Virtual GameBoy Advance
- GameBoy and GameBoy Advance are registered trademarks of Nintendo.
- The author is in no way affiliated with Nintendo.
- The author is in no way affiliated with any pirate group out there.
- The author cannot and will not provide you with
any GameBoy or GameBoy Advance games.
- The author cannot be held responsible for anything this program
will do to your computer, brains, free time, housemates, pets, or
New in This Version
- Fixed rotated backgrounds bug (scenery in Top Gear Rally, etc).
- Fixed default window position to the middle of the screen in VGBA-Windows.
- Fixed DirectInput joysticks support in VGBA-Windows.
- Made directional pads work on XBox gamepads.
Virtual GameBoy Advance (VGBA) emulates Nintendo's GameBoy
Advance handheld videogame console. VGBA can run most commercial GameBoy
Advance software on a desktop, palmtop, or any sufficiently fast computing
device. It will also run correctly written homebrewn software. You
can always get the latest version of VGBA at
VGBA is a logical continuation of my previous work in videogame
emulation, namely, the
Virtual GameBoy (VGB).
VGB emulates GameBoy Classic, GameBoy Pocket, Super GameBoy, and
GameBoy Color. VGBA is a completely different program though. It will
not run the original GameBoy software, so you will have to use VGB for
Because VGBA is a very portable program, it can be compiled on many
different platforms: Windows, Unix, Linux, Android, MacOS, MSDOS, etc.
The complete up-to-date list of VGBA ports can be found at the VGBA
homepage. Following are just the major VGBA ports:
The Android version of VGBA are available from Google Play:
Once you download a copy, you should be able to use it on as many Android
devices as you own, as long as they are all linked to the same Google Play
account. Make sure to enable automatic updates, as VGBA-Android updates
often. The Android version comes with many additional features, such as
Cheatopedia with cheat codes for many popular games, State
Exchange letting VGBA users exchange saved games, the Box Art
Downloader, improved Network Play functionality, and more.
The VGBA-Windows is now free for everyone to use and share. It can be
downloaded from the VGBA homepage:
For more information, take a look at my other products for Windows:
As I have made VGBA-Windows free, it is no being sold via eSellerate.
Existing users should go to the above site and download a fresh copy.
If you wish to support my work on VGBA-Windows and other emulators,
please consider buying
VGBA-Unix and VGBA-Linux
VGBA-Unix and VGBA-Linux are available freely in binary form from the VGBA
I am always trying to compile it on as many different Unix and Linux
flavors as I have handy at the moment.
VGBA-Maemo and VGBA-Meego
The VGBA-Maemo works on Nokia devices running Maemo or Meego OS. It is
specifically optimized for Maemo platform and available for free from
respective package repositories and VGBA homepage. As both Maemo and
Meego platforms are dead, I am no longer developing for them though.
I am no longer developing and supporting VGBA-MSDOS, as the MSDOS platform
is completely dead nowadays. Older VGBA-MSDOS versions were sold as part
of the VGBA-Windows package (now free) and
used DOS4GW extender and VESA screen drivers on MSDOS
and Windows platforms.
The VGBA-Symbian port ran on phones running the 3rd Edition of the Nokia
S60 software. It is no longer being developed and supported, as Symbian
and all its development tools are dead. You can still access some of my
Symbian products at this address though:
The PocketPC version of VGBA has long been developed by Aaron Oneal. As
PocketPC is long dead though, VGBA-PocketPC is dead as well. You can still
get older PocketPC versions of VGBA and my other emulators from
What is Included
This version of VGBA has emulation for the following:
- ARM7TDMI CPU with ARM and THUMB opcode sets.
- Internal RAM at addresses
0x03000000 (32kB) and
- Cartridge ROM at address
0x08000000, mirrored at
- Cartridge RAM at address
- Cartridge FlashROM (JEDEC) at address
- Cartridge serial EEPROM at address
- Interrupts: VBlank, HBlank, line coincidence, timers, DMA, joypad.
- Timers: TIMER0, TIMER1, TIMER2, TIMER3.
- DMA channels: DMA0, DMA1, DMA2, DMA3.
- DMA modes (instantaneous, HBlank, VBlank, HRefresh) and repeat feature.
- Joypad buttons and interrupts.
- GameBoy-compatible melodic sound chip with GBA extensions.
- Two channels of GBA-specific "direct" sound.
- DMA timings are not correct. DMA happens "instantly".
- CPU timings are close but not entirely correct. VGBA considers all
memory accesses as "sequential". There are some other discrepancies
as well, but overally, it should be pretty close.
