Last Updated on February 10, 2022
Old game cartridges have a problem. Your save games are maintained by a battery, and once it runs out that progress will be lost.
That’s where a cartridge reader like this from the Save the Hero project comes in.
This cartridge reader is an open source project based on the work of Sanni, whose GitHub page features everything you need to build your own. But this Kickstarter – fulfilled several months ago – presented backers with a fabricated version of the project. So far it seems to have gone down well, certainly enough for the team behind the Kickstarter to take the Save the Hero cartridge reader global this spring.
Capable of reading and backing up to microSD card cartridge ROMs and save fies from Nintendo Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo 64, and Sega Genesis, there is also the possibility of future support for other cartridges (e.g. Sega Master System). A few menu entries indicate this might be a possibility, but time will tell.
Whereas other cartridge dumping tools require a PC, this device is completely standalone. While it requires a USB power supply, that doesn’t have to be a PC – it could be the mains, or a rechargable USB battery pack.
While the cart reader curiously doesn’t have NES compatibility (but SNES is included) and the buttons and switches are pretty small, it looks to be worth the money. the original kickstarter listed the cartridge reader for around £70 ($110) but there is no confirmation how much the global device will cost.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the cartridge, thanks to Macho Nacho Productions.
You can learn more from the (now complete) Kickstarter page.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.