GAMEBOY ADVANCE EMULATORS
The Nintendo Game Boy Advance popularly abbreviated as GBA is a 32-bit sixth generation handheld video game console that gained popularity from early 2000s across the globe. The console was powered by 2 AA size batteries that could last for up to about 15hours, ARM7-based 32-bit CPU on the top of the Z80-based 8-bit CPU and games were stored in cartridge format sand slotted into the console to enable you play them. One of the coolest features of the GBA was its multi-boot mode, which allowed the console to download a program from its link port; this was created mainly to allow users to play multiplayer games with friends even if they didn’t have the game cartridge.
With the phasing out of the GBA console this feature has given way to ROM technology, where by great games on the cartridge file format (which is pretty much archaic), can now be saved in ROM (Read Only Memory) file formats by either ripping from the original game cartridge or downloading them copy of your games ripped from the original game source or saved and played on your PC, Tablet or Smartphone. This means that anyone can easily and conveniently get the GBA game ROMs and likewise play them without owning the console. But before you can go ahead and play any of these game ROMs you will also need to get a compatible GBA emulator downloaded for your device to enable you play any of the GBA game ROMs.
A GBA emulator is simply is a software that can mimic play of any file format (ROMs, ISOs, BIOs) on your device. There are quite a number of emulators you can download online, and I’ll give you some details on some of the most popular ones that support GBA games on for your device and specific Operating System. Below;
Visual Boy Advance GBA Emulator
Visual Boy Advance (VBA) is the best free GBA Emulator for PC`s and this is available for many Operating Systems, such as Windows, including Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, and BeOS. Users can also play any Game Boy colour, Game Boy, and Game Boy Advance ROMs using this emulator. Key features that come with your VBA GBA emulator download are that you can export and import saved games to another PC, it comes with joystick support, a full screen mode and screen capture support and likewise video recording.
ClassicBoy GBA Emulator
This Game Boy Advance emulator is one of the pretty good all-in-one emulators out there. This one has a bunch of consoles, like the NES, Game Boy Colour, Game Boy, and Game Boy Advance ROMs on it. It basically does what you expect an emulator to do. The app supports almost all of the games and additionally, you get to save states, load states, fast forward, and get cheat code support on it. It also comes with a hardware controller support. You can get this emulator for free and paid (premium) version, the free version has a few features missing that the paid version comes with. This emulator is likewise compatible with the Windows, Mac/iOS, Android and Linux OSs.
Dolphin GBA Emulator
This emulator supports the linking of GameCube and GameBoy Advance titles. Another great thing about this emulator is that it runs extremely well on your Android devices to enable you play your classic Game Boy Advance games on your tablets and Smartphones. This emulator is the dolphin emulator and it has been in existence strictly for Windows, Linux, and Mac computers for some time now, however, in 2013 there was great news for Android users, as there was a release of Dolphin Emulator for Android. This move put dolphin emulator ahead as the preferred choice for gamers who want to still catch the trill from great GameCube classic titles on their hand held devices.
RetroArch GBA Emulator
This is a free open source multi-system emulator that uses the Liberto development interface. This system uses installable “cores”, each of which is essentially a video game emulator. Being that the Game Boy, the Game Boy Color, and GameBoy Advanced all have “cores” that work in RetroArch, this makes it possible to play all of them with a single emulator app. Though it does not have as many features as an individually coded Game Boy Advance emulator would have and it is a wee bit more complicated to use than other emulators, it makes up for this with its high compatibility rate and zero adverts.
Higan GBA Emulator
Higan is a multi-system open source GBA Game emulator that supports multiple OS such as FreeBSD 10.0+, Windows 7+ (32 and 64-bit), Linux 3.2+, and macOS X 10.7+. Higan is a free GBA emulator that can easily be installed and used on your PC. The emulator comes with features such as full screen support, easy storage of cheat codes, support for a wind range of ROMs and save and continue states as you play.
Other noteworthy GBA emulators include; No$GBA, mGBA, iDeaS, meteor, My Boy!, GBAoid and a couple of others.
Platforms That Support Game Boy Advance ROMs
Before you start an emulator download, it is pertinent to note that some emulators are compatible with only specific Operating Systems.
GBA Emulator for Mac
If you are looking for the best emulators to play your GBA ROMs then note that it is advisable that your Mac has an iOS X version or higher before downloading any of these emulators such as Higan, Visual Boy Advance, Dolphin and RetroArch.
GBA Emulator for Windows 10 PC
One great thing about Windows is that it supports almost all the emulators out there. Most often these emulators are supported on a wide range of Windows OS, so you are easily able to play all you Game Boy ROMs on your PC. The most compatible emulators for Windows include, Higan, Dolphin, Basic Boy, mGBA, Visual Boy Advance, No$GBA and RetroArch. Another great thing about most Windows GBA emulators is that they are often compatible with versions 10, 8.1 and, 7 32-bit & 64-bit PCs.
GBA Emulator for Android
Some of the best GBA emulator for Android can be found on the Google Play Store for download (most of them are free). These emulators are often compatible with the Android 4 (KitKat) and other newer versions of Android. Some of them likewise support older versions of Androids. The best Android GBA emulators include, Higan, John GBA, GBAoid and My Boy!
BIO (Basic Input Output System) is simply a file copy of the operating system of the system being emulated. Some emulators require that the BIOS file of the original system must be present to enable the GBA games run on your device. It serves as a go-between, by way of accepting the game's commands to the original hardware, and then translates it into something your current hardware can interpret, and back again. While some emulators come with their own default BIOS files and will allow you to play almost every GBA game, some games may not work with the default BIOS. Thus you may be required to have an actual GBA BIOS file to override any bugs or errors the default BIOS can’t fix.
GBA games contain code in its ROM that serve as a utility function to the game software in addition to the boot code. This utility code of the ROM is what is referred to as BIOS instead of boot ROM, and by cutting the re-implement this functionality, many GBA emulators require copies of game BIOS. This means that at least some of the BIOS must remain present in memory at all times. For most of the systems that GBA_BIOS emulates, the console itself doesn’t incorporate an actual software per say, as a result of a manufacturing oversight, emulating the device will no longer require you to infringing the copyright of the hardware manufacturer.
If you own a GBA and a flash-cart, then you can navigate the Internet to get tools that can help you extract the BIOS image so it is able to be copied to your device storage or you can simply get a BIOs file online and download. The GBA BIOS is small in size at about 16kb, so it only contains a small amount of code, mostly data, such as the boot logo and sound effect. It allows you to quickly copy memory, file decompression, basic number operations, sound functionality, and a couple of low-level hardware interaction.