Here is a list of emulated features:
|Feature ||Text BGs||Rotation BGs||MODE 3||MODE 4||MODE 5||Sprites
|Variable Size ||YES ||YES ||N/A ||N/A ||N/A ||YES
|Tile Flipping ||YES ||N/A ||N/A ||N/A ||N/A ||YES
|16/256-Color Tiles||YES ||N/A ||N/A ||N/A ||N/A ||YES
|Scrolling ||YES ||N/A ||N/A ||N/A ||N/A ||N/A
|Mosaic ||YES ||YES ||YES ||YES ||YES ||rotated sprites only
|Rotation ||N/A ||YES ||YES ||YES ||YES ||YES
|Window ||YES ||YES ||YES ||YES ||YES ||YES
|Color Effects ||YES ||YES ||YES ||YES ||YES ||YES
Including the real Nintendo BIOS with the emulator would be a copyright
violation. Therefore, I have tried to simulate GBA BIOS routines
by trapping and handling ARM
SWI opcodes. GBA BIOS is now
fully emulated except for the built-in music player and some networking
routines. Here is the list of supported BIOS calls:
|Function ||SWI # ||Supported
|BIOS_SoftReset ||0x00 ||Yes
|BIOS_RegisterRAMReset ||0x01 ||Yes
|BIOS_Halt ||0x02 ||Yes
|BIOS_Stop ||0x03 ||Yes
|BIOS_IntrWait ||0x04 ||Yes
|BIOS_VBlankIntrWait ||0x05 ||Yes
|BIOS_Div ||0x06 ||Yes
|BIOS_DivARM ||0x07 ||Yes
|BIOS_Sqrt ||0x08 ||Yes
|BIOS_ArcTan ||0x09 ||Yes
|BIOS_ArcTan2 ||0x0A ||Yes
|BIOS_CPUSet ||0x0B ||Yes
|BIOS_CPUFastSet ||0x0C ||Yes
|BIOS_BIOSChecksum ||0x0D ||Yes
|BIOS_BgAffineSet ||0x0E ||Yes
|BIOS_ObjAffineSet ||0x0F ||Yes
|BIOS_BitUnPack ||0x10 ||Yes
|BIOS_LZ77UnCompWRAM ||0x11 ||Yes
|BIOS_LZ77UnCompVRAM ||0x12 ||Yes
|BIOS_HuffUnComp ||0x13 ||Yes
|BIOS_RLUnCompWRAM ||0x14 ||Yes
|BIOS_RLUnCompVRAM ||0x15 ||Yes
|BIOS_Diff8bitUnFilterWRAM ||0x16 ||Yes
|BIOS_Diff8bitUnFilterVRAM ||0x17 ||Yes
|BIOS_Diff16bitUnFilter ||0x18 ||Yes
|BIOS_SoundBiasChange ||0x19 ||No
|BIOS_SoundDriverInit ||0x1A ||No
|BIOS_SoundDriverMode ||0x1B ||No
|BIOS_SoundDriverMain ||0x1C ||No
|BIOS_SoundDriverVSync ||0x1D ||No
|BIOS_SoundChannelClear ||0x1E ||No
|BIOS_MIDIKey2Freq ||0x1F ||No
|BIOS_MusicPlayerOpen ||0x20 ||No
|BIOS_MusicPlayerStart ||0x21 ||No
|BIOS_MusicPlayerStop ||0x22 ||No
|BIOS_MusicPlayerContinue ||0x23 ||No
|BIOS_MusicPlayerFadeOut ||0x24 ||No
|BIOS_MultiBoot ||0x25 ||No
|BIOS_HardReset ||0x26 ||No
|BIOS_CustomHalt ||0x27 ||No
|BIOS_SoundDriverVSyncOff ||0x28 ||No
|BIOS_SoundDriverVSyncOn ||0x29 ||No
|BIOS_GetJumpList ||0x2A ||Yes
What is not Included
Absolutely no ROM images of commercial GameBoy Advance games are included.
These games are copyrighted by the companies which produced them, and
therefore, I cannot distribute any of these games. I'm also unable to tell
you where to find the games, so do not send me email asking for them. You
will have to look for them on your own.
It may also be a good idea to buy a real cartridge for each GameBoy
Advance ROM image you use with the emulator. Owning a real, physical
cartridge is the right thing to do, both legally and ethically.
The VGBA web page contains some links to GameBoy Advance cartridge copier
info. Cartridge copiers can be used to dump GameBoy Advance cartridges
into files. I cannot provide you with any additional information about
these copiers, so do not send me email asking for this information. Use
the copier-related links at the VGBA web page.
GameBoy Advance has a BIOS ROM inside with some useful subroutines.
Including the real Nintendo BIOS with the emulator would be clearly illegal.
Instead, VGBA tries to simulate GBA BIOS routines. It still has an option
to use the real BIOS supplied from the
GBA.ROM file in the
current directory. I cannot tell you where to find the real BIOS, so do
not ask me about it. The current BIOS simulation is quite functional. It
also runs faster than the real BIOS would on the emulator.
These button assignments apply to all three VGBA ports developed by myself.
They will work in Windows, Unix, and MSDOS.
[SPACE] - FIRE-A button (also: [SHIFT],A,S,D,F,G,H,J,K,L)
[CONTROL] - FIRE-B button (also: Z,X,C,V,B,N,M)
[Q] - FIRE-L button (also: E,T,U,O)
[W] - FIRE-R button (also: R,Y,I,P)
[TAB] - SELECT button
[ENTER] - START button
[ESC] - Quit emulation (also: [F12])
[F2] - Turn soundtrack logging on/off
[F3] - Turn FIRE-A button autofire on/off
[ALT]+[F3] - Turn FIRE-L button autofire on/off
[F4] - Turn FIRE-B button autofire on/off
[ALT]+[F4] - Turn FIRE-R button autofire on/off
[F5] - Invoke built-in menu
[F6] - Load emulation state from .STA file
[F7] - Save emulation state to .STA file
[F8] - Replay last few seconds of gameplay
[F9] - Fast-forward emulation (also: [PGUP])
[F11] - Reset GBA hardware
[F12] - Quit emulation (also: [ESC])
[PGUP] - Fast-forward emulation (also: [F9])
[PGDOWN] - Toggle GameShark cheats
- - Turn backgrounds display on/off
 - Turn sprites display on/off
[-] - Descrease light level (Boktai)
[=] - Increase light level (Boktai)
With #define DEBUG:
[F1] - Go into the built-in debugger
With #define SOUND:
[ALT]+[PGUP] - Increase audio volume
[ALT]+[PGDOWN] - Decrease audio volume
 - Turn all sound on/off
- - Turn melodic sound channels on/off
[,] - Turn direct sound channels on/off
With #define WINDOWS:
[ALT]+[ENTER] - Switch between full scren and window modes
Command Line Options
Start VGBA with the following command line:
vgba [-option1 [-option2...]] [FILENAME.GBA]
When no cartridge name is given, VGBA will print the list of keyboard
assignments and available command line options. Following is a list of
options supported in VGBA-MSDOS and VGBA-Unix. VGBA-Windows only accepts
the cartridge name.
