The Game Boy Advance is one of the most popular handheld game consoles of all time, and Android smartphones occupy such a large market share that it’s almost inevitable that Android owners will be interested in playing. their old favorites on their phones.
The maturity of the Android platform means that there are now a few good Android GBA emulators that are worth using. We’ve rounded up the best of them for you here.
1. Pizza boy
One of the newer and more accurate GBA emulators on the market, Pizza Boy, is widely regarded as the best GBA emulator for Android alongside Retroarch’s mGBA kernel (we’ll get to that shortly).
What makes it so good? In addition to excellent performance and many tweaks that can make emulation more precise or more “modernized”, it has some very stylish skins that mimic variations of the GBA, really exploiting that nostalgia.
Amateurs even have Pizza Boy’s tested accuracy of sound and picture compared to other emulators, and this is the best. Thinking that this great software is so much newer than the other entries on this list just makes you wonder how much better it can be!
The same developer made a Pizza Boy emulator for Game Boy Color, which is equally impressive.
RetroArch is a child of the poster in the world of emulation, not least because it is not exactly an emulator. RetroArch is best described as a single, unified application through which you can interact with other emulators. These emulators are represented in “cores” and you can choose from multiple RetroArch cores for each system you want to emulate. In particular, VBA-M and mGBA are great options.
RetroArch can be tedious to set up, so be sure to read our full guide to Retroarch on Android to get you started.
3. John GBA
A reasonably accurate GBA emulator with lots of extra features, nonsense John GBA is a great option for those who want to keep it simple. It has built-in tips and various options to improve rendering. Particularly useful is Dropbox support, which lets you sync your saves and setup data to the cloud, and then continue playing on another Android device.
The default virtual gamepad layout isn’t great, but you can at least change it, and there’s Bluetooth controller support as well. (We can’t stress enough that it’s best to play GBA games with a gamepad.)
4. My boy!
My boy! is perhaps the most important entry on this list. It is certainly the most popular, and it has gained this popularity thanks to its outstanding performance, precision and emulation features.
There used to be a free version on the Play Store, but that now appears to have been removed – the only one you can get now is the Premium version. it’s still a great app, but the $ 5 price definitely reverses the pecking order, as it’s hard to justify the price when there are some great free competitors out there.
You can always find the free version at Emuparadise, but it has not been updated for some time and therefore may be a bit outdated compared to the Play Store version.
GBA.emu is an incredibly solid and feature-rich option. Its free version, linked above, is functionally identical to its paid version. If you want to support the developer, you can also go for the paid version instead, but you don’t have to worry about seeing ads projected on your face if you can’t. It is one of the few open source Android GBA emulators and it sees regular updates because of it.
RetroArch aside, it’s definitely our favorite free option on this list.
Ultimately, Android GBA emulators are plentiful, but only a few are really worth using. If you want to avoid the lengthy setup associated with RetroArch (especially if you’re only interested in GBA titles) then MyBoy! is probably your best option.
If you are serious about emulation, you must read our guide on how to connect a PS4 controller to your Android device. (We also have a guide for connecting Xbox 360 controllers to Android.)
Image Credit: Teenager gamer boy playing video games on smartphone by DepositPhotos
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