Visual Boy Advance

Useful freeware for emulating Gameboy titles onto a PC

7.0

294 Votes

  • Category Emulators
  • License Free (gpl)
  • Version 2.1.2
  • Size 674.58 kB
  • Works under Windows 8.1 / Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP / Windows 2000
  • Language English
  • Program by Visual Boy Advance

Visual Boy Advance (sometimes stylized VisualBoyAdvance) is a fully-featured Game Boy Advance emulator.

With its first release in 2004, one might think that Visual Boy Advance is a poor choice of emulator these days. Nothing could be further from the truth: in fact, Visual Boy Advance was a nearly-perfect emulator at its time of release, in the early 2000s when Game Boy Advance titles were still being released, and it's hardly worse now. In fact, most of its alternatives are more recent versions by other developers, "forked" from the original Visual Boy Advance!

Visual Boy Advance is highly compatible with almost every commercially-released Game Boy game, from Nintendo's own titles to various RPGs. In fact, because many Super Nintendo games were eventually re-released from the Game Boy Advance, VBA is perfect for playing those titles, too. And for those looking to revisit their childhood or simply visit a simpler time, Visual Boy Advance also perfectly emulates Game Boy Colour and Game Boy games.

Additionally, although Visual Boy Advance provides plenty of options for users who need them (such as window size scaling), the default options – even the controls – work very well!

However, not all is well. Even though the program's functions all stand up to this day, programming as a whole has moved on, and Visual Boy Advance is not perfectly compatible with modern operating systems. Without changing the method Visual Boy Advance uses to render graphics (in the top menu bar), for example, playing a game in VBA temporarily disables Windows Aero – the slick-looking graphical function that's been in every Windows from Vista and onward!

Aside from this smaller problem, a few other bugs can crop up just in casual use of the program. For example, when you change Windows, the game may sometimes continue running in spite of your settings in VBA. This can lead to the music continuing to play, for example, and it can even cause you to lose games that demand fast reflexes. While these blemishes are not major, they are still a noteworthy part of using Visual Boy Advance on a modern computer.

Overall, Visual Boy Advance is a fully functional emulator on its own, regardless of the variants on it that exist to improve it in the modern world. It is extremely likely to be compatible with any game that you want to play, and likely to play it very well, too. It is an easy emulator to use, and for people who grew up with older Game Boy or Game Boy Colour games, it may even be a household name. If you are looking for a new game to play, Visual Boy Advance may be the "game" for you – because it acts as a gateway to three vast libraries of fun, easy to pick up video games!

Pros

  • Fast and responsive
  • Intuitive and functional default controls and settings
  • Runs all sorts of GBA, GBC and even Game Boy games from the 90s

Cons

  • Occasional bugs
  • Some difficulties with gamepad/hardware support, due to age
Alternatives to Visual Boy Advance
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