-skip <percent> - Percentage of frames to skip 
-verbose <level> - Select debugging messages 
0 - Silent 1 - Startup messages
2 - I/O accesses 4 - Illegal memory accesses
8 - DMA transfers 16 - Illegal CPU ops
32 - SWI calls 64 - FlashROM/EEEPROM/RTC
128 - Sound messages
-crc/-nocrc - Check cartridge CRC/CMP [-crc]
-guesshw/-defaulthw - Guess FlashROM/EEPROM ID and size [-guesshw]
-flashid <id> - Set FlashROM maker/device ID [D4BFh]
-flash <bits> - Set FlashROM size, ≥16 bits 
-eeprom <bits> - Set EEPROM size, 6..16 bits 
-tilt/-rtc - Emulate tilt sensor or real time clock chip [-rtc]
-gs0/-gs1/-gs3 - GameShark cheats encryption: none/v1/v3 [-gs3]
-logsnd <filename> - Write soundtrack to a MIDI file [LOG.MID]
-ds <method> - Sound rendering method 
0 - Off 1 - Automatic
2 - Accurate 3 - Fast
With #define SOUND:
-sound [<quality>] - Sound emulation quality 
-nosound - Same as '-sound 0'
With #define DEBUG:
-trap <address> - Trap execution when PC reaches address [FFFFFFFFh]
When a keyword 'now' is used in place of the
<address>, execution will trap immediately.
With #define MSDOS or UNIX:
-sync <frequency> - Sync screen updates to <frequency> [-nosync]
(<frequency> must be in 20Hz..100Hz range)
-nosync - Do not sync screen updates [-nosync]
-tv/-lcd/-raster - Simulate TV scanlines or LCD raster [off]
-soft/-eagle - Scale display with 2xSaI or EAGLE [off]
-epx/-scale2x - Scale display with EPX or Scale2X [off]
-cmy/-rgb - Simulate CMY/RGB pixel raster [off]
-mono/-sepia - Simulate monochrome or sepia CRT [off]
-green/-amber - Simulate green or amber CRT [off]
-4x3 - Force 4:3 television screen ratio [off]
With #define MSDOS:
-vsync - Sync screen updates to VBlank [-vsync]
With #define UNIX:
-saver/-nosaver - Save CPU when inactive [-saver]
-scale <factor> - Scale window by <factor> 
With #define MITSHM:
-shm/-noshm - Use MIT SHM extensions for X [-shm]
Frequently Asked Questions
- I WANNA PLAY GAMES!!!! WHERE DO I GET GAMES???????
I do not know. I can't give you any due to both legal and moral reasons.
Please, do not mail me asking for games. I will delete your mail right
away, and you won't get an answer.
- Can I play GameBoy Classic and GameBoy Color games on VGBA?
No, you can't. GameBoy Advance hardware is completely different from the
older GameBoy and GameBoy Color models. To play older games, you may
want to consider my other emulator,
Virtual GameBoy (VGB).
- How do I copy games from cartridges to a computer?
You can use a special device called cartridge copier, such as
Flash Advance Linker from
Lik-Sang. Don't forget to
get a rewritable flash card too.
- What is GameBoy Advance? How its hardware works?
GameBoy Advance (GBA) is a handheld videogame machine made by Nintendo. Its
hardware has nothing to do with GameBoy and GameBoy Color handhelds
previously produced by Nintendo. GBA is built around an ARM7TDMI 32bit
CPU running at 16MHz. GBA video subsystem is very similar to that of SNES,
but more advanced. The sound subsystem uses direct sample output. GBA also
includes the four-channel melodic sound chip from the original GameBoy.
In order to be compatible with the original GB/GBC, GBA includes the complete
set of GBC hardware. This hardware (aside from the sound chip) is not
accessible from the GBA side and only used when somebody inserts a GB/GBC
cartridge into GBA.
- There is no version of VGBA for my Unix!
I am trying to compile Unix binaries for as many flavors of Unix as
possible, but as I do not have access to many machines, do not expect
immediate support for every Unix flavor out there. Don't mail me asking
for the source either: VGBA source code is not publicly distrbutable,
as much as I regret to say this :(.
- My favorite game doesn't work on VGBA. What do I do?
There may be several reasons why a game has problems running on VGBA
or does not run at all.
If emulator does not even recognize the ROM image, its CRC or CMP
may be wrong. Try turning CRC checking off by using the
-nocrc option or clearing "Check Cartridge CMP" checkbox
in VGBA-Windows Setup Panel. You really ought to find an uncorrupted
ROM image though.
The game may be using a different EEPROM type. EEPROM is a little
chip that sits on a cartridge and stores save-games. Some GBA games
use 64x64bit EEPROMs (
-eeprom 6) while others use
16384x64bit EEPROMs (
-eeprom 14). In VGBA-Windows, you
can simply select the EEPROM type from the Setup Panel.
If some sprites blink or do not appear at all, try changing
-skip value (0 will give you the best picture, but
the slowest emulation), or moving an "Skip Frames" knob in the
VGBA-Windows Setup Panel.
VGBA may not currently run this game. Not all games are supported at
this moment. Don't expect 100% compatibility with the real hardware.
At least, not yet :).
- Direct sound sounds really bad!
-ds command line option (or corresponding options in the
VGBA-Windows Setup Panel) to choose the way VGBA renders direct sound. In
Windows, you should also try changing volume, sound rate, and the number
of sound buffers. If this doesn't help, you may be out of luck. Hopefully,
sound emulation becomes better in the upcoming versions.
