5 BEST GBA Emulators for PC (2024)

GBA emulators are software tools for video games that do not run on PCs. A GBA emulator imitates the functioning patterns of Game Boy Advance gaming consoles.

The GBA games work fine on computers and other mobile devices using these Gameboy advanced emulators. You can play GBA games with graphical enhancements using these emulators.

A bad GBA emulator will have compatibility issues with certain games, security threats, and input lags. Emulators downloaded from unreliable sources often have performance issues, graphical problems, and frequent crashes during gaming sessions.

Henceforth, it is necessary to use a good GBA emulator.

We have spent countless hours exploring these tools’ features for better insight. To curate this article, we focused on the capability, overall performance, usability, and affordability.

Our in-depth review focuses on each tool’s features, pricing, pros, and cons. You can go through it and find the best GBA emulator for PC that are available in the market. Let’s discuss:
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Best Game Boy Emulator for PC

Emulator Name Supported Platforms Free Trial Link
Visual Boy Advance Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and IOS devices. Freeware Learn More
mGBA Windows (7 or newer), macOS, Linux, BSD, Nintendo 3DS (New 3DS is required for GBA games), Nintendo Switch, Wii, PlayStation Vita Freeware Learn More
No$GBA Windows 10, Windows XP, MS-DOS Freeware Learn More
SkyEMU Windows, MacOS, Linux, FreeBSD, iOS, Android, Web Freeware Learn More
Ares Windows, Mac, POSIX (OS interfaces based on UNIX) Freeware Learn More

1) Visual Boy Advance

Stable Gameboy Advance Emulator for PC

Visual Boy Advance is one of the best GBA emulators for PCs. This open-source emulator supports Windows, iOS, Android, and other platforms. All the popular GBA games work on this emulator.

VBA remains a reliable option for Gameboy emulators available presently. Playing GBA games becomes more exciting with an extra set of features, frequent updates, and easy-to-use debugging tools.

 Visual Boy Advance

Features:

  • Cheat Code Support: VBA supports cheat codes from popular names like Codebreaker and GameShark.
  • Graphic Filters: Users can enhance the game graphics using colour correction and motion blur effects.
  • Game Compatibility: VisualBoy Advance is compatible with all the games from Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and Game Boy Color.
  • Screen Capture & Recording: Gamers can now record video and audio. Retro streamers will enjoy the screen-capturing feature.
  • Joystick & Controller Support: Connect the Playstation, Nintendo, or Xbox controller with VBA.
  • Local & Remote Linking: VBA allows multiplayer gaming through remote and local linking facilities.

Pros

  • Comes with a Game Save option anytime you want.
  • Support for filters like Pixelate, Super Eagle AdvanceMAME, 2xSaI, and more.
  • On-the-go patching option for ROMS supported.

Cons

  • New users may need help to adjust to the settings.
  • Windows PC versions lower than 10 may face some issues.
  • The forward option sometimes needs to be fixed.

Pricing: Visual Boy Advance is free to download.

Link: https://visualboyadvance.org/


2) mGBA

Advanced Gameboy emulator for new-age gamers

mGBA is a GBA emulator for Windows 11. Many consider it to be the best GBA emulator for PC since it supports both high-end and low-end hardware configurations without compromising performance and accuracy.

With the release of version 0.10.2, mGBA has worked on certain fixes. Gamers can now play the old GBA games smoothly without any flickering issues.

mGBA

Features:

  • Cheat Code Support: mGBA allows gamers to input different code snippets to customize a game.
  • Graphic Filters: Supports filters like 2xSAI, Super 2xSAI, CRT, HQ3x, Pixelate, and more.
  • Game Compatibility: This tool is compatible with Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance games. Nintendo DS game support is still at an early stage.
  • Screen Capture & Recording: Gamers can generate GIFs by switching to FFmpeg from ImageMagick. The tool also has a Record Video option for recording GBC games at 256×224 resolution.
  • Joystick & Controller Support: There is support for different controllers and joysticks.
  • Local & Remote Linking: mGBA offers solar sensor support for Boktai. Partial cable support is also available.
  • Hardware Requirements: Windows Vista or higher, OpenGL 1.1 or higher, OpenGL 3.2 (for advanced features).
  • Multiple Platforms: Platforms supported are Windows (7 or newer), macOS, Linux, BSD, Nintendo 3DS (New Version for GBA games), Nintendo Switch, Wii, and PlayStation Vita.

