If you haven’t explored your Android phone that well, you may not know about its feature thatallows you to play Game Boy Advance games on your mobile. Given a little background and a few good downloads, you can enjoy Mario Kart, Fire Emblem or Pokemon even without a console for as long as you have your phone.
We searched the web for worthy games, used Google Play, and experimented with some GBA emulators. After trying out various emulators and trial games with Advance Wars, we settled on using GBAoid for our Android phone.
GBAoid was chosen because it is for free. Though we could have gotten the same features from Visual Boy Advance, we withdrew from it because of the £2.99 fee. GBAoid has adjustable controls, cheats, top-notch performance list, and fast forward features to avoid watching all those cutscenes.
Take note, Pocket Gamer does not approve of piracy and wrote this guide for the entertainment of the readers. We would also like to remind you that you are the one solely responsible for your phone whatever happens to it after performing this guide.
Step1. GBAoid cannot be found through Google Play so you have to prepare your Android phone to accept applications that come from other sources, as pictured below.
Step 2: Download the emulator. Through this link, you can get the APK file. It can be downloaded to your PC first then transferred to the Android phone or it can be directly saved to your phone, whichever is convenient for you to do.
If you first save it onto your computer, connect your phone to the PC using a USB cable and find the SD card folder on “My Computer” if you’re using Windows or “Devices” if you are on OS X. Unzip the file and save the APK file in the SD card.
Look for the GBAoid APK file on your Android phone with the help of a file manager application. Click on “Install” to start the installation process.
If you have downloaded the emulator to your phone, use a ZIP file manager, such as the AndroZip app, to unzip the APK file for installation.
Step 3: Grab the emulator’s BIOS file. This can protect the developer and you from any legal issues with Nintendo, which owns the copyright to the file. You have to search for it, download, and install the file by yourself.
To protect ourselves, we cannot pinpoint the exact source of the file. Just trust Google and type in “gba_bios.bin” to find the file yourself.
You have the option to save the file onto the Android device or download it to the PC first before saving it onto the phone. After GBAoid finishes loading, you will be prompted to look for the BIOS file. Click on “Browse” and then the file that comes out of your search.
Step 4: At this stage, we are almost done with the process of being able to play the game. This is why you have to look for games’ ROMs now. Again, you need to use the Internet for this search, but you can do it using your phone or computer. And just like last time, we cannot give you the exact website of the files.
Save the “.GBA” file in your SD card, or specifically create a new folder labelled as “GBA ROMS” on your microSD card. Click on the emulator file again, look for the ROM and click on it. If you did this right, you would know so because the game will come on just like that.
Use the virtual buttons on your phone as your controls, or click on ‘Menu” then “input settings” to use the Xperia Play’s controls or the phone’s gamepad.