Struggling with save files that aren't loading as expected? Before deep-diving into the troubleshooting process, it's essential to ensure your cartridge pins are clean. Our dedicated guide: How Should I Clean My Game Cartridge Pins provides a step-by-step process to help you.
1. Determine Cartridge Authenticity
Begin by confirming the authenticity of your cartridge. Insert it and note the description provided by the Playback app:
- If displayed as Official cartridge, advance to Step 3.
- If shown as Unofficial cartridge, consult our article: Why is My Rewritable Cart Not Saving Properly?
Additionally, for an in-depth look into spotting inauthentic GB/GBC/GBA games, please refer to How to Spot an Inauthentic GB/GBC/GBA Game.
2. Check the Data Tab
If you observe that the "Upload Save" and "Download Save" options under The Data Tab don't light up, it could indicate an issue. When dealing with a game that supports saving and isn't password-based, yet these buttons remain non-responsive, it's likely that the save data for the game is missing from our database. In this scenario, promptly reach out to our support team. Provide them with this information, coupled with a photo of the PCB (printed circuit board) from inside the cartridge. This assists our team in investigating and potentially incorporating save support for your specific game.
3. Examine the Cartridge Battery
Assess the condition of your cartridge battery. A malfunctioning or depleted battery might be the root cause of saving problems. For a step-by-step battery check procedure, explore our guide: How to Measure Your Game Battery.
4. Address Integrity Checks
Should you be prompted with an “integrity check failed” message, it's essential to address this promptly. Our troubleshooting guide on Integrity Check Failed will provide clarity and solutions.
5. Confirm if the Game Was Properly Saved
It's important to ensure that your game has been saved both within the game and within the Playback app. Should your save file undergo any modifications, the Playback app will prompt a save upload to the cartridge upon exit. If the autosave feature found in Emulator settings is activated, this saving process becomes automated.
6. Identify the Extent of the Saving Issue
It's crucial to pinpoint if the saving issue is confined to a single game or if several games from your collection encounter challenges with proper saving. We strongly advise you to download the saves from the cartridge to ensure you possess a backup prior to testing them with the Playback app. Moreover, you can utilize the downloaded save files and assess their functionality on an external emulator. We reccommend using mGBA, ensuring you have a reliable backup, minimizing the risk of accidental save data losses during the testing phase.
7. Use the Save Vault for Testing
Begin by navigating to the Save Vault. Once there, proceed to evaluate the auto-saved files with mGBA or by transferring them back onto your cartridge. It's essential to note that for the save file to be correctly loaded by mGBA, both the game file and the save file must bear the same name and reside within the same directory (the only difference being their file extensions). Discovering functional save files indicates that the issue might be intermittent, possibly due to fluctuations in the connectivity between your cartridge and the Operator device. To ensure optimal performance, refrain from adjusting the position of the cartridge or the device while engaged in gameplay, as well as during save and download activities.
8. Examine Save File Compatibility
Identify any discrepancies in save file functionality. If a save operates flawlessly on mGBA but falters on the Operator device, there's a high chance that the download is seamless but the upload might be problematic.
9. Check Save File Sizes Between mGBA and Cartridge
If the save file isn't working on mGBA, start a new game on the emulator. After you create a save file in mGBA, compare its size to the save file extracted from the cartridge. If there's a difference in their sizes, contact our support team. Let them know about the issue so they can review the game database for any inconsistencies.
If, after following these detailed instructions, multiple games still present save-related issues, it might be time to file a Warranty Request for a thorough evaluation. However, if the problem is restricted to a singular or a couple of games, the cartridge might be the primary concern.