- Why is VGBA so slow on my machine?
Because your machine is too slow to run VGBA. My experience shows that
you need at least a PentiumII/400 machine with fast video to run VGBA
at a reasonable speed. Following are the ways to speed things up:
- Increase Update Period. The picture will get more jerky, but VGBA
will become faster.
- On Unix, always use MIT Shared Memory Extension for X (MITSHM). This,
of course, means that you have to run VGB locally.
- On Windows and Unix, use 1:1 window to achieve the highest speed.
- On Windows, use MIDI sound, as wave synthesis takes quite a lot of
- VGBA is too fast on my machine! How do I slow it down?
Frankly, when I started writing VGBA, I never expected that it will be
too fast on any machine :). But times change...
- On Unix, use
-sync option to tie screen updates to
the certain frequency.
- On Windows, use "Sync To..." option in the Setup Panel to tie
screen updates to a certain frequency.
- Decrease "Skip Frames" (
-skip on Unix) value. The
emulation will become much slower, but smoother.
- On Windows and Unix, double or triple the window size.
- When starting VGBA-Unix, ld says that some library isn't found.
This may happen if the versions of your shared libraries are older than
the ones for which VGBA has been compiled. A decent way to deal with this
is to upgrade your Unix. A quick and dirty way is to make a symbolic link
from the existing library to a name required by VGBA.
- When starting VGBA-Unix, I get X_ShmAttach error.
You are probably trying to run VGBA-Unix on a remote Xterminal while it
attempts to use shared memory for interfacing with X. Use
-noshm option to tell it not to use shared memory.
- When starting VGBA-Unix, I get X_PutImage error.
VGBA-Unix version currently needs 16bit X. Xterminals that do not support
16bit image format will not work.
- The sound is distorted in the VGBA-Windows. How do I fix it?
The wave-synthetized sound in VGBA may become distorted on slow or
highly loaded machines (no graphics acceleration, for example). There are
several ways you can improve sound:
- Use MIDI sound instead. It has both advantages and disadvantages
- Make VGBA window smaller to decrease the load on the CPU. 1:1 is
the optimal size.
- Decrease the sound rate (in Setup Panel). The sound may become tinkier,
but less distorted.
- Increase the number of wave buffers (in Setup Panel). This may
cause sound to fall a second or two behind the screen action, but
the sound quality will become better.
- Does VGBA-Windows support joystick? My joystick doesn't work!
VGBA-Windows supports joystick. If your joystick does not work, go into
Windows Control Panel to see if it is configured and calibrated properly.
Also, some new joysticks working in esoteric standards (like GRiP) are
known to have problems.
- Colors are all screwed up in VGBA-Windows!
VGBA-Windows requires Windows to be in 65536-color or better
color mode. When running Windows in 256-color mode, it will try to
approximate colors to existing ones, but expect results to be dismal.
- Black window in VGBA-Windows!
If you are running Windows in 256-color mode, then this is most likely
the cause of a problem. Try switching Windows into 65536-color or better
- How do I save and load the GBA state during the game?
The GBA state can be saved by pressing [F7] button. The resulting
data file will have the same name as your .GBA file, but its extension is
going to be .STA. You can load state from this file by pressing [F8]
at any point in the game. This state file will also be loaded automatically
next time you start VGBA. The same state file is not guaranteed to work for
versions of VGBA running on a different hardware. State saving is not
perfect yet, so for some games state may not be correctly saved.
New in Version 5.6
- Added multiple monitor support to VGBA-Windows.
- Fixed disappearing window in VGBA-Windows.
- Fixed best full-screen mode detection in VGBA-Windows.
- Fixed window flicker that appeared after recent Win10 updates.
- Switched VGBA-Linux to using PulseAudio sound.
- Updated old PulseAudio driver for 64bit Linux.
New in Version 5.5
- Added support for DirectInput joysticks to VGBA-Windows.
- Moved all input-related options to the "Input" menu in VGBA-Windows.
- Fixed crash when changing audio sampling rate in VGBA-Windows.
- Added "Draw 65% Frames" option to VGBA-Windows.
- Fixed screen updates after changing scaling algorithm in VGBA-Windows.
New in Version 5.4
- Added "Interpolate Video | Nearest Neighbor" option to VGBA-Windows.
- Added "Force 4:3 Screen" option to VGBA-Windows.
-4x3 command line option to VGBA-Unix.
- VGBA-Windows will not overwrite last software file name with other names.
- Fixed file associations on Windows 8+.
- Updated VGBA-Windows application icon.
New in Version 5.3
- Added Scale2X scaling algorithm.
- Added Monochrome, Green, Amber, and Sepia CRT emulation.
-raster command line options.
-amber command line options.
- EMULib-specific command line options now processed inside EMULib.
- Added "Scale2x Algorithm" and "LCD Raster" options on Windows.
- Renamed "Color Raster" menu to "Color Filter" on Windows.
-nolcd command line options.
New in Version 5.2
- Added 14bit EEPROM setting for Aladdin (all versions).
- Disabled FlashROM for all NES Classics games.
- Fixed FlashROM/EEPROM size selection menu in VGBA-Windows.
- Added "Play Sound When Inactive" option to VGBA-Windows.
- Added "Clear File Associations" option to VGBA-Windows.
- Made color raster effects stronger.
New in Version 5.1
- Added EPX and EAGLE scaling algorithms.
- Added special effects simulating individual pixel components.
- Fixed memory corruption bug in the instant replay recorder.
- Fixed instant replay not restoring successive states.
- Fixed instant replay not recording the first state.
- Merged scanline options into "Simulate Scanlines" in VGB-Windows.
