With more than 80 million units sold worldwide, the Game Boy Advance is one of the consoles most loved by fans . It was discontinued in 2010, so its style of play can only be accessed via an emulator and the relevant GBA ROMs.
If you have an Android and want to relive your games on this Nintendo console, our list of the best GBA emulators for Android will help you do so.
Read on: start the adventure again!
The best GBA emulators for Android
Like other classic Nintendo consoles, the Game Boy Advance has dozens of emulators . Of course, not all GBA emulators offer the same performance. Only a few of them allow you to run an extensive game catalog. The following list compiles the best:
If you like video games from previous decades, Retroarch will not be unfamiliar to you. It is not an emulator itself, but an application that hosts several of them and that you have to download once you have installed it. Its core catalog is very diverse, although it pays special emphasis to classic consoles.
The software is compatible with almost any controller and it is even possible to map it to reassign the order of the buttons. Or you can use the virtual keyboard if you prefer. Playing online with friends and strangers, saving your games and making display adjustments are other functions available in Retroarch.
Here you can find VisualBoyAdvance, VBA Next, mGBA and other kernels that work as Game Boy Advance emulators. It is the most complete alternative.
ScummVM is another GBA emulator for Android with which to run hundreds of games from the last century. Many of these, original for the game console itself or compatible with it.
Its interface is a bit outdated and the controller’s configuration options are limited. However, it is a free, stable and complete alternative to transform your Android terminal into a portable Nintendo console.
ScummVM for Android has its own official page. In it you can share your experience in forums, access tutorials or check the compatibility of its latest updates. You can also download games to supplement your personal title catalog.
This app was developed specifically to emulate this classic game console on a smartphone or tablet. GBA Emulator supports hundreds of games via ROM format . Allows you to save the progress of the game and resume it later, in addition to the fast-forward function .
It gives the option to add tricks and you can orient the display of the screen vertically or horizontally.
It is especially recommended for older devices , since it runs with stability from Android 4.0.3. It is frequently updated and its free distribution is supplemented by advertisements.
My Boy! GBA Emulator
It is a paid alternative that offers you tools that you cannot find in the previous applications.
Linking two different games, syncing with Google Drive, creating different access profiles, pinning desktop shortcuts, battery saving, link cable emulation, and patch support are just some of its featured features.
Allows you to save in advance of the game at any time during the game. And the layout of the multitouch buttons displayed on the screen is configurable.
John GBA Lite
Compatible from Android 4.1, John GBA Lite is another option that maintains the classic Game Boy Advance style of execution.
Your display is rendered for higher quality . In addition, you can add tricks, it has a compressed file reader, customization of the virtual controller, fast forward and support for controls via bluetooth.
There is a full version (John GBAC) , but it only works as of Android 6.0. The latter includes extra functions, a greater customization layer and is updated more frequently. Both are free and include advertising. To remove the ads you can contact the developer and get a paid version.
Other Game Boy Advance emulators for Android
The above GBA emulators are the best you will find if you are looking for a stable, secure app that allows you to run hundreds of games. However, they are not the only ones on the market. Other alternatives that we recommend are the following:
- Vinaboy Advance
These apps allow you to play fluently on your terminal. But they have some limitations of the graphical interface, of compatibility with external controls or with the reading of some games (especially with the less popular ones of the console).
For a more pleasant experience, your best option is the emulators presented at the beginning. Some of them, like Retroarch, even allow you to run other consoles in the series, like the Game Boy Color and the original Game Boy.
GBA emulators for mobile: all your doubts answered
If this is the first time you download an emulator on your Android, you probably have several doubts about it. Below we try to answer the most common ones:
What is the best Gameboy Advance emulator for Android?
Although not GBA specific, Retroarch is the best option. It is a stable app and compatible with a greater number of games. And it allows you to choose between several emulators for this portable Nintendo game console.
But this is not the only feature that makes Retroarch superior to other competing programs. Others to highlight are:
- Rewind games to a previous point.
- Load already saved games .
- Configure the control pushbutton distribution for each kernel / emulator.
- Download thumbnails of each game and attach them to the ROMs to locate them quickly.
- Use external gamepads .
- Support for multiplayer games via LAN.
- Add cheats from the main menu.
- It is compatible with your own trophies .
- It is open source .
- Dozens of audio and video configuration options .
Remember that Retroarch can also emulate other classic consoles . The NES, SNES, N64, NDS and N3DS are available if you want to explore other equipment from this Japanese video game manufacturer. Almost 50 consoles await you in its core catalog.
Is there any ad-free GBA emulator for Android?
Most of the software of this type include advertising . This is a way to finance the work of its developers and to keep releasing updates and improvements.
They also offer the possibility of accessing a Premium version, without ads and with extra functions. Some emulators like John GBA Lite show ads only occasionally.
How can I make my GBA emulator run faster?
The performance of the emulator is related to the power of the hardware on which it runs. If your device is very old or has a small RAM, it is normal that it presents some instability when using it.
The best thing to do is to free up as much space as possible and thus not congest the RAM. Temporarily remove or disable apps that you don’t use. And create a backup in the cloud of photos, videos and files on your mobile or store them on your external card.
You can also stop the processes running in the background before opening the app and not have two titles active at the same time. If your smartphone or tablet is of a high mid-range, you should not have major problems.
Is it safe to download a GBA emulator for Android?
Downloading this type of software is completely safe . It has a long history in the market and accumulates millions of downloads in the main app stores.
Keep in mind that none of the options outlined includes its own video game catalog. You must be the one to do it through a copy in virtual format (known as ROM).
Using these files is considered illegal if you do not have a corresponding physical copy, however, several developers have released classic titles from the last century.
Apart from this, downloading, using and distributing ROMs is considered illegal. This is where you can compromise the security of your equipment. Many of the files that you will find on the web are pirated copies or are infected with some malware.
You must be careful where you get video games. Outside of this, you can run the emulators with complete freedom and security.