I may be a recent prodigal son of Pokemon, but during my five-year hiatus I did play Yellow or Silver every once in a blue moon (and then only to remember, in the first five minutes, how bad I had become at battling and quickly turn it back off again), and I also bought Emerald and LeafGreen (though I only played them just enough to get through the main story, and didn't bother too much with collecting and leveling-up, so I didn't consider myself "back in the habit" then).
Well, one day about a couple years ago, I popped Silver into my GBA SP, only to read "NEW GAME" in the start-box. What? No "CONTINUE"?! What happened!? I tried a new game and saving that, but when I turned it back on, it still only said "NEW GAME".
Sure enough, my save battery on Silver had died.
I was appalled. I had heard horror stories before of peoples' save batteries on other handheld games dying, but I had assumed that was because they didn't take proper care of their cartridges. Also, I sort of took it for granted that the save battery on Pokemon games would be a whole lot... I dunno... sturdier?
The worst thing about it is that I had a semi-COMPLETE PokeDex on that game. That's right, I had gone to extreme pains to catch/trade every Pokemon except for Mew and Celebi, which I could never obtain anyway since no Nintendo events ever passed anywhere near my hometown. But I had everything else, even having invested hour upon grueling hour into locating and catching Entei, Raikou and Suikune.
I know it shouldn't be that terrible of a thing to happen, since the older games are practically worthless nowadays due to anything past Generation II not being backwards-compatible, but still! I would think the whole tragedy might have something to do with the cartridge's lack of use, but the weird thing is, my copy of Pokemon Yellow is about a year older and fell into the same disuse over the years, and it's still fit as a fiddle.
My question is, will the battery eventually die on my Pokemon Emerald and LeafGreen games? Is there any point to my gathering up a nice big PokeDex all over again? What about Generation IV, once I join that bandwagon? Do DS cards employ a more reliable device for saving?
On a random note, I pine for a DS remake of Gold and Silver.