- Merged scaling options into "Interpolate Video" in VGB-Windows.
- Added "Apply Color Raster" submenu to VGB-Windows.
- Added "RGB Raster" and "CMY Raster" options to VGB-Windows.
-cmy command line options.
-eagle command line options.
New in Version 5.0
- Now rendering remaining samples when direct sound channel disabled.
- Now playing all rendered samples at the end of a video frame.
- Fixed direct sound with rates close to 22kHz (Super Puzzle Fighter 2).
- Fixed melodic sound when wave sound is off (International Karate).
- Removed "Direct Sound Off" option from built-in menu and VGBA-Windows.
- Added "64kB FlashROM"/"128kB FlashROM" options to VGBA-Windows.
- Made sure "Guess Hardware" does not mess user-selected storage options.
- When guessing hardware, default to 6bit EEPROM, 64kB FlashROM.
New in Version 4.9
- Removed waveform interpolation for more realistic sound.
- Switched VGBA-Windows to Direct3D textures-based rendering.
- Added "Video | Stretch Full Screen" option to VGBA-Windows.
- Added "Hardware | Debugger" option to VGBA-Windows.
-nolcd command line options.
New in Version 4.8
- In VGBA-Windows, both full-screen and windowed modes now use Direct3D.
- Fixed switching between full-screen and windowed modes in VGBA-Windows.
- Ported fixes from VGBA-Android 4.8 to VGBA-Windows.
- Removed .STA files from the "Open File" dialog to avoid confusion.
- Fixed the documentation.
New in Version 4.7
- Fixed corrupted background in Golden Sun battles.
- Fixed hangup and walk-then-roll in Legend Of Zelda: The Minish Cap.
- Greatly improved sound quality, fixing audio in many games.
- Resetting rotation when background priority changes, not size.
- Added large ring buffer to account for audio jitter.
- Added correct legacy noise channel emulation.
- Added configurable random noise generator to EMULib.
- Fixed restoring legacy sound chip state.
- Fixed arithmetic bug in the EMULib audio mixing routine.
- Moved GBA timers emulation into a separate function.
- No longer muffling legacy noise channel (no more need).
- Cleaned audio in Metroid Fusion and Metroid Zero Mission.
- Fixed scratching sounds in Castlevania: Circle Of The Moon title.
- Fixed distortions in Golden Sun and Golden Sun 2 intros.
- Removed debug messages from the BIOS emulation, making things faster.
New in Version 4.6
- Added automated cheat search tool (press [F5] and select "Search cheats").
- Added always-on gameplay recording to VGBA-Unix (press [F8] to replay).
- Added "Save unencrypted" option to built-in menu.
- MULS/MLAS instructions no longer change C/V flags.
- Fixed saving .SAV files in VBA-compatible format on VGBA-Windows.
- Fixed window resizing in VGBA-Unix.
New in Version 4.5
- Improved audio quality.
- Now saving VBA-compatible .SAV files by default.
- Added GameShark cheats emulation (both v1 and v3).
- Added backward compatibility with VBA .SAV files.
- Added week day register to the RTC emulation.
- Added light sensor emulation (Boktai and Boktai 2).
- Added gyro sensor emulation (Warioware Twisted).
- Added tilt sensor emulation (Yoshi Topsy Turvy, etc).
- Fixed RumblePak emulation (Warioware Twisted and Drill Dozer).
- Fixed sprite color blending (Boktai 2 and other games).
- Fixed FlashROM saves in Pokemon and other games.
- No longer generating HBlank and VBlank IRQs at the same time
- No longer allowing ICount to fall too far behind after a DMA
transfer (Lego Racers 2, etc.).
- Fixed rotation parameters initialization in ResetGBA()
(Lego Racers 2, etc.).
- Fixed ResetCPU() to request THUMB-to-ARM switch from the emulation
- Fixed handling of >16MB games by disabling EEPROM at 0x09000000.
- Fixed ArcTan2() BIOS function (Mario and Luigi dyeing minigame).
- Fixed SoftReset() BIOS function, no longer accepting an argument.
- Fixed CPUSet() BIOS function (Galidor and Final Fantasy 6).
- Fixed RegisterRAMReset() BIOS function to unconditionally reset
DISPCONT and BLDCONT VDP registers (Spyro+Crash Fusion).
- Fixed tilt sensor emulation to use separate developer supplied
Tilt() function rather than FIREL/FIRER button bits.
- Added BIOS read protection to ARMonARM emulation (Tetris Worlds,
Onimusha Tactics, Salt Lake City 2002, etc.).
- Fixed ARM V-flag computation after subtraction (Caravan Heart).
- Fixed THUMB PUSH instruction for cases where DMA is initiated with PUSH.
- Fixed MOVLR/BLL instruction sequence in THUMB mode to correctly
perform a call (Mario Golf Advance Tour).
- Fixed LDM/STM instructions accessing stack at misaligned addresses
(Mario Golf Advance Tour).
- Fixed a typo in the SMLAL instruction (Lego Racers 2, etc.).
- Fixed color #0 transparency in VDP MODE4.
-ds command line parameter to take values from 0
("mute") to 3 ("fast").
- Disabling windows with invalid coordinates (fixed Sword Of Mana).
- Resetting rotation when BG size changes (fixed Rayman 3 Swamp Zone).
- Fixed After Burner in Sega Arcade Gallery (by handling illegal reads).
- Fixed playfield and in-game saves in Crazy Taxi (no longer hangs).
- VGBA-Windows, VGBA-MSDOS, and VGBA-Unix now use mouse buttons to
simulate tilt sensor.
- Switched VGBA-Windows to Direct3D in full-screen mode.
