Longing for a trip down memory lane with your Game Boy Advance? Here’s your definitive list of the best free GBA emulators available for Android.
Did you ever get the chance to game on a GameBoy Advance? This iconic console holds a special place in the hearts of millions worldwide, thanks to the slew of unforgettable classics it hosted, including Pokémon Emerald, Metroid Fusion, Golden Sun, and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow.
Despite substantial advancements in graphics and gameplay over time, many still yearn to relive the memorable titles that graced the GameBoy Advance.
However, let’s face it, hunting for a vintage GameBoy Advance console just to replay a couple of titles isn’t exactly practical in today’s world. But don’t despair; there’s a superior alternative – play GameBoy Advance games on your Android device! And how might you ask? The answer lies in a GameBoy Advance emulator.
Best GameBoy Advance emulators for Android
With a plethora of GBA emulators available for Android, the sheer volume of choices can be daunting. To ease your decision-making, we’ve curated a list of the best GameBoy Advance emulators for Android.
Whether you’re after free ones, paid ones, or something with a retro design, we’ve got you covered. Each option delivers an excellent performance, so simply select one that suits your liking and hit download
We begin with one of the top Android emulators, My Boy! Available in both free and paid versions (€4.99), the free version provides everything you need for a fantastic gaming experience.
My Boy! is compatible with a majority of GBA games and offers features such as activating “cheat codes” and simulating uplink cable connections via WiFi or Bluetooth, among others. This emulator’s versatility and user-friendly interface make it a popular choice for gamers.
Without question, RetroArch stands out as one of the top choices for emulating GameBoy Advance, as well as GameBoy and GameBoy Color games on Android. Its unique selling point is its multi-system emulation capacity: it offers several ‘core’ options, with each core providing compatibility for a specific gaming console.
RetroArch is a feature-rich emulator, free of charge, void of ads, and developed under an open-source model. However, its extensive capabilities may lead to a steep learning curve, especially for users unfamiliar with emulator software.
Despite this, it’s highly recommended to give RetroArch a try. As one of the most comprehensive emulators on Google Play, its benefits largely outweigh the initial complexity.
Pizza Boy GBA
Moving away from the more established options, Pizza Boy GBA is a relatively fresh presence in the GBA emulator market. However, its novelty should not be mistaken for inferior quality. It’s particularly suitable for those new to Android emulators.
This emulator strikes a balance between simplicity and comprehensiveness. Its features include the capacity to speed up or slow down graphics, support for 60 FPS gaming, and hardware driver support, among other intriguing options. Perhaps its most appealing attribute is that it’s completely free and devoid of ads, leading to one of the highest user ratings on Google Play.
EmuBox takes its place as another multi-system emulator akin to RetroArch, albeit not as time-tested. This emulator supports games from GBA, GBC, SNES, PlayStation, and even Nintendo DS.
Although free to use, EmuBox does incorporate ads within its interface, yet these do not detract from the overall user experience.
ClassicBoy Gold stands out for its wide range of game compatibility, supporting titles from PlayStation, Sega Genesis, NES, GameBoy, GameBoy Color, and naturally, GameBoy Advance. It is a feature-packed emulator, offering multiple game save options, cheat code support, and hardware driver compatibility.
While both a free and a paid version are available, the free version suffices for most users. One potential drawback of ClassicBoy Gold is the lack of recent updates, which could potentially lead to compatibility issues on certain devices.
This is a Game Boy emulator specifically designed with GameBoy Color versions in mind. It provides both a free and paid version—the latter priced modestly at just €1.39.
The emulator carries all the standard features you’d anticipate from a Game Boy emulator, with an added perk—you can rewind gameplay by a few seconds, allowing you to repeat a segment of the game as needed. Its high-end capabilities have earned it one of the top ratings amongst emulators on the Play Store.
My OldBoy is an engaging alternative, developed by the same creator behind My Boy!—an emulator we’ve previously discussed. Available in a free trial version and a paid version priced around €4, it presents users with a versatile choice.
What sets My OldBoy apart is its focus on Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, allowing you to conveniently use it alongside other emulators on this list, if you prefer. Naturally, it incorporates all the essential configuration options you would expect in a Game Boy emulator for Android.
Although it is not centered on GameBoy Advance, we’ve included My OldBoy on our list for being one of the foremost emulators available on the Google Play Store.
