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How to Download & Play the Best GBA Games ROM on Android

Playing Nintendo Game Boy Advance games on your Android device is a lot of fun

How to Play the Best GBA Games ROM on Android

Console gaming has come a long way in recent years, but many of us look back on the Game Boy Advance (GBA) with affection. The handheld console released back in 2001 and won over many fans, but it’s fair to say that a huge amount of people now use their mobile devices for gaming. With this in mind, there is a way of playing GBA games on Android smartphones and tablets.

Gaming has come a long way since the early days of GBA, but there’s something about the simplicity of those older games that is still appealing. If you feel like a touch of nostalgia, we’re here to tell you how to play the best GBA games ROM on Android. It’s a somewhat gray area to cover, as there is no official route for getting GBA ROMs, therefore we take no legal or moral responsibility but are merely steering you in the right direction.

There are plenty of GBA emulators (basically the game system) available on the Google Play Store, and you’ll also need GBA ROMs for Android. These are readily available if you simply search for them. Once you’ve downloaded and installed a GBA emulator app, you’ll need to find the digital copies of the games you want to play. This is easier than it sounds as you can just Google the name of the GBA game you want to play followed by GBA ROM to get a download link. Alternatively, there are some websites such as Love ROMs, EMU Paradise, PD ROMs, Cool ROM, Dope ROMs, or ROMs Mania that will allow you to find different titles.

Once you’ve fetched the .gba game files, you’ll need to use a file explorer to extract it to the local storage of your phone. Then once it’s on your device, simply launch your GBA emulator and you can start playing. Here are some of the best GBA emulators available on the Google Play Store.

My Boy! Free - GBA Emulator

This is certainly one of the best emulators we’ve tried, speedy and smooth and working with Android devices from low-end to top-grade. We didn’t find a game it couldn’t handle and the myriad of features include rumble emulation, the ability to enter cheat codes (GameShark, ActionReplay, Codebreaker) and enable or disable them while the game is running, high-level BIOS emulation, IPS/UPS ROM patching, fast forward or slow down, video filters, off-screen keypad and many, many more.

It has a nicely clean interface, and the app has gathered a 4.3/5 star rating on the Google Play Store. However, if you want more, you can upgrade to the full paid version rated with 4.6 stars. This will remove ads and offers further features such as speedier fast-forward (up to 16x), syncing saves with Google Drive, multiple screen-layout profiles and more.

John GBA Lite - GBA emulator

This emulator works with Android smartphones or tablets running Android 4.4 or later, as long as they have at least a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. Just like other GBA emulators, you’ll still need your own game files before you can play. It packs a lot of features including a virtual on-screen keypad, game search, cheats (GameShark, Raw, CodeBreaker), zipped file support, customizable keys, turbo buttons, Bluetooth/MOGA controller support, and more.

It uses the original GBA engine with high quality rendering and if you opt for the paid version this will remove those bothersome ads.

GBA Emulator

This emulator comes from Deimos Applications and is totally free with no paid versions available. The interface is not as impressive as with the earlier options, but it still offers a fluid performance and has enough features on offer, such as 100% speed emulation, compressed file support, fast forward, cheats support, and a customizable control layout. It was also quick to search for compatible GBA ROMs, and we can’t knock a free app.

MyGBA - Gameboid Emulator

This is a modified version of GameBoid, an Open Source project that’s not available on the Google Play Store, which we’ll mention later in this article. It’s a simple app that enables you to transfer games to the internal storage or SD card of your Android device, and once you’ve done this, you’re ready to go. It can be used for ROMs in .gba and .zip formats and can find ROMs inside mobile apps. It works well, and we encountered no problems at all in our look at this emulator.


We were impressed by the great user ratings for this open-source emulator, and after checking it out, we were still impressed. It’s packed full of features including cheat code support, BIOS emulation (with no BIOS file necessary), hardware controller configuration, cross-platform support for the PC version, save state support, and more, and it supports .gba format as well as ZIP, RAR or 7Z files.

We had no issues with game ROM compatibility in our usage, but unfortunately, there’s no free option for this one. However, unlike most emulators, this one does include the Motocross Challenge game although you’ll have to obtain additional ROMs.

GBA & GBC Free Emulator 2018

Just as you’d expect from the title this emulator allows you to play both GBA and GBC games although you’ll still need to fetch the game files to do so. It’s suitable for a wide spectrum of Android devices and has many of the features of the other apps in our list including tricks, game file search (internal storage and SD card), on-screen keyboard, Zip file support, save states (with previews), turbo buttons, and screenshot capture.

It features the original GBA/GBC motor and offers high-quality rendering, and although we did notice the odd glitch, it’s worth checking out.

VGBAnext - GBA / GBC Emulator

This one is not cheap, but it does run games for GameBoy Advance, GameBoy Color, and GameBoy Classic. It has been specifically optimized for Android devices and includes cheats for many of the most popular games (the Cheatopedia) and also supports GameBoy add-ons including vibration packs, tilt sensors, and printers. Your game progress can be saved at any time and shared with other users, and it also features Network Play over WiFi. The app supports various gamepads such as Xperia Play, Sixaxis, Moga, Wiimote, iCade and more, and it features full-screen portrait and landscape modes. Additionally, just one keypress allows you to rewind the current gameplay by 16 seconds.

EmuBox - Fast Retro Emulator

This all-in-one emulator not only runs GBA ROMs but also covers GBC, NES, SNES, PSX (PS1), and NDS. Based on Google’s Material Design it supports 20 save slots for each ROM, and other features include fast forward, game screenshot capture, and support for external controllers. This multi-emulator also allows you to tweak the settings so that you can get the very best performance out of it.

Final Word

There are further options not available on the Google Play Store, such as GBAoid or GameBoid, both Nintendo Gameboy Advance emulators for Android. These are free, and the APK files for both are available from the same website. We’ve enjoyed compiling this article on how to play the best GBA games ROM on Android and the
options above offer an opportunity to take you back to the pleasure of playing GBA games, this time on your Android smartphone or tablet.

Playing GBA games on Android is a great way to spend your downtime, so why not take a look and you could soon be playing some great games such as Pokemon, Mario Kart Super Circuit, Crash Bandicoot Advance, Sonic Advance, Dragon Ball Z, Golden Sun, Ninja Five-0, and Yu-Gi-Oh to name just a few. Alternatively if there’s another GBA emulator for Android that you particularly want to recommend to other readers we’d like to hear about it, so drop us a line in the comments box.

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Updated: February 22, 2018 — 5:18 pm

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