS slot) of your DS.
  • Insert the GBA cart, turn the DS on and boot up the flashcart
  • Run the .nds file - it will start dumping the ROM to a file on the root of the SD card automatically.

The Y-shaped screw on the back of GBA cartridges can be opened with a size Y1 tri-point (sometimes called tri-wing) screwdriver. Once the screw is removed, gently slide the label side of the cart down to expose the PCB.

Once the cart has been opened, you can decode the letters/numbers stamped on the main chip.

S = System (Almost always “AGB”)
T = Type (N = Normal)
G = Game code (e.g. MA = Super Mario Advance)
R = Region (J = Japan, E = USA, P = Europe)
V = Version (starts at 0)

There is also a shortened version of the code on the left hand side, in the format TGGR-V.

todo: add info on cart/box serials (and non-standard carts if relevant)

See this page.

  • carts/nintendo/gba.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/11/18 00:55
  • by hiccup