Growing up I always wanted a shiny new Gameboy Advance to play games on the go. But I got one from a cousin way later and it only had two games. By then, I had moved on to other consoles and had no time for an old relic.
Thankfully, with Android in my pocket almost all the time, I got to play Gameboy Advance (GBA) games on Android quite easily. Well, the two games that I legally had anyways. I have already written an emulator list for Android and this article is just an extension of it. This article will be explaining the process of getting GBA games on your Android smartphone or tablet.
I tested around 4 GBA emulators for Android and selected the best ones for the emulator list. I will use My Boy! Free – GBA Emulator to run a few games on my Samsung Galaxy Note III smartphone for this guide.
Rest assured I have thoroughly tested and fully enjoyed the emulator off duty as well. For the sake of this guide, I will make the process extremely easy and convenient.
Note: You need to have Gameboy Advance ROMs already downloaded or saved on your PC. The emulator will not provide you with any games itself, you will need to procure them separately. As per Joy of Android policy, I will not be providing any ROM download links in the guide either.
Using My Boy! Emulator
My Boy! GBA Emulator is one of the most stable Gameboy Advance emulators I had the pleasure of testing. I tested around 4 games on the emulator and they all worked perfectly. The controls were highly customizable as well. The emulator also comes with some amazing power saving techniques which can help save battery life on trips.
1. Download the free version of My Boy! GBA Emulator on your preferred device. I recommend using a tablet because the virtual controls will feel better on it. However, some buttons will be hard to reach initially on tablets (Don’t worry, they can be customized). Here is the link to the emulator:
2. After the emulator is downloaded and installed on your Android device. Move to your PC and locate the ROMs you have saved.
3. Move the ROM you want from the computer to the main storage of the device. I recommend you make a new folder named “ROMS” for easy access later. For some reason, I was unable to see the external SD card in the emulator, so I suggest you place the ROMs on internal storage.
4. Now that the files have been transferred to the device, you can move back to Android.
5. Launch the My Boy! GBA emulator on your Android smartphone.
6. You will see this initial disclaimer and welcome screen.
7. After that, you will see some folders on the screen. This is actually the internal storage of your phone/tablet.
If you have used any of the best file managers for Android, you will instantly feel familiar with the format. This may be a little confusing for first-time users.
8. Now, scroll down until you see the folder named “ROMS”. It’s the same folder you placed the GBA games in.
9. Click on the folder and you will see the games listed.
10. Tap on a game and it will start immediately.
11. Here you can see the Pokémon running in portrait mode.
12. You can adjust the game settings by pressing the menu button of your device and selecting setting.
13. I recommend that you use auto-rotation for all the games because some are best played in landscape mode.
14. You can even adjust the screen size on tablets as well as smartphones.
15. Rearranging the control buttons is also quite easy.
16. You can add new buttons to the screen too.
The rapid button will come in really handy for combos in fighting games.
17. If you want to close the game, you can do that through the very same menu.
18. Here you can see me playing Grand Theft Auto Advanced in landscape mode.
19. The top trigger buttons were a bit harder to reach, so I moved them down for easy access.
20. Now that your games are running flawlessly, you can have a great time with the emulator and Android.
Emulation is the thing that makes Android so freeing. I simply love revisiting the old video games I never got the chance to play. I used to read a lot of gaming magazines back in the day and drool over the incredible games that came out. Now that I can easily purchase any new game, the old ones have taken a back seat.
Thanks to Android now I get to play those missed classic games with ease. Sure the tutorials can be long, but if you look at them, they are essentially just slightly detailed copy/paste scenarios.
If you have any problems with the emulator or this guide, feel free to contact me in the comments below. I will make sure you get to play some amazing Gameboy Advance games on your Android as soon as possible.