Pros

  • Gyroscope and Accelerometer support are available.
  • Support for saving games at any point of play.
  • Comes with BattleChip Gate support for Mega Man Battle Network.

Cons

  • DS support is only available with the Medusa Branch.
  • Wireless adaptor support is not available.
  • Audio issues on regular 3DS versions.

Pricing: mGBA is an open-source tool available for free.

Link: https://mgba.io/


3) No$GBA

The first emulator to support multiplayer GBA gaming

NO$GBA (No Cash GBA) is a Gameboy advanced emulator. This game emulation tool has multiplayer game support and transforms your PC into a gaming console.

You may need more cash to play the GBA games. Don’t worry, as No$GBA does not require any. Install No cash GBA on your personal computer. Now, use the Game ROMs to run and play the GBA games from your PC.

No$GBA

Features:

  • Cheat Code Support: Now, play all your favorite GBA games with complete cheat code support.
  • Game Compatibility: It is compatible with all the Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS games.
  • Screen Capture & Recording: The screen recording feature can be availed via integration of 3rd party tools.
  • Joystick & Controller Support: Use the JoyToKey app to enable joystick and controller support.
  • Graphics Filters: Works on RISC architecture with a 16.78mhz processor. It supports all the 2D effects and most of the 3D graphical interfaces.
  • Local & Remote Linking: No cash GBA offers support for local linking for multiplayer gameplay.
  • Hardware Requirements: The minimum requirements are Windows Vista and higher, 1GB RAM, and an updated video card.
  • Real-time IPS/UPS Patching: No cash GBA supports multiple NDS ROM files to link games.
  • Multiple Platforms: The no$gba emulator works on MS-DOS, Windows XP, and Windows 10.

Pros

  • Auto-save feature is available.
  • MyZoom option allows the screen size to increase.
  • Ability to load various NDS ROM files to link games.

Cons

  • No 3DS version is available.
  • Non-availability of Wi-Fi version.
  • Cannot modify the screen appearance after loading the firmware on the emulator.

Pricing: This emulator for GBA is available for free.

Link: https://www.nogba.com/


4) SkyEmu

Low-level GBA emulator

SkyEmu is a Gameboy emulator that promises lag-free performance, accuracy, and a wide set of features for a nice user experience.

It is the first emulator to pass the TIMING TEST from mGBA. Due to this, several gamers consider it the best gameboy emulator for PC. This tool also supports the PPU scanline updates. With SkyEmu, gamers will be able to save slots 4 number of times. Before saving, there is also the option to check the preview.

SkyEmu

Features:

  • Cheat Code Support: There is support for all the retro games SkyEMU emulates.
  • Cheat Code Engine: This GBA comes with a Replay Cheat Code Engine.
  • Multiple Platforms: The platforms that SkyEMU supports are Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux, Android, and Web.
  • GameController Support: SkyEMU supports different game controllers and Rumble.
  • Game Compatibility: It is compatible with Game Boy Advance, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Nintendo DS emulator MIT-licensed games.
  • Automation: Rest Like API support for different automations, including asynchronous scripting.
  • Graphics support: The tool supports screen ghosting, high-quality upscaling shaders, and color correction.

Pros

  • Rewind and fast-forward options for games.
  • Supports solar and real-time clock sensors as per our review.
  • Gamers can load ROMs in ZIP-compressed folders.

Cons

  • Sleep Mode freezes in some games.
  • Sometimes, slight distortions can be seen with Pixelate Shader.
  • Support for DS peripherals has yet to be available.

Pricing: This is a freeware tool.

Link: https://skyemu.app/


5) Ares

The powerful multi-system GBA emulator

Ares is a cross-platform Gameboy advanced emulator. The source codes of Ares are easily readable. This GBA emulator focuses strongly on game preservation and accuracy.

Ares can automatically adapt to every system with a one-time configuration of virtual gamepads. It also comes with dynamic rate control and a built-in games database.

Ares

Features:

  • Dynamic synchronizing: Ares allows gamers to synchronize video and audio output simultaneously.
  • Multiple Platforms: The emulator supports macOS, Windows PC, and POSIX platforms.
  • Framework: Ares uses the HIRO framework to support multiple interfaces like WinAPI, Cocoa, GTK2, etc.
  • Graphic Filters: The emulator supports pixel shaders for smart rendering. It also offers color correction to create an authentic gaming experience.
  • Cheat Code support: All the games that can run with ARES come with cheat code support.
  • Debugger support: Trace logging debug feature supported.

