How to play GBA games/ROMs (Gameboy Advanced) on your Android smartphone or tablet?

Written by B Johnson August 05, 2016
GBA emulator logo
One of the coolest things about smartphone or tablet is, not only are you able to play Android games, but you can also play any kind of games from different platforms by using game emulators.

Gameboy Advanced is one of those platforms.

If you used to have Gameboy Advanced device in the past, you’re probably not gonna use this portable gaming console anymore because now you can also play GBA games on your smartphone or tablet.

How to play GBA games/ROMs (Gameboy Advanced) on your Android smartphone or tablet?

Anyway, below, I’m going to show you how to play GBA games on your Android device. Enjoy!

#1. Go to Google Play Store

First of all, open the Google Play Store app on your device.

#2. Download GBA Emulator

After opening you Google Play Store, now find an app called “GBA Emulator”, which is the one developed by 'Deimos Applications'. And then, download this app to your device. This app is free by the way, so you don’t have to spend any money in order to download it to your device.

Anyway, besides “GBA Emulator” from Deimos Applications, there are tons of other GBA emulator apps available on Google Play Store, but I think this is also a pretty good GBA emulator.

This app only weighs in around 3MB of data, which is really small in size. So I believe it’s okay to use your mobile internet data to download this app.

#3. Open the app

After the installation process is complete, now open the app to start playing Gameboy Advanced games on your Android device.

#4. Locate the GBA game files/ROMS on your device?

Okay, the very first time you open the app, it will ask you to locate the GBA games/ROMs that you’ve already downloaded on your device.

Anyway, if you haven’t had any GBA games on your device, you can download them for free on Google. But if you already have the games, then you can skip the step number 5 below and proceed to the step number 6.

#5. How to find GBA games/ROMS on Google?

If you want to download GBA games on Google, you can simply use the key phrase “game’s name(space)GBA ROM” in the search bar and Google will give you a bunch of websites that provide the download links for that game.

For example, if you’re looking for the GBA version of “Donkey Kong Country 3”, you can just type this on Google:

“Donkey Kong Country 2 GBA ROM”

Anyway, if you’re having trouble to find the names of all GBA games, you can check out this Wikipedia page that has the complete list of all GBA games available on the market.

In terms of size, unlike PlayStation Portable (PSP) games that are mostly heavy in size (around 100MB to 2GB), the size of GBA games are mostly not really huge, probably around 10MB to 40MB.

So it only takes a couple of minutes or even seconds to download GBA games/ROMs to your computer, especially if you have a really fast internet connection.

Okay, when the downloading process is complete, now transfer the GBA games/ROMs to your smartphone or tablet.

After moving the GBA game files/ROMs to you Android device, now put them all in one empty folder on your device and name the folder as “GBA games” so you can easily locate these games when 'GBA emulator' app asks you to find the games on your device.

#6. How to transparency of the virtual controls?

On “GBA Emulator” app, you can also modify the transparency of the virtual controls. To do that, you just need to tap on the menu option > Open 'Setting' > select “Virtual Keypad Setting” > 'Controls Transparency' > and then from there you can finally adjust the transparency level of the virtual controls.

Unfortunately, on this 'Gameboy Emulator' app, you're not able to configure the keymap of each button to any position according to your liking. So you cannot do things like resize the buttons, move the buttons to other area, etc.

The good thing is, the default keymap on this app is still pretty convenient to use because Gameboy Advanced doesn't use a lot of buttons, unlike PSP that has a lot of buttons on its controller.

#7. How to save the game?

Okay, on this 'GBA Emulator' app, you're also able to save the current checkpoint in any position during the game. So for example, if you’re playing Super Mario, you can save the game in any checkpoint of the game, like in boss battle.

So if you’re currently fighting a really difficult boss in Super Mario, you can just open the menu option > open 'Save' > and then tap on any empty slot (from slot 1, slot 2, slot 3, etc) to save the game.

Later, if you feel like continuing the game, you can just load the saved game and continue exactly where the last time you left that game.


Well, there you have it guys, my tips for you if you want to know how to play Gameboy Advanced or GBA games on your Android smartphone or tablet. But I think this guide can also be applied to other iOS users given that GBA emulator apps are also available for iOS devices on App Store.

So if you have iPad or iPhone lying around your house, you can also follow the instructions above if you want to play GBA games on your iOS devices.
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