- Fixed VGBA-Unix to correctly restore sound when mouse focus returns
to the window.
- Reduced audio latency setting in VGBA-Unix to 50ms.
New in Version 3.6
- Sound quality improved in games that frequently switch sampling
frequency (Star Wars, etc.).
- Now saving melodic sound chip state. State file format changed.
- Added more graceful handling of fail conditions when loading state.
- Fixed LSR/ASR #0 instructions in ARMonARM emulation to act as
LSR/ASR #32, in both THUMB and ARM modes.
- Fixed unaligned memory reads in ARMonARM emulation to work the same
way they do on a real ARM (Pokemon no longer has glitches).
- Fixed STRB/STRH instructions in ARMonARM emulation to clear
unused argument bits before calling BWrARM()/WWrARM().
- Moved state loading to
[F6], L/R button autofire toggles
[ALT]+[F3]/[F4]. This makes VGBA consistent with my
[F8] to toggle scanline simulation effect,
[ALT]+[F8] to toggle image softening.
- Made VGBA-Symbian compatible with the S60 5th Edition found in
Nokia 5800 and upcoming N97.
- VGBA-Maemo now uses x3 magnification when running in full-screen mode.
[F6] keys in VGBA-Unix.
New in Version 3.5
- Ported VGBA to Unix using the new EMULib framework. I will try to
compile the new VGBA-Unix for as many Unix flavors as possible.
At the moment, only Ubuntu Linux binaries are available.
- Ported VGBA to Maemo OS2008 used in N800 and N810 internet tablets
from Nokia. VGBA-Maemo is specifically optimized for internet
tablets using assembler modules from VGBA-Symbian.
-scale option to scale window on Unix.
-soft/-nosoft now work
for MSDOS, Unix, and Maemo.
- Changed VGBA-Maemo touch screen layout to place directional buttons
on the left, fire buttons on the right.
- VGBA-Symbian display routines rewritten in ARM assembler for speed.
This should mainly affect UIQ3 users but S60 users will also benefit.
- Split VGBA-Symbian configuration menu into four tabs, making
"Video" and "Audio" settings separate.
- Added "Audio Latency", "Skip Frames", and "Sync Updates" settings
- Documentation and built-in help changed, many inconsistencies removed.
New in Version 3.4
- Fixed line coincidence bit not being cleared with each new scanline.
This made Treasure Planet dialogs work.
- Fixed inline
WRdARM() function to read from serial EEPROM.
- Fixed a memory corruption bug in the
RegisterRAMReset() routines. Lufia no longer crashes
after a quick-save.
- Moved FlashROM and EEPROM memory allocation to
where it belongs.
- Now preserving debugger breakpoint settings when loading state.
- Now locking keyboard processing when inside built-in configuration
menu or debugger.
- Added GBA-specific debugger view (press [N] in debugger).
- Added new, much better, scanline simulation and video softening
effects to VGBA-Windows.
- VGBA-Windows full-screen mode now runs in 640x480 resolution.
- Now switching sound off when entering built-in menu in VGBA-Windows.
This mainly affects melodic sound mode (i.e. MIDI).
- VGBA-MSDOS now runs in 640x480x15bpp VESA screen mode when
-tv options used, otherwise
it runs in 320x200x15bpp screen mode.
- Added new "Fill & Soften" zoom mode to VGBA-Symbian. It is
rather slow though.
- Added screen orientation and backlight controls to VGBA-Symbian.
- Fixed possible source of instabilities in the S60 open file dialog
- Fixed exit via Symbian-specific menu.
- Fixed premature termination of the emulation thread when exiting
VGBA-Symbian, soundtrack recording and config saving work again.
- VGBA-Symbian signed with a new certificate, as the old one has
New in Version 3.3
- Fixed rotated sprite mask rendering.
- Somewhat optimized rotated sprite rendering.
- Optimized BIOS emulation to use less floating point operations.
- Fixed an LDR/STR display bug in the ARM debugger.
- Added a universal LoadFile() function.
- Rehashed built-in menu options to make them more accessible.
- Further extended and optimized Symbian screen rendering routines.
- Fixed a bug in VGBA-Windows that started MIDI logging on entering
- Finally fixed opendir() problem in EMULib-Symbian. All built-in
menu file dialogs work now!
- VGBA-Symbian application menu is now split into three pages.
- Added configurable button and key mappings to VGBA-Symbian.
- Added "fill screen" zoom option to VGBA-Symbian.
- Added frame rate display option to VGBA-Symbian.
- Added MIDI soundtrack logging to VGBA-Symbian (melodic sound
only, saved into E:\Sounds and can be used as ringtones).
- Fixed and optimized TV scanline simulation in VGBA-Symbian.
- Made scanline effect stronger in VGBA-Symbian.
New in Version 3.2
- Fixed immediate argument handling in MSR opcode.
- Accelerated BX opcode.
- Fixed and improved built-in debugger.
- Added built-in configuration menu ([F5]). FIRE-L autofire switch
has moved to [CONTROL]+[F5].
- Introduced mode bits and the proper ResetGBA() function (state file
format has changed).
- Made VGBA reuse previously allocated memory if the new allocation
fails. This should help VGBA-Symbian on the phones with small memory.
New in Version 3.1
- MSDOS and Windows versions are now based on the new framework.
- Windows version has got a new simplified user interface.
- Windows version now runs faster with larger windows.
- Started adding Nintendo DS emulation (not yet complete).
- Added tilt sensor emulation (use
- Added screen buffer based ARM debugger.
- Replaced "updates per VBlank" (
"percentage of skipped frames" option (
- Further improved audio quality.
New in Version 3.0
- Added a routine that guesses correct FlashROM ID and the FlashROM
or EEPROM size from the cartridge ID. Super Mario Brothers 3 and
Pokemon Sapphire work now. Use
-defaulthw options to switch guessing on and off.
