Best Game Boy Advance (GBA) Emulators for Android

The Game Boy Advance is one of the most popular game consoles ever. Here are some of the best Android GBA emulators for your GBA games.

by

GBA.emu

The Game Boy Advance, an iconic handheld gaming console revered for its enduring popularity, occupies a significant place in the annals of portable gaming history. In the contemporary landscape, Android smartphones wield an imposing presence, exerting a near-inevitable allure upon owners seeking to rekindle their passion for cherished GBA classics from yesteryears.

The evolution and maturation of the Android platform have ushered forth a cadre of Android GBA emulators, discerningly curated to cater to the discerning tastes of gaming enthusiasts. In this compendium, we shall elucidate the cream of the crop, presenting a compendium of the most commendable Android GBA emulators, each meticulously assessed for its merits and worthiness for your gaming pursuits.

VGBAnext GBA/GBC/NES Emulator

VGBAnext GBA/GBC/NES Emulator

VGBAnext stands out as a top-tier GBA emulator for Android, offering a wide range of gaming experiences. This emulator doesn’t stop at GBA; it covers Game Boy Color, Game Boy, NES, Famicon, DiskSystem, and VS System, providing access to a diverse selection of classic titles.

But what truly sets VGBAnext apart is the multitude of additional hardware it emulates for GBA enthusiasts. From tilt sensors to rumble packs and even light guns, this emulator brings a host of unique gaming peripherals to your Android device. Moreover, VGBAnext caters to your personal tastes with a plethora of skin customization options.

The emulator’s compatibility is impressive, supporting both modern and older gamepads, such as the Nyko PlayPad and the trusty PS3 Sixaxis controller. Sharing save states among users is a breeze, and the wireless multiplayer functionality over Wi-Fi adds a competitive edge to your gaming experience.

One standout feature is the “Rewind” option, allowing you to turn back the clock by 16 seconds, giving you another shot at those challenging gameplay moments. And here’s a quirky twist: VGBAnext lets you record the soundtrack or sound effects of your favorite game and turn them into personalized ringtones, adding a touch of nostalgia to your daily life.

In a nutshell, VGBAnext delivers an exceptional gaming experience, combining a wide array of supported platforms, versatile hardware emulation, and unique features that make it a must-have for retro gaming enthusiasts on Android.

Pizza Boy GBA Pro

Pizza Boy GBA Pro

Meet Pizza Boy, the hotshot among Gameboy Advance emulators for Android! It’s the talk of the town, and for a good reason. Pizza Boy is all about top-notch performance and loads of cool features that’ll make your gaming experience sizzle.

You won’t believe how accurate this emulator is. It aces every emulation accuracy test, leaving the competition in the dust. Enthusiasts have pitted it against other emulators, and guess what? Pizza Boy comes out on top every time.

But that’s not all—Pizza Boy has got some tricks up his sleeve. It lets you save your game progress and configuration data straight to Google Drive. Fancy displaying box art for your ROMs? Pizza Boy’s got you covered. And when it’s game night with your buddies, you can enjoy local and network multiplayer action. Plus, it’s got that special touch, emulating cartridge features like the gyroscope and rumble, bringing your old games back to life.

Now, here’s the real slice of the pie: customizable skins. Pizza Boy knows how to dress up, and it stands out in the emulator crowd with its snazzy skins.

And guess what? Pizza Boy is still in the development oven. It’s sizzling hot and actively getting better. There’s a free version, sure, but if you want the full experience with all the bells and whistles, the paid version is where the real magic happens. Don’t worry, both versions support zipped ROM files.

The same developer has whipped up a Pizza Boy emulator for Game Boy Color that’s equally mind-blowing. So go ahead, grab a slice of gaming heaven with Pizza Boy!

RetroArch

RetroArch

RetroArch, the go-to player in the emulation realm, stands out not as your typical emulator but as an all-in-one powerhouse. It’s like having a master organizer for your games and emulators, all neatly packed into a single, user-friendly application. No more fussing about separate apps; RetroArch simplifies the whole gaming experience.

What’s remarkable is its compatibility. RetroArch is your gaming buddy on a wide array of platforms, and it’s got your back for an extensive list of systems, including the beloved Gameboy Advance.

Now, let’s talk convenience. It’s true that RetroArch offers a seamless way to dive into the nostalgia of various consoles. But hold on tight; there’s a twist. You’ll need to roll up your sleeves for a bit of configuration. Picture this: you’ve got to grab those individual “cores” for each system you want to dive into. And guess what? There’s a buffet of cores for each system, so you can cherry-pick your flavor.

Take the Gameboy Advance, for instance. You’ve got top-notch options like VBA-M and mGBA to choose from.

John GBAC

John GBAC

John GBAC, the heir to not one but two distinct apps, namely John GBA and John GBC, remains up for grabs on the Google Play Store. It’s worth noting that these predecessors, though still accessible for download, have essentially ceased to evolve.

Much like its predecessors, John GBAC thrives on its straightforwardness. It doesn’t dazzle with an abundance of advanced features, yet it nails the essentials. From gamepad support to seamless compatibility with zipped ROM files and even the convenience of saving your progress to Dropbox (although it’s worth mentioning that a separate app by the name of John Datasync is required for this feature), John GBAC delivers the basics with panache. If you happen to be on the lookout for a no-nonsense Gameboy Advance emulator, John GBAC stands tall as a prime choice.

