Game Boy and Game Boy Color were the handheld consoles that started it all. Their release showed that you could have well made games that fit in your pocket and that you didn’t need to be tethered to a television to have a good time. Handheld game consoles have evolved a lot since then, but there are many who still enjoy the classics. Let’s take a look at the best Game Boy emulators, Game Boy Color emulators, and Game Boy Advanced emulators for Android!
GBA.emu is a GBA emulator from Robert Broglia and it’s one of the best Game Boy Advanced emulators out there right now. It has a high level of compatibility and should play most games. It includes save and load states and they’re cross compatible with the PC version of VBA-M which is a plus if you use emulators on multiple platforms. It also includes on-screen controls, support for hardware controllers, and it also supports cheat codes. There isn’t a free version or a trial, but rest assured, this emulator works.
GBC.emu, also by Robert Broglia, is one of the best Game Boy Color and Game Boy emulators available on Android. It supports both systems so you can play either console and it has a high compatibility rate so pretty much every game should work. It also supports Game Genie and Gameshark cheat codes, cross-compatible save games with the PC version, and support for hardware controllers. It’s open source which is good, but there is no free version to test out. You’ll have to buy it.
Despite a similar naming to the GBA.emu listed above, this one is actually done by developer V Android and it’s based off of the source code from Robert Broglia’s GBA.emu. This Game Boy Advanced emulator offers enough features to be mentioned, including save states, hardware keyboard support, and a high compatibility rate which means most games should work. It seems to have a few more bugs than the paid version and that’s likely because it hasn’t been updated since 2013. It’s old and may not work on the latest devices, but it’s entirely free with no in-app purchases so it’s worth a shot.
GBC.emu Free is another app by V Android and it’s in the exact same boat GBA.emu Free. It’s based off of the GBC.emu app done by Robert Broglia and contains a lot of the same features, but it hasn’t been updated since 2013 and likely won’t be. The game does support save states, hardware controllers, and a good compatibility rate which should play most, if not all, Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. It’s decent and worth a shot if you’re looking for something cheap.
John GBA is one of the better Game Boy Advanced emulators and it’s likely because it features the original Game Boy Advanced engine. It supports pretty much every game and includes on-screen controls, game search, cheat codes, fast forward and slow down modes, and it even has Dropbox support so you can backup your games. It works entirely offline and contains no advertising which is also a hefty plus. It’s relatively inexpensive and is a go-to Game Boy Advanced emulator for many people.
John GBC is one of the more popular Game Boy Color and Game Boy emulators available right now. As you may have guessed, it’s by the same developers as John GBA and it contains many of the same features, including the original Game Boy Color engine. There is also support for cheat codes, fast forward and slow down modes, turbo buttons, game search, and Dropbox support. It’s a highly reliable emulator and, much like it’s Game Boy Advanced counterpart, works entirely offline and has no advertising.
[Price: Free demo / $4.99]
My Boy is a GBA emulator and, at least in terms of pure numbers, is the most popular one out there. It has a high compatibility along with a laundry list of features, including superior link cable support (over WiFi or Bluetooth), high game compatibility, fast forward and slow down modes, cheat codes, and hardware controller support. It also has some advanced features like OpenGL rendering, BIOS emulation (so you don’t need a BIOS file), and rumble emulation using your phone’s vibrate motor. If you need the complete experience, it’s worth giving this a go.
My OldBoy is by the same developers as My Boy, but this one is a Game Boy and Game Boy Color emulator. Much like My Boy, this one has a ton of features, including link cable emulation, cheat code support, hardware controller support, fast forward and slow motion modes, and more. It also includes the OpenGL rendering and rumble emulation like My Boy. In fact, it’s pretty much My Boy but for Game Boy. It’s $3.99 which isn’t a bad price for an emulator with this many features.
[Price: Free / $1.99]
Nostalgia GBC is a decent Game Boy and Game Boy Color emulator with quite a few features. Both the free and paid version allow for the same features, including turbo buttons, high game compatibility, and support for both on-screen controls and hardware keyboards. Unlike most, this Game Boy emulator includes a game rewind feature that lets you go back a few seconds to try a segment over again which is actually really fun to use. The free version is ad supported and requires an online connection (no ads display while gaming, just during menus) whereas the paid version has none of these requirements.
RetroArch is a multi-system emulator that uses the Liberto development interface. This system uses “cores” that you can install and each “core” is essentially a video game emulator. As it turns out, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advanced all have “cores” that work in RetroArch, making it possible to play all of them. It doesn’t have quite as many features as individually coded emulators, but it has a high compatibility rate, it’s totally free, open source, and there is no advertising at all. It’s a great free option that gets consistently updated. There is a learning curve so do be aware of that.