- Added DirectDraw-based full screen mode to VGBA-Windows.
Press [ALT]+[ENTER] to switch in and out of the full screen mode.
Use it with caution, as DirectDraw is notoriously unstable.
- Fixed ARM LDM/STM opcodes to ignore lower two bits of address.
- Fixed ARM MSR opcode to allow setting any of the four areas in
the CPSR and SPSR registers.
- Fixed a bug in the character screen drawing code that could crash
- Finally fixed the time counting bug that caused bad sound distortions
in many games, especially when using the
-ds 1 sound
- Now resetting the line coincidence flag on writes to DISPSTAT to
enable line coincidence interrupts at each scanline (F-Zero 2).
- Changed FastSet() BIOS call to round transfer size to the nearest
multiple of 8 quads (32 bytes) and check source address for bounds.
- Fixed several bugs in the MIDI logging code and the MIDI sound
driver in VGBA-Windows.
- Added fast-forwarding option ([PAGEUP]).
- Added TV raster simulation to VGBA-Windows and VGBA-MSDOS.
- Added VGBA-Windows options to set FlashROM ID and hardware guessing
- Raised the maximal "Sync to..." frequency to 200Hz.
- Window size and position are now saved on exit in VGBA-Windows.
New in Version 2.1
- Save (.SAV) file format has changed due to
addition of >64kB FlashROMs.
- State (.STA) file format has changed due to
addition of RTC and >64kB FlashROMs.
- The old
-flash has been changed to
- The new
-flash sets the number of FlashROM address bits
- Added RTC support (clock in Pokemon series).
- Added support for >64kB FlashROMs (Pokemon series, etc.).
- Added MIDIKey2Freq() to the BIOS emulation (thanks to Aaron Oneal).
- Fixed a bug in the ArcTan2() emulation (Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow).
- Fixed possible memory corruption in EEPROM emulation (Lord Of The Rings).
- VBlank interrupt now occurs with HBlank in line 160 (Robot Wars).
- Now recomputing sprites every time screen mode changes (Ice Age).
- Now setting unused
KEYSTAT bits to zeroes (Defender Of The
- Now updating
C flag when immediate value is rotated
in an ALU operation (Desert Strike).
New in Version 2.0
- Majorly redesigned screen rendering routines, making them faster.
- Added sprite sorting and precomputation to speed things up.
- Fixed window rendering.
- Fixed multiple screen rendering bugs.
- Color effects can now be disabled in WININ/WINOUT registers.
- Alpha blending can now be applied multiple times (Lord Of The Rings).
- Disabled alpha blending for pixels with no second argument (Lord Of
- Added window support to bitmapped screen modes.
- Disabled display of the first 512 sprite patterns in bitmapped
- Changed LDM instructions not to write back base register if it has
just been loaded from memory (Golden Sun 2, Kong, VRally 3, etc.).
- Now setting R12=0x04000000 in VBlankIntrWait() and IntrWait() (Bubble
Bobble Old And New).
- Added QOpARM() and WOpARM() functions for fast opcode fetching.
- Removed data rotation in unaligned 32bit writes (Downforce).
- Modified BIOS decoders that write to VRAM to use words, not bytes.
- Now returning correct "broken" values when program tries to read
BIOS area by bytes and 16bit words.
- Now doubling byte writes to VRAM and palette.
- Now mirroring VRAM as 64kB+2*32kB.
- Now mirroring SRAM, OAM, and palette.
- Removed mirroring of I/O addresses.
- Now waiting for sound thread to die in VGBA-Unix.
New in Version 1.7
- Switched to the latest version of the OpenWatcom C/C++ compiler.
- The infamous Windows problem with spaces in directory names seems
to be fixed by using a newer compiler.
- Joystick problems in VGBA-Windows are fixed.
- Added joystick configuration to VGBA-Windows setup panel.
- Fixed sound in VGBA-Windows on Windows 2000.
New in Version 1.6
- VGBA-MSDOS now comes with the VGBA-Windows!
- Implemented BIOSChecksum() BIOS call (SWI#0D).
- Implemented BitUnpack() BIOS call (SWI#10).
- Implemented GetJumpList() BIOS call (SWI#2A).
- Added a -verbose bit to print sound-related messages.
New in Version 1.5
- Added strict type/source checking to BIOS uncompression routines.
- Fixed direct sound to melodic sound volume ratio.
- Added optional waveforms to melodic (non-PCM) channels.
- Fixed updates to the melodic PCM channel.
- Fixed melodic volume sweep.
- Fixed a bug that broke timers when restoring saved state.
- Fixed a problem with prematurely closed stdin in VGBA-Unix.
New in Version 1.4
- State save (.STA) file format has changed!
- Improved direct sound emulation by tinkering with sound driver API.
- Added BIOS read-protection.
- Added support for different EEPROM sizes (
Some new GBA games use 16384x64 EEPROMs (use
option with these games).
- Fixed disassembler to show LDRH/STRH operations with immediate
- Added support for LDRH/STRH operations with post-indexing and
write-back modes both "on". This is still wrong, folks.
Please, read the ARM7TDMI documentation and modify your assemblers
to generate correct opcodes.
- Now updating timer data registers with current counter values.
- Now clearing OAM and some other registers on reset.
- Now enabling interrupts in VBlankIntrWait() and IntrWait().
- Now ignoring compression type tags in RLUncompress() (Lego Racers 2).
- Fixed LDM/STM opcodes to handle USER mode R13/R14 load/save.
- Fixed mode changes in LDM opcode.
- Fixed DMA debugging message.
- Added more manufacturer IDs to the database.