John GBAC merges two highly proficient emulators—one dedicated to GameBoy Advance games and the other to GameBoy and GameBoy Color games. This comprehensive emulator offers both a free version and a paid version (€1.99).
Essentially compatible with any ROM, John GBAC boasts added features, including SD card support, compatibility with physical and virtual drivers, and a Dropbox connection. With its clean, user-friendly interface, this emulator provides a reliable and seamless gaming experience.
What is the best GBA emulator for mobile?
The optimal GameBoy Advance emulator is, without a doubt, the one that best aligns with your needs. As such, we recommend sampling various emulators until you find the perfect match.
My Boy! is a popular choice that boasts millions of downloads and a strong rating on the Play Store. Featuring a free version that suits most users’ needs, it’s no wonder that this emulator earned a top spot on our list.
Alternatively, you may consider paying for GBA.emu or the full version of My Boy! to unlock additional benefits. To offset the cost, we suggest downloading Google Opinion Rewards, which allows you to accumulate some credit in your account. With a little time and effort, you’ll soon have enough funds to purchase the ideal emulator for your gaming experience.
As we highlighted at the start of the post, My Boy! is an exceptionally comprehensive and stable emulator. What sets it apart from the competition is its user-friendly interface—a trait that users often prioritize over other features. In contrast, there’s RetroArch, a potent emulator with numerous benefits. However, its complexity makes it less suitable for everyone.
How to play Game Boy Advance on Android
To enjoy Game Boy Advance games on any of the aforementioned emulators, you will require the respective game ROM files.
After procuring the desired game files, simply load them into the emulator to start playing within seconds. For a more detailed guide, check out our complete tutorial on how to play Game Boy Advance games on Android. However, the condensed steps are as follows:
- Install your preferred emulator on your mobile device.
- Obtain the ROMs for the games you wish to play and store them in a dedicated folder. We suggest naming this folder “GBA” for easy access.
- Launch the emulator and navigate to the configuration or settings menu. In this menu, find the option that allows you to specify the path to the game files—you will need to indicate the “GBA” folder you created, or use the ‘scan’ option if the emulator provides it.
- Select your desired game to launch it, and within a few moments, it should run smoothly.
- Now, simply start playing and enjoy!
These steps ensure an organized, hassle-free way to play your favorite Game Boy Advance games on your Android device.
Most popular GBA games for Android
You probably have a few GameBoy Advance games in mind that you’re eager to play again on your Android emulator. But why restrict yourself to just a handful? With a plethora of titles to explore, the sky’s the limit. Here are some of the most popular GameBoy Advance games you can find online—many of which need little to no introduction:
- Pokémon Emerald
- Zelda: The Minish Cap
- Mario Kart Super Circuit
- Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
- Sonic Advance
- Mario vs Donkey Kong
- Final Fantasy VI Advance
- Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land
- Mega Man Zero
- Metroid Fusion
- golden sun
Pokémon Hack ROMs for Android
When discussing GameBoy Advance games on Android, it would be remiss not to mention Pokémon “Hack ROMs.” For those unfamiliar, a Hack ROM is a modified version of an original game.
These modified Pokémon ROMs are legal as long as no profit is being sought by their developers. Any Pokémon enthusiast can utilize the base game to create their unique storyline, which is very common among Pokémon games for the GBA. Intriguing new titles are released annually.
If you’re interested and a Pokémon fan, we recommend a few custom GBA ROM titles. These creative interpretations of the original game provide a novel experience that you’re likely to enjoy:
- Pokémon Gaia.
- Pokémon Blazed Glazed.
- Pokémon Sword & Shield
- Pokémon Purple Shine
- Pokémon Omega Red
These modified Pokémon games for GBA can all be found on Pokeuniverso. While some Hack ROMs solely adjust the game’s difficulty level to challenge your Pokémon trainer skills, others like Pokémon Gaia, offer a unique storyline worth exploring.
Eager to start playing GBA on Android? Now that you’re up-to-speed with the process, it’s time to pick up your phone and start gaming, following the steps we’ve provided.
Lastly, if Android emulation piques your interest, we recommend exploring our emulation category. There, you’ll uncover lists of top-notch emulators and comprehensive tutorials for emulating other Nintendo consoles and different brands. Your gaming adventures await!