Apart from the NES and SNES, the Game Boy is among the other most popular consoles to emulate. Considering the popularity of the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance, it makes sense to use the new-age power of your smartphone to play these classics.
The problem with finding the best Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulators for Android is that there are so many different options to choose from, which isn’t the worst problem you have. Fortunately, some developers have made it easy for our favorites to stand out.
The best Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulators for Android
It’s no surprise that our pick of the best emulators for Android is also the best Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulator for Android. Classicboy allows you to play games from a variety of classic consoles, but the various features built into the app make it an easy first choice.
VPN offers: lifetime license for $ 16, monthly plans for $ 1 and more
When trying to find emulators for certain games and ROMs, you’ll likely find yourself downloading multiple apps depending on what you’re playing. With John GBAC, you don’t have to worry about it. This emulator combines Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance emulators in one package.
If you’re really looking for that kick in the bone of nostalgia, then Pizza boy is going to be the way to go. There are different themes built into these apps that can make your phone look and sound like the Game Boy you carry around.
Whether you’re looking for the best Game Boy emulator or just want to enjoy classics from other consoles, ClassicBoy is a great choice. The app lets you play ROMs from a myriad of older consoles including Game Boy, GBC, and GBA.
When you first start, ClassicBoy presents a list of preinstalled console modules to choose from. Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Advance are all grouped together, so you’ll need to select this one. From there, you’ll enter the Game Chooser section and locate the ROM you’re trying to load.
As is the case with many other emulators, you can customize the on-screen button layout or you can use a bluetooth controller to play these classics. One of the best things about ClassicBoy is that you don’t have to pay for a lot of extra features. Only a few select features are locked behind the in-app purchase of ClassicBoy Gold, including the ability to automatically load and start a game from a previously saved game state.
The best emulator for Android
After downloading ClassicBoy for the first time, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best emulators for Android. The app supports an array of other consoles, in addition to the Game Boy line, and allows you to customize the interface.
2. John GBAC
If you’ve ever been interested in Android game emulation in the past, chances are you’ve come across John Emulators. These are some of the best Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulators for Android, but you no longer need to download two separate apps. Now there’s John GBAC, which combines the best of John GBC and John GBA in one app.
After giving John GBAC permission to view your emulator folder, you will be presented with a list of compatible games. At first, the app will only show black backgrounds for each game, but as soon as you start playing it and save your progress, a snapshot of your last position will fill the box.
John GBAC also includes a variety of different themes, some of which match the classic GBA and GBC color options, as well as an NES and SNES color option. You can even customize your interface. If you only want to play Game Boy, GBC, or GBA games, it doesn’t get much better.
Two in one
Combine the best in one application
Instead of relying on two separate apps for your Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games, John GBAC combines the two into one great app.
3. Pizza Boy Emulators (GBA / GBC)
Another popular set of emulators comes from pizza emulators with the Pizza Boy app series. However, unlike the other options on this list, Pizza Emulators only focuses on Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color emulators for Android. There are two versions of the app available, one designed for the Game Boy Advance and the other for the Game Boy Color. Then there are Pro versions also available which unlock even more features from the free apps.
What helps Pizza Boy stand out from the crowd is the design of the app and the different themes available. Instead of just throwing uninspired and un themed commands on your screen, Pizza Boy tries to make you feel like you’re actually holding one of those old consoles. It works great with third-party controllers, allowing you to easily remap certain buttons based on the games you’re playing.
It’s great to have an emulator that works well and easily manages your ROMs, but the added themes are a great touch. The only consideration to keep in mind is that if you choose to use the free versions, you will have to deal with occasional advertisements appearing between the settings menus. But you never have to worry about an ad interrupting you in the middle of this boss battle.
Pizza Boy GBA
Have fun with personalization
To get the nostalgic feeling of playing these classic Game Boy games, why not get an emulator that looks like handheld consoles? This is where PizzaBoy excels.
Other great options
While they don’t quite make our top three, here are some other great Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulators to try.
GBA.emu and GBC.emu
It’s really great when you find a developer (or a team of developers) dedicated to delivering a fantastic experience across multiple apps. This is what you will find with both GBA.emu and GBC.emu by Robert Broglia. The developer offers 11 different emulators for you to download and use, highlighted by GBC.emu and GBA.emu, which support cheat codes, configurable on-screen controls, and external controllers.
However, unlike the other emulators on this list, you won’t be able to try out the app until you decide to take the plunge. Both of these emulators are prepaid, but we recommend that you give them a chance. The apps are regularly updated and you can even follow the development progress on GitHub.
Follow the development
Keep track of upcoming changes
GBA.emu and GBC.emu are great emulators for Android that include customizable color palettes and configurable onscreen controls.
RetroArch is one of those Swiss Army Knife emulators that you can use to emulate up to almost 127 different consoles from years past. There are two versions of RetroArch, with the standard version designed and optimized for 32-bit devices, while RetroArch Plus is developed specifically for 64-bit devices.
The application is open-source and based on the popular Libretro interface, offering very good functionality. While the Android version’s design might have a bit of a learning curve, once you get it all figured out, there’s a lot to like. Plus, aside from playing your favorite Game Boy games, you’ll be able to use a single app to dive into other consoles from years gone by.
Play anything and everything
RetroArch is one of those emulators that let you play games from a multitude of consoles. And just because it doesn’t have the best user interface, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
If you take RetroArch and give it a better UI without losing too much functionality, you end up with Lemuroid. The app is relatively new to the Play Store, but is based on the same framework as RetroArch, which makes it a great alternative. Lemuroid also makes it easy to pair one of the best game controllers to use with Android emulators, so you don’t have to use onscreen controls.
You will be able to play your favorite classic Game Boy ROMs, as well as other select consoles. Lemuroid can be configured to automatically save and restore your game states, while supporting local multiplayer and more. All of this is done without hiding the features behind an in-app purchase or throwing you a bunch of ads.
Forget the ads
Completely free to play and enjoy
While RetroArch arrived first in the Play Store, Lemuroid is here to provide a nicer user interface. The app makes it easy to locate your ROMs and games, as well as customize onscreen controls.
My boy! Emulators (GBA / GBC)
Just like we saw with Pizza Boy, the My Boy! The emulator series is only available for those who want to play Game Boy Color or Game Boy Advance games. There are free versions available for each app, as well as paid versions that unlock a few extra features and remove ads from free apps.
The only problem with My Boy! The emulators is that they have not been actively developed for a few years. We didn’t run into any issues with the ROMs we used with the emulators, but don’t expect such an elaborate interface or experience as the others on this list.
Still works great
My boy! GBA emulators
A classic choice for classics
The My Boy! Emulators have been around for years, but they haven’t been actively updated for some time either. Either way, these two still work pretty well, although you might want to stick with the free versions.