Game Boy Advance Flash Cartridge

coolie

New member
This question may or may not be Kosher on this forum, so please lock/delete if it is.

So yesterday I made a major score: A backlit Game Boy Advance SP. Always wanted one, but could never find one in decent enough condition to take home. Nintendo released this final revision of the GBA SP right after the DS Phat came out, so it was pretty much forgotten. I don't know if you've seen side-by-side comparisons, but whoa! The backlit GBA SP crushes the original in picture quality.

Anyhow.

I've always heard about those flash cartridges for the Game Boy Advance, but never considered getting one until now. It's sort of a two-part problem. One, flash carts are much more convenient than carrying around 10 or more cartridges, and two, Game Boy Advance games are getting really hard to find in stores.

So, which is the best flash cartridge for GBA? Do these devices really work?
 

The 9th Sage

New member
Well, sure...they work quite well. :) The one I used to use was an X-ROM...that sort of cart is what I would call the 'old school' style of flashcarts. They are basically high capacity carts that are in just like GBA carts, except they are rewritable (and also have more space for saves and what not).

These days you might be better off getting something like a Supercard or an M3 Perfect. Those are of the new school variety. They work a bit different. With that sort, instead of rewriting the cart each time you want to play, you load whatever files you want onto an SD card (probably a mini or transflash card...some of these carts support SDHC some do not) and then you select it in the cart's software, after which it will load it into the cart's built in RAM (rather like the rewritable stuff in a regular flash cart but only temporary) after which it'll start the game.

In a lot of ways that sort of cart is way more convenient since you can store as many games as can fit on your SD card, though each time you play it'll take a moment to load up the game.

Now, I have an M3 and though it was a bit expensive it works great with everything I've tossed at it. Supercard is cheaper, but I haven't used one. I do have a slot-1 DS flashcart by them however, and it seems to be a quality product. If their slot-2 GBA Supercard cart is of similar quality it should do well for you.
 

The 9th Sage

New member
Actually, I'm not sure anymore. I looked around but it seems it's sold out everywhere I looked (or it isn't listed). Maybe they stopped making them. I saw some Supercards though.
 

Maximum Potion

Staff (news - ROM hacking/translations)
It might still be possible to find a supercard SD since with the superkey DS it becomes compatible with the DS. There's a bunch of links to different online stores at gameboy-advance.net, but most of them are sold out. The problem is that the newest supercard SD for slot 2 (gba) only fits in a DS lite. Also with the DSi, they may stop making them altohether...
 

coolie

New member
Thank you for all the good advice. At the end of the day, i just might just track down and buy the games I'm after, and just do it that way. The flash cart thing is too confusing.

On a side note, I'm glad I got the updated GBA SP. I didn't know this before, but the DS displays GBA games smaller than a real GBA. I guess they had to size it down to fit in the different aspect ratio.

It seems like the best option for Game Boy is to buy the last version of GBA SP (which plays all GBA games, Game Boy, and Game Boy Color), and get a DSi for your DS needs.
 

Maximum Potion

Staff (news - ROM hacking/translations)
Yeah for sure SP and DSi. Of course if you are interested in getting a DSi you could easily get an R4 i believe it's called, which is a Slot-1 (DS) flash card. Pretty popular and easy to find. This way you could emulate nes, snes, genesis, GB, GBA etc. play MP3s with moonshell and play DS games all on one machine.
 

The 9th Sage

New member
I don't think there is a version of R4 that works in the DSi. The DSi (understandably) blocks a lot of flashcarts. I only use my powers for good, but not everyone does, so I understand why they'd try to do that. Also keep in mind that it's a DS flashcart, not a DSi flashcart. If there are games that are cart based and are DSi only, it's unlikely they'd work.

Apparently you can NOT access the extra hardware from the DS side of things (the RAM, camera, what have you), so there's more going on there.
 

coolie

New member
It seems that a DSi-specific Flash Cart could get around all the GBA limitations that Nintendo has imposed. I mean, the only difference b/ween the DS and DSi is slightly faster hardware and more RAM, right? The ARM7 is still in the unit, and the ARM7 is what powers a GBA. I think someone will be clever enough to run GBA software straight from one of those cards, making the lack of Slot 2 a moot point.
 

Maximum Potion

Staff (news - ROM hacking/translations)
It probably just needs time I guess. But honestly i'm not seeing the appeal of the DSi, mostly because I use a supercard SD with super key for my DS emulation (emulation ON DS, not emulation OF DS), and since it's a GBA slot flash cart, I'd have to get something new. From what I understand the DSi is a DS without a GBA slot with a camera and some improved hardware, right? Besides I heared that the Supercard has some Extra RAM in it that some programs can access.
 

coolie

New member
I agree. Nintendo didn't make a compelling enough argument with the DSi. I shouldn't be sitting here thinking "Which one of these systems do I want? DS Lite or DSi?"

The decision should have been much easier to make.

It probably just needs time I guess. But honestly i'm not seeing the appeal of the DSi, mostly because I use a supercard SD with super key for my DS emulation (emulation ON DS, not emulation OF DS), and since it's a GBA slot flash cart, I'd have to get something new. From what I understand the DSi is a DS without a GBA slot with a camera and some improved hardware, right? Besides I heared that the Supercard has some Extra RAM in it that some programs can access.
 

The 9th Sage

New member
The ARM7 is still in the unit, and the ARM7 is what powers a GBA. I think someone will be clever enough to run GBA software straight from one of those cards, making the lack of Slot 2 a moot point.

You can't run GBA software from Slot-1 with a regular DS. As soon as you would boot into GBA mode, a...compatibility mode (if that's the right phrase) starts, and it acts like a regular GBA. It can access only GBA hardware. As far as the games are concerned the system is a GBA.

If it was possible people would have done it with a regular DS by now. People have tried like crazy to do something like this. The only way would be an emulator, and I find it unlikely that the DS or DSi is powerful enough for a full-on GBA emulator. I guess it's possible the DSi has some special mode for running GBA games downloaded from DSiware or something, but it seems like they could just port the games...apparently GBA games aren't so difficult to port to the DS as they are so similar (at least that is what I hear from people who have programmed both).
 
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eSPy

New member
Ive got a SuperCard SD that i have used with my DS Phat, but it should work with your GBA SP as well. It was pretty cheep and good in that it uses SD cards (of which i had many already). It also has the built in capability to play NES, GB, PCE and SMS games.
 
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