VisualBoy Advance

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VisualBoy Advance is a Game Boy/Color and Game Boy Advance emulator.




Current version: 1.8.0-beta 3
Active: No
OS: Windows
Authors: Forgotten, VBA Team
Official website: Official site (now redirects to forums), VBA Link
Source code: SourceForge (VBA)

The original VBA emulator is ancient and has ceased development in 2004. VBA-M begun as a multiplayer branch of it to become ever since a continuation of VBA, as it is regularly updated.

VisualBoyAdvance 1.8.0 is the latest version of the original emulator. While still very useful and functional, and including emulation for tilt controls in Kirby Tilt'n Tumble (GBC), it doesn't emulate some features of special cartridges with solar or gyroscopic controls (those need ROM patches to function for that version), and doesn't include Link cable emulation (VBA-M originally was a multiplayer branch) or e-Reader emulation (earlier mods for 1.7 and 1.6 versions tried to, but only covered standalone e-Card emulation, not linked e-Card/GBA game or linked e-Card/GC game).

Be sure you have "vba-over.ini" in the same folder as VBA to avoid save type issues. Current VBA-M builds come with this by default. libretro versions of VBA have this baked into the binary, but also output a different save format that needs to be converted with a tool to be used with standalone VBA.

VBA Link e-Reader[edit]

Project Pokémon made a version of VBA 1.73 that adds both e-Reader and Link Cable support. While they were once available separately, this version permits the use of battle e-cards.

Using the e-Reader functionality requires a ROM of the Nintendo e-Reader. Load the ROM, then navigate to "Scan Dot Code." The emulator will ask for a dump of the e-Reader card barcode. Choose one that you had previously downloaded from your computer. (You can download the raw dumps as No-Intro's e-Reader set)


Current version: 2.0.0 beta 2
Active: Yes
OS: Windows, Linux, OS X, BeOS, Wii, Gamecube
Authors: Forgotten, VBA Team
Official website:
Source code: SourceForge (VBA-M)

The newer open-source active GBA emulator. Includes Link cable emulation between two GBA gamepacks, and as of v0956, Joylink GC/GBA emulation, which saw a huge compatibility overhaul in early 2015 (fixing notably Navi Trackers and Wind Waker). e-Reader emulation is being slowly added too (none of the emulators so far emulate all three types of e-Reader connectivity - e-Reader only, e-Reader/GBA cartridge, and e-Reader/GameCube). Still doesn't emulate special cartridge features like solar and gyroscopic sensors.


VBA-Next is an optimized version of an older revision of VBA-M with speedhacks and is available as a libretro core for RetroArch, making it recommended for Wii (over VBA-GX, from a speed perspective) and Android. There is also a libretro version of the latest VBA-M, which is slower but has less compatibility issues and regressions.


Wii-exclusive VBA-M optimized port (though less optimized than the VBA-Next core of RetroArch). Supports the various Wii controllers.

Is the only version of the emulator to support solar sensor emulation (Boktai series) and gyroscopic sensors (WarioWare Twisted, Yoshi's Universal Gravitation) as well as the tilt sensors for Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble, but requires clean ROMs of these as their emulation ROM patches break their proper functionality here. They are controlled using the Wiimote. As for the solar sensor games, pointing the Wiimote skyward charges the Gun deSol while pointing it to the ground blocks sunlight. Has other optional motion-based Wiimote controls for other notable games.

VBA-M JS[edit]

Javascript port for playing on computer web browsers. Available here.

Nintendo Game Boy Advance Emulators