Notably, the icing on the cake is that John GBAC offers its services completely free of charge. However, if you’d like to bid farewell to those pesky ads that occasionally pop up, you’ll need to loosen your purse strings a bit.

Nostalgia.GBA

Nostalgia.GBA

Nostalgia offers various emulators, including one for the Game Boy Advance, which presents a reliable choice. While the user interface may not be visually impressive, it functions effectively. Consistency prevails across all of Nostalgia’s emulator variants, ensuring a familiar experience. If you can overlook the somewhat plain aesthetics, you’ll discover a dependable GBA emulator. Nostalgia.GBA is built upon mGBA, a highly accurate and widely used open-source Gameboy Advance emulator.

Moreover, Nostalgia.GBA grants users the ability to share saved game states across multiple devices. Within the application, you can transmit these states using Bluetooth, email, Skype, and other methods. Nostalgia.GBA also offers support for Bluetooth game controllers and accommodates ROM files in both .GBA and .ZIP formats. Additionally, users can employ cheats and activate a “rewind” feature to retry game segments until they improve their performance. The free “Lite” version of Nostalgia.GBA mirrors the “Pro” paid version, with the only difference being the presence of advertisements.

My Boy!

My Boy!

My Boy! stands out as a prominent emulator for Gameboy Advance included in this list. Its reputation is rooted in its commendable performance, precision, and feature set. Notably, My Boy! prioritizes operational efficiency, which contributes to extended battery life during usage. Moreover, it offers BIOS emulation, ensuring a remarkably precise emulation of games. The emulator also supports the emulation of various cartridge functionalities, including gyroscope, rumble, and solar sensor features.

Furthermore, My Boy! provides additional practical functionalities such as local and network multiplayer support, fast-forward and slow-motion capabilities, and the convenience of synchronizing save files via Google Drive. It’s worth mentioning that a free version of the app is available; however, it includes advertisements and lacks some of the features found in the paid version. It’s important to note that My Boy! has not received significant updates for several years. Therefore, if you are seeking performance enhancements or additional functionalities, you may want to explore alternative options.

GBA.emu

GBA.emu

GBA.emu, developed by Robert Broglia, the creator of a widely known SNES emulator, is a robust and feature-rich choice. It is built upon VBA-M and prioritizes minimal audio and visual delay. This is achieved through precise BIOS emulation, ensuring games run with exceptional precision.

In pursuit of optimal performance, GBA.emu employs a straightforward user interface. Due to its performance-oriented approach, it doesn’t include any extravagant extra functionalities. GBA.emu provides support for controllers, cheat codes, and customizable on-screen controls, keeping it straightforward. However, it’s worth noting that GBA.emu comes with a relatively high price tag, especially considering it lacks some of the more advanced features found in other emulators.

Lemuroid

Lemuroid

If you intend to emulate games beyond Gameboy Advance on your Android device, consider Lemuroid. It’s an all-encompassing emulation solution capable of running games on a wide range of consoles, spanning from the Atari 2600 to more contemporary ones like the Nintendo 3DS, including the Gameboy Advance. Lemuroid also provides support for controllers, allows customization of touch controls regarding their size and on-screen position, and facilitates the synchronization of saved files with cloud storage. Additionally, it offers local multiplayer functionality through multiple controllers on a single device and is compatible with zipped ROMs. Remarkably, Lemuroid is entirely free and devoid of any advertisements.

In contrast to Retroarch, Lemuroid is built upon the open-source Libretro framework, with a notable distinction lying in user-friendliness. Lemuroid is exceptionally straightforward: simply install the application, scan for your ROMs, and commence gaming. Conversely, Retroarch demands more configuration adjustments to ensure everything operates smoothly. If your preference is to bypass intricate setup processes and promptly dive into gaming, Lemuroid is the ideal choice.

John GBA

John GBA

John GBA, a straightforward Gameboy Advance emulator, offers reliable performance and several supplementary features, making it an attractive choice for those seeking simplicity. This emulator includes integrated cheat functionalities and a range of rendering enhancement options. Notably, it provides Dropbox integration, facilitating the synchronization of game saves and configuration data to the cloud. This data can then be accessed on another Android device for uninterrupted gameplay.

While the default layout of the on-screen virtual gamepad may not be optimal, users have the flexibility to customize button size and placement. Additionally, the John GBA supports Bluetooth controllers. Despite the availability of its successor, John GBAC, which offers enhanced features, John GBA remains relevant due to its compatibility with Android devices dating back to version 4.1. In contrast, John GBAC requires a minimum Android version of 6.0 for operation.

VinaBoy Advance

VinaBoy Advance

VinaBoy Advance, available on the Google Play Store, stands as a straightforward Gameboy Advance emulator. It delivers on its basic promise without incorporating advanced functionalities like rewind options, cross-device save state transfers, or customization features. Nonetheless, it offers a user-friendly and uncomplicated GBA emulator experience, compatible with .GBA, .7z, and .ZIP GBA ROM files.

VinaBoy Advance possesses a significant advantage compared to its competitors: it is entirely free of charge. The absence of intrusive advertisements and the absence of features hidden behind payment barriers are noteworthy. Admittedly, it lacks even some of the fundamental features found in other emulators, but the appeal of being cost-free speaks for itself. It’s worth noting that VinaBoy Advance has not received a significant update since 2018. However, it maintains compatibility with Android 4.0 and beyond, making it a potential choice for those with older, lower-powered devices.


Tags: