Recently, it has been getting harder and harder to find legitimate affordable copies of Generation 3 Pokémon games online. For one reason or another, regardless if it is due to sheer ignorance or nonchalance, people have been acquiring bootleg Pokémon carts. Together with other sites, such as emulator support sites, we have noticed an influx of requests relating to reading and editing saves of such games.
Frankly, I would much recommend that if you own such a cart, to nab the save and use it on a legitimate retail cart instead, as those are way way more reliable. But in any case:
This tutorial isn't to judge why people get bootleg carts.
This tutorial would not work for every bootleg cart; this tutorial is aimed at the carts that store the save files as part of the ROM.
As a disclaimer, I would like to:
1. Remind everyone that ROM files are not to be uploaded to our site
2. Warn people to not do this many times, as I am not sure how many flash read/write cycles these carts can take
(basically, do too many times, and risk breaking your cart)
3. This method will not work for every GBA repro in existence. You run the risk of bricking your GBA repro cart.
4. A minor issue, but due to how these carts handle saves, Hall of Fame data would not be intact.
Necessary programs and files
1. Loads of patience, and also the ability to read and follow steps
2. A NDS or NDS Lite. (Neither DSi nor DSi XL nor any 3DS/2DS model.)
3. NDS flashcart of some kind
4. gbabf_1.2.7z (Source: https://gbatemp.net/download/gbabf.37005/)(https://gitlab.com/Fexean/gbabf)
5. Bootleg Pokémon GBA Extractor and Injector
Must-do for first timers
YOU MUST MAKE A BACKUP OF YOUR ENTIRE BOOTLEG GBA ROM, IN CASE ANYTHING GOES WRONG!
Make sure you keep this file as a safe unedited backup somewhere on your computer. If anything goes wrong, this is the file you'll restore to your cart.
I cannot stress this enough. I am not sure how many flash read/write cycles these carts can take, so constantly reflashing your cart is likely to shorten its lifespan. If you can, grab the save and transfer it to a retail legitimate cart and carry on playing from there.
Also, I am aware there is a Flash data option, which you can specify size of save and location to flash to. But that doesn't seem to work for Pokémon games, as their saves are too far into the ROM, in terms of offset.
In any case, congratulations on your quest to edit your save on your bootleg cart!