The 5 best Game Boy Advance (GBA) emulators

When in doubt, emulate.

Image via Evan Amos, Wikimedia Commons

What makes a good emulator? Is it ease of use? Maybe having lots of features to allow customization, or perhaps whatever makes your emulated games look the best? Well, it’s all that, plus more. Emulation has grown over the years thanks to retro video games becoming more expensive and harder to get for the average person. Do you want an old Pokemon game? You better be ready to pay an arm and a leg. But why bother when emulation is free and easy? If companies wanted us to buy these games, then they should give us an option for us to buy them somewhere. Game Boy Advance games are one of the most popular emulated systems, but what are the best emulators if you want to play GBA games?

John GBA – best GBA emulators

Image via Google Play

John GBA is a simple GBA emulator that has also been around for a long time. There are two versions of this emulator, a free version, and a paid version, available on Android. It’s amazing for emulating games on your phone and is possibly the most beginner-friendly emulating apps for mobile. With John GBA, all you have to do is download the ROMs of games you like, open the app, and they’ll search your phone for any games you’ve downloaded. It has all the features you’d want in an emulator, and its quick and easy to use.

mGBA – best GBA emulators

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Often regarded as the best GBA emulator by enthusiasts, mGBA has a host of features that allows it to play all Game Boy games plus Nintendo DS games. It’s playable on Windows, Mac, and even Nintendo consoles such as the 3DS, Switch, and Wii. This emulator is still being updated to this day and was created for the purpose of working on weaker hardware, allowing anyone to emulate Game Boy games, not just those with graphically impressive computers.

No$GBA – best GBA emulators


The name of this emulator may be strange, but the host of features it has makes up for it. No$GBA lets you play both GBA games, DS games, and is one of the only emulators that allows players to play multiplayer GBA games. There is controller support, keyboard mapping, and it has a host of options to optimize the emulator however you wish. ROMs aren’t as easy to download on it, but they run well nonetheless.

Pizza Boy GBA – best GBA emulators

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With a free and paid version of this emulator, Pizza Boy GBA is one of the only free emulators on the market that isn’t filled with ads. The free version doesn’t have as many quality-of-life features as the paid version, but not having ads is a huge offset. The paid version is only five dollars, allows you to sync your rom files with Google Drive, has built-in cheats, and even has cartridge hardware like rumble, gyroscope, and a tilt sensor. It also features typical emulation options like increasing gameplay speed, rewinding, and save states.

Visual Boy Advance – best GBA emulators

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One of the oldest GBA emulators, the Visual Boy Advance is a classic for a reason. It’s simple to use and has been a staple in the community for decades thanks to its user-friendly design. The Visual Boy has screen recording, controller support, has speedup options, and uses save and load states. After 20 years, this emulator is still updated with features to make Game Boy Avance and even Game Boy and Game Boy Color games look amazing.