There are many ways to emulate the Game Boy Advance these days, whether it’s on modded games consoles,, or modern solutions such as the Raspberry Pi. Sometimes though, it can be a minefield to know which is the best emulator to use, so we have put together a concise list of the best GBA emulators for PC, Android and iOS to help get you playing GBA games.
Best GBA Emulator for PC – mGBA
mGBA has fast become a favourite with retro gamers looking to emulate the GBA on the PC. It first began development in 2012 and appeared publicly as an alpha release in 2014. mGBA has since received regular updates, it plays original Game Boy games and even now has Nintendo DS support!
mGBA has evolved into the definitive GBA emulator. Not only does it do a fantastic job of allowing you to play all your GBA games, it allows you to use GameShark codes, and has a comprehensive debug mode where you can access game assets and export them.
I am usually a fan of playing my Game Boy Advance games on a retro handheld console such as the Anbernic RG350, but mGBA is now my choice of the emulator when it comes to GBA emulation on the PC.
mGBA Features Include:
- Not Just GBA Emulation – You can also play Game Boy & Game Boy Color games.
- Game Boy Advance Peripheral Emulation – Many GBA peripherals and special cartridges are supported, e.g. Realtime clock, Game Boy Printer, Game Boy Camera.
- View Game Sprites, Palette, Tiles & Maps – Utilise the excellent built-in tools that allow you to access the game’s assets.
- Video Scaling & Filter Options – Integer Scaling & Bilinear Filtering
Best GBA Emulator for Android – My Boy!
My Boy! Is a hugely popular GBA emulator for Android devices with over 1 million installs. My Boy Is well known for it’s standards of emulation and configuration, but aside from all the usual standard features, you would expect of a quality GBA emulator, My Boy!
Features GBA link cable emulation. This is a feature loved in particular by Pokemon players, which makes My Boy! Particularly unique.
There is a free version of the app, but if you want the full experience, It is a paid app. But if you are a Game Boy Advance fan and are seeking an excellent GBA Emulator for Android, you must consider My Boy!
My Boy! Features Include:
- Excellent Game Compatibility – Play virtually any GBA game with no issues
- Link Cable Emulation – Play multiplayer games via Bluetooth or WiFi
- Gyro/Tilt/Solar & Rumble Emulation
- Cheat Code Functionality Built In
- Video Filters & Shaders
- On Screen Controls or Use Your Own Bluetooth Controller
- Easy To Use Interface
Other Android GBA Emulators To Consider
GBA.emu is an Android GBA Emulator by Robert Broglia, who has also developed a number of other Android Emulators for Retro Systems, all of which are well regarded. It is now a paid app, but one which over 1,500 reviews and an average of over 4.5 stars out of 5.
John GBA is a simple-to-use Game Boy Advance Emulator for Android. It has a decent amount of functions built in, including cheat options, and cloud file support for saving config and save data.
John GBA is a paid app, but there is a Lite version available too for free. A solid choice if My Boy! is not to your liking.
Best GBA Emulator iPhone & iOS – RetroArch / mGBA Core
Since iOS is typically more difficult to install emulators too and usually requires some kind of workaround, I would recommend using RetroArch for your GBA emulation on iPhone & iOS.
The mGBA core is available to iOS users via RetroArch, so once again, I make this the recommended core for Game Boy Advance emulation.
There are comprehensive tutorials available online to assist with the installation, so installing emulators on your iPhone / iOS device need not be a painful experience any longer.
Best RetroArch GBA Core – RetroArch / mGBA Core
As for the best universal GBA emulation solution, RetroArch once again saves the day!
The mGBA core also allows you to play Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance games.
Another popular request for GBA emulators is the option to speed up emulation, in particular with Pokemon players where there are a lot of sections of the game players who want to speed up to skip past – RetroArch has you covered here with its fast forward mode!
The mGBA core also once again is my go-to core in RetroArch for Game Boy Advance emulation.
Much like in the previous generation of handhelds, Nintendo was top of the pile once again with the Game Boy Advance.
A competitor did emerge though in the form of the Nokia N-Gage. A valiant effort by Nokia to enter the gaming market, but to go up against Nintendo was not to be underestimated, as they consequently found out!
Check out just what the Nokia N-Gage was like with our best Nokia N-Gage emulator guide. Or, for more handhelds and other retro systems, check out our comprehensive emulator guide for more inspiration on what to play next!
A lifelong avid gamer and computing enthusiast, Matt has decades of experience in the field, so producing retro orientated content for How To Retro comes is second nature to him. Now over 40 years old, Matt now even considers himself retro, but fortunately, nobody has developed a Matt emulator (not yet at least!).