How to Play GameBoy Advance Games on Linux Using Emulators and BIOS

The Gameboy Advance (GBA) by Nintendo was a handheld video game console that was highly acclaimed in the early 2000s worldwide. It gave gamers classic game titles but it was discontinued in 2010. Regardless, fans can still enjoy GBA games today across multiple devices and different operating systems. The solution is to emulate the games. In this article we help you make out how you can play classic GBA games on Linux.

What you Need

For emulation, you will need to have a GBA emulator and GBA ROMs. A GBA emulator is a software program that mimics the GBA console while the GBA ROMs are copies of GBA games that contain game data.Emulators are available online from different websites. All you have to do is search.

When it comes to emulating GBA ROMS, several emulator options for Linux are available. However, we will guide you with two of the best; mGBA and VisualBoy Advance.

How to go about it

1.Download and install your emulator

To download and install VisualBoy Advance and mGBA on Linux, you need to use detailed instructions as per your OS Distribution.Both emulators can be sourced online with a simple name search. mGBA is available as a standalone program.

It is always essential that you select the latest version of the emulator for download. The named emulators are available as zipped files; hence you will need to unpack their archives for installation. You can unzip using an unzipping program like 7zip. The archives are easier to deal with than the installers since everything is packed there. After downloading the emulator of choice, create a directory for it then Extract the archive into a folder.

2. The BIOS File

You require the GBA BIOS to emulate GBA games.A BIOS file is a replica of the OS of the system you want to emulate. Gameboy BIOS emulators will mostly come withthe default GBA_BIOS.bin file so you do not need an external BIOS dump file.BIOS files are downloadable from the web for emulators that don’t have default BIOS files.

3.Obtaining the GBA ROMs

Is mentioned, emulating a game requires an emulator and a ROM file. You therefore need to download GBA ROM files. You can download high quality GBA ROMs from Romspedia for a seamless play. Once you have downloaded Gameboy ROM files, it is better to put them in one folder. Having them in a dedicated folder makes loading easier. This is, however, optional.

 4.Settings and Configurations

From the “Settings” of your emulator, you can make the adjustments of your choice. You can select and configure the Controller settings to suit your needs. You can also map the controls to use a keyboard, mouse, DualShock,or gamepad. For mGBAgo to “Tools” then “Settings.” For VisualBoy Advance, you can change settings from the “Options” menu.

When using the VisualBoy Advance emulator, Gameboy games may not feel comfortable when using the keyboard.Other controller options are better.

Most Gameboy games have small resolutions. However, you can tweak that from the display and graphics settings of the emulator.

5.Loading the GBA ROMs for Play

The mGBA emulator plays files in an archive format. Therefore, if you have ROM files that are zipped but you do not want to unzip them all, you will need to go to “File” then select “Load ROM in archive.” If your ROM files are unzipped, you can simply select “Load ROM” or you can click on “Add folder to library.” Once you specify these details, you can select your game and mGBA will load it.

To play using Visualboy Advance go to “File” then select “Open.” From there, use the file browser to find and select the GBA ROM file to load.From “File” click “Open Gameboy.” The emulator should link you to the actual location of your file. There, you can select the game you want to play.

 6.Saving Your Game

These emulators come with saving options but you can always save manually. For both emulators, selecting “File” followed by “Save State” or ‘Load State” allows you to save a current game and load a previous one, respectively. MGBA supports 9 save states for every game. The save states save the game and time therefore, after stopping, you can load the game later.

Final Thoughts

You can enjoy GBA Advance games today on your Linux machine by emulating the games. You only need to get your hands on a compatible emulator and download the ROM files you want to play. We have provided you with two of the best GBA emulators that will function seamlessly with Linux. They both have user friendly menus for easy navigation. With the guide, you should be able to enjoy your favorite GBA games.