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These have happened when I tried to play my Emerald:

  • The game freezes when it says "GAMEBOY" in the opening, the part that I can't skip by pressing A.
  • The DS doesn't recognize it immediately and says that there's no Game Pak inserted, even if it was inserted before I turned on the power.
  • My save file was temporarily deleted.
    This all stops happening after rebooting the DS a few times, even the save file reappears.
    EDIT: I got an answer about everything except the save file disappearing.
edited by
I'm not completely satisfied with the answer. I'm bumping it to the top of the "all activity" list.

1 Answer

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Best answer

1st option - Hope that it's this one

This all just says it's a read error. Most likely the pins on the gba cartridge are dirty or oxidized. A read error can do anything from freeze the game to making information unavailable (like save files). So it explains all of your symptoms.

The freezing on boot is the diagnostic giveaway here. Remember the old NES games? (I might be dating myself here) You would sometimes have to blow dust out of the cartridge to get it working. While blowing on it was actually a stupid thing to do (your adding spit that is worse then any amount of dust) the idea was correct. GBA is much more advanced but still has a lot of pins made out of not as reliable metal as the DS cartridges.

Here is a basic tutorial on how to clean it. Not the best but it will probably get the job done. Pay attention to the part of not over-saturating the q-tip. And make sure the cartridge is completely dry before trying it again. This means waiting an hour or more after applying water. If you have ethyl alcohol instead of water it will clear in a couple minutes: http://www.wikihow.com/Clean-a-Gameboy-Cartridge

If this doesn't work switch water out for deoxidizer. Deoxidizer is intense and can cause a lot of damage if not used correctly so pay close attention to the directions. http://www.amazon.com/Purple-Metal-Polish-deoxidizer-Combo/dp/B005WWMP86

Of course you may have to do this process to the DS-Lite as well.

2nd option - your game is sol

GBA games had a lot of wiring in them. They used actual circuit boards to store and access data. The DS games are simply funny shaped flash cards. With the more rudimentary boards it was easy for breaks in traces (wires etched onto a circuit board) or even failures inside of one of the chips. If this happened it is not possible to repair. Repairing a trace with solder doesn't work as the trace is coated on top and the solder will not actually make contact. And the boards are usually multiple layers that you can't even see. You'll just have to find an flea market or classic video game shop and buy a new copy.

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If I had to blow onto a DS card, is this a problem?
If your blowing onto a DS cartridge it's a sign that you (or whoever had the game before you) was doing something careless. The metal is high grade and very resilient. If it is not connecting it probably had something spilled on it. Usually something sugary like a soda, coolaid, or chocolate or something like that which can be cleaned up with just water. Or something greasy like french fries, hamburger, bacon, potato chips which require a mild dish soap to clean off. Or the game was left alone for a long time and collected lots of dust which is best cleaned with a little alcohol and maybe a mild dish soap if it was left close enough to the kitchen to pick up grease out of the air.

Putting a dusty cartridge into the system or pulling the game while it is still running will create oxidation that blocks a good connection. and while unlikely the ds may be the problem. The pins that connect to the cartridge could be bent so they do not make as close of a connection as they should. or dust in the actual ds slot could create the issue. All these situation create oxidation that can cause errors when playing a game.

If you're getting bad connections on a DS cartridge get your DS serviced and cleaned. Anything on your cartridge gets into your DS and will just reclutter the cartridge. Then clean all your games. Keep the ds and games in a case of some kind so it is free of dust and spills. Dust is death to electronics and spills are obviously not ideal either. I always keep a game in my ds so the slot doesn't collect debris and my games in a hard case.