Pros

  • Users can fast-forward or rewind a game sequence as per our review.
  • You can save states for games that don’t support saving.
  • Reduces response time via inward processing delays on the actual game.

Cons

  • The run-ahead option prevents the game from opening.
  • The Mouse Cursor stays hidden in Fullscreen mode.
  • Graphical issues were observed in some pocket games.

Pricing: Ares is a free Gameboy Advance and other gaming console emulator.

Link: https://ares-emu.net/


6) RetroArch

The feature-rich front-end for game emulators

RetroArch is a GBA emulator, or better to say, a front-end tool for emulators and game engines. This front-end tool has several innovative features like machine translation, net-play, next-frame response time, blind accessibility, etc.

You can run all the retro games on your computer without any lag. RetroArch also supports the option to run original GBA game ROMs.

RetroArch

Features:

  • Run game discs: RetroArch comes with disc support. You can run games directly from discs.
  • User-friendly Interface: You will notice an intuitive menu from where you can browse all your games.
  • Next Frame: This front-end tool supports next-frame response time.
  • Multi-platform: Some of the platforms that RetroArch supports are Windows, Linux, and Mac OS Ver-X.
  • Optimal response time: RetroArch comes with Next-Frame Supports Time., preventing latency issues.
  • Graphical User Interface: The default GUI used by RetroArch is Ozone. It can tweak settings, customizations, and other features.
  • Graphics support: Supports shaders that improve the performance of old GBA games.

Pros

  • Offers automatic as well as manual configuration for controllers.
  • Gamers can create their effects by stacking the shaders.
  • Option to unlock badges and trophies, similar to the original game.

Cons

  • The latest MAME does not support 32-bit versions.
  • Super Cassette Vision romset is not loading.
  • The option to download cores may be confusing for new users.

Pricing: Free.

Link: https://www.retroarch.com/

How to choose best GBA Emulators

When choosing the best GBA emulators for PC, focus on the following points:

  • It must be compatible with the OS you are using.
  • The UI must be intuitive for a better user experience.
  • Always choose an emulator that has a simple layout with easy gameplay options.
  • The emulator must be able to apply cheat codes for games.

Can I play multiplayer GBA games using emulators?

Yes, multiplayer GBA games can be played using the PC GBA emulators. Here are the various ways through which you can do this:

  • Same device, multiple players: Most of the emulators support this option. You can play with your friend on the same device using two controllers.
  • Link Cable Emulation: Some of the best PC GBA emulators have built-in support for GBA link cables. This option lets you connect to two different units via the Internet.
  • Netplay support: You will find some PC GBA emulators featuring Netplay support. A good Android emulator allows multiple players to participate in the game with the feeling that they are in the same room.

FAQs

First of all, you need to install the GBA emulator. After installation, you must buy the game file to play GBA ROMs. Load the game file ROM on your emulator. Now you can play on the PC.

Best Gameboy Advance emulators are 100% legal and safe to download. However, it is illegal to download the GBA ROMs. Use your game files.

Verdict

The best Gameboy emulator for PC will depend on individual preferences. But looking at the overall performances and features, the following GBA emulators standout:

  • Visual Boy Advance: VisualBoy Advance is the best GBA emulator for windows 10. Apart from wide game compatibility, it also promises performance stability and multi-platform support.
  • mGBA: This emulator is known for high accuracy, active updates, and excellent performance.
  • No$gba: With No$gba, gamers can work on the debugger tool. This Android and iOS emulator also offer satisfactory GBA emulation.

Best Game Boy Emulator for PC

Emulator Name Supported Platforms Free Trial Link
Visual Boy Advance Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and IOS devices. Freeware Learn More
mGBA Windows (7 or newer), macOS, Linux, BSD, Nintendo 3DS (New 3DS is required for GBA games), Nintendo Switch, Wii, PlayStation Vita Freeware Learn More
No$GBA Windows 10, Windows XP, MS-DOS Freeware Learn More
SkyEMU Windows, MacOS, Linux, FreeBSD, iOS, Android, Web Freeware Learn More
Ares Windows, Mac, POSIX (OS interfaces based on UNIX) Freeware Learn More