New in Version 1.3
- Added console-based debugger to the VGBA-Windows, by
- Fixed MULL/SMULL opcode (thanks go to Santeri Paavolainen).
- Added forced VBlank emulation.
- Filled simulated BIOS area with the value that real copy-protected
BIOS returns on reads.
- Fixed EEPROM emulation a little bit.
- Made "channels active" sound register visible to the GBA.
- Added more manufacturer IDs to the database.
- Fixed rollover on the volume control button in VGBA-Windows.
- Fixed command line parsing in VGBA-Windows.
- Now turning off sound when VGBA-Windows dialog boxes get shown.
- VGBA-Windows now always uses .INI file in the same directory as
the .EXE file.
New in Version 1.2
- Implemented direct sound channels.
- Added dual banks for the melodic sound channel #3.
- Added master volume for direct and melodic sound (SOUNDCNT_H).
- Added direct sound DMA interrupts (Pac-Man Collection).
- Added serial I/O interrupts (Golf Master).
- Added Diff8bitUnFilterWRAM(), Diff8bitUnFilterVRAM(), and
Diff16bitUnFilter() BIOS calls.
- Added more manufacturer IDs to the database.
- Disabled DMA restart (sound in Wario World 4, etc.).
- Fixed a bug that screwed up timers after DMA transfers.
- Fixed WRdARM() function and macro handling of unaligned reads.
- Fixed IntrWait() and VBlankIntrWait() BIOS calls (SWI #4,5).
- Fixed long-multiply instructions (Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2).
- Fixed ARM-mode SWIs (Super Black Bass Advance).
- Somewhat changed timings during uncompression BIOS calls.
- Changed simulated BIOS contents a little (Tactics Ogre).
- Set USER mode stack to correct value.
- Now initializing CPU into SYSTEM mode, no other flags.
- Changed default FlashID to a real one (was 0x0000).
- Fixed LDSH/LDSB THUMB mnemonics in the disassembler.
- Added ability to supply FlashID from command line in VGBA-Unix and
- Added GBA-specific calls to the GameBoy sound chip API.
- Changed SetWave() sound API call to use shared buffers, as needed
for direct sound.
- Implemented threaded Unix sound driver.
- Shrunk sound buffer size in the Windows sound driver to 256 bytes
for clearer sound.
- Changed master volume control usage in all sound drivers for more
efficient and correct mixing.
- Updated documentation, fixing some HTML errors.
New in Version 1.1
- Added support for rectangular and sprite windows.
- Added BgAffineSet() BIOS call.
- Added more manufacturer IDs to the database.
- Added support for GZIPped ROM images and state file.
- Improved fast QRdARM() macro to handle unaligned addresses (albeit
- Fixed alpha-blending operation a bit.
- Now saving serial EEPROM contents in the .SAV file, after the FlashROM
- Removed CRC check as it was wrong and did not make any sense.
Only CMP is checked now.
- Fixed sprite priorities relative to background priorities in screen
- Optimized drawing routines for rotated/scaled backgrounds and sprites.
- Now saving EEPROM state in state files (.STA format has changed).
- Fixed joystick support in VGBA-Windows (somewhat).
- Fixed VGBA-Unix to allow window managers (like WindowMaker) create
an application icon for it.
New in Version 1.0
- VGBA-Windows is now available.
Register it NOW!
- VGBA-Unix is now available.
- Added facility to save and load emulation state.
- Added serial EEPROM emulation.
- Implemented more or less accurate CPU cycle counting (still not
accurate enough though).
- Implemented HuffUncomp() call.
- Fixed ObjAffineSet(), CpuSet(), CpuFastSet(), and SoftReset() calls.
- Fixed timers to reload values correctly.
- Majorly updated documentation.
- Fixed background color problem in the non-VESA (256 color) version
New in Version 0.6
- Added JEDEC FlashROM support.
- Added CRC/CMP check. All failing cartridges will now be rejected
unless you use the
- Implemented pending IRQ handling after IRQs were switched on.
- Disabled IRQs in the SVC mode.
- Added ObjAffineSet() BIOS call.
- Added Halt() and Stop() BIOS calls.
- Fixed several BIOS calls.
- Fixed a special case of DMA with the length of 0 items.
- Fixed LDR/STR/LDRB/STRB instruction display in the debugger.
- Improved cartridge information reporting.
- Added a lot of command line options.
- Added a lot of control keys.
New in Version 0.5
- Moved dummy GBA.ROM contents inside the VGBA code.
- Added DMA3 start at the beginning of HRefresh.
- Added 'v' command to the debugger to show GBA status.
- Fixed transparency effects in bitmap modes.
- Fixed transparency with multiple backgrounds.
- Now initializing rotation/scaling properly.
- No longer supporting 128kB flash ROM above the cartridge ROM.
New in Version 0.4
- Added MULL/MLAL ARM opcodes.
- Added color effects to all screen modes.
- Added rotation to all appropriate screen modes.
- Added rotation to sprites.
- Fixed DMA transfers to start correctly.
- Fixed DMA transfers to leave correct values in DMACONT registers.
- Added IRQ at the end of DMA transfer, if required.
- Fixed GB sound chip emulation.
- Added CPUSet() and CPUFastSet() BIOS calls.
- Added RLUnCompWRAM() and RLUnCompVRAM() BIOS calls.
- Now saving cartridge SRAM and flash ROM into a .SAV file.
- Both 16bit color and 8bit color versions are included. 16bit version
requires VESA-compatible video card. I still recommend it over the
8bit version as GBA programs are extremely ugly in 256 colors :)
I would like to thank people from the EFNet #gbadev IRC channel for
their help locating GBA specifications and testing the emulator.
© Copyright by
(marat [AT] komkon /DOT/ org)