Game Boy/Game Boy Color emulators

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Revision as of 07:10, 19 October 2015 by (talk) (Although I don't think it would work in recent Linux distros, TGB Dual does have Linux port using SDL)
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The Gameboy handheld console

The Game Boy is an 8-bit, 4th generation handheld console released by Nintendo in 1989. It had a monochrome display. Its successor, the Game Boy Color (GBC), was released in 1998. Unlike the original, it features a color screen.


Name Operating System(s) Latest Version GB/GBC Game Link Support Libretro Core Recommended
BGB Windows 1.5.1
BizHawk Windows 2.3.2
Gambatte Multi-platform 0.5.0
GBE+ Windows, Linux 1.0
higan Windows, Linux, OS X 0.94
KiGB Windows, Linux, OS X v2.05
MAME Multi-platform 0.216b ?
Visual Boy Advance-M (VBA-M) Multi-platform SVN ✗*1
TGB Dual Windows, Linux*2 v8, SDL

*1: VBA-M libretro core does exist, but it only emulates GBA.

*2: As SDL port (libretro version is based on this version)

Name Operating System(s) Latest Version GB/GBC Game Link Support Libretro Core Recommended
GameYob Nintendo DS Git ✓ (NiFi)
Visual Boy Advance-M (VBA-M) Wii, Gamecube r1231 ✓ (as VBA-Next)
MasterBoy PlayStation Portable 2.10
GeMP PlayStation Portable 3.3 Final
RIN PlayStation Portable 1.32
Virtual Console Nintendo 3DS 8.10


  • BGB also has excellent Game Boy and Game Boy Color accuracy, as well as near flawless link support. It has a wealth of options for color palettes and even enabling Super Gameboy colors and borders, though it doesn't emulate all of its functions. Because of that, if you're looking for highest compatibility you should get both Gambatte and BGB so you can switch between them when needed.
  • Gambatte is hands-down the most accurate Game Boy Color emulator. It has a good range of options, though not quite as much as some other emulators.
  • GameYob (on the DS) is the best GB/GBC emulator for that platform.
  • GB Enhanced is a fairly new emulator that can load custom tiles in games, including colorized tiles for GameBoy games.
  • GeMP has some incompatibilities with later PSP models. GeMP is incompatible with GameCategories folders.
  • higan is the only emulator that properly emulates all of the Super Game Boy's features, though the quality of its Game Boy emulation is inferior to that of other emulators, unless one hunts down an older version of bsnes, which used the Gambatte core for its Super Game Boy functionality. The last version of bsnes to use Gambatte as its SGB core is version 0.73.
  • RIN has some incompatibilities with later PSP models.
  • Visual Boy Advance-M (VBA-M) emulates GB/GBC games as they appear on a GBA. This causes games to look unusually bright and saturated.
  • TGB Dual is an ancient emulator that supports link cable emulation. It supports Netplay though it requires VPN. libretro port supports local multiplayer using player 2's controls.

Emulator issues

Comparison of saturation levels in VBA-M and Gambatte.


Emulators tend to over-saturate the colors that would have been seen on the GBC's screen. This can be fixed with emulator options.

Tilt Sensor

Used only in Kirby Tilt'n Tumble as part of the cartridge, and actually required to play it. Existing patches to be applied on the game make only the intro playable, with no way to actually control Kirby (like in other similar GBA games) so such patches are not recommended. While VBA and KiGB have a "Motion Sensor" option to map four directional keys to emulate the cartridge tilting, BGB can emulate the tilting features with the use of the mouse.

Gameboy Camera

The Game Boy Camera, is an official Nintendo accessory for the handheld Game Boy gaming console and was released on 17 September 1998 in Japan, which ceased manufacture in late 2002. Unfortunaly the game boy camera is not yet emulated, however some efforts to run the Gameboy Camera ROM in bgb have been made.