There’s a wide number of the best Gameboy Color emulators out there, but trying to filter out the bad from the good is like trying to complete Pokemon Red without taking a hit.
Playing the best Gameboy Color games on your PC, Mac or Android is a super power than many of us want, and it’s obtainable by using some incredible software made by the community.
Many of you may think that using emulators is a little shady, but we can assure you it’s not. Downloading emulators is the legal part. The iilegal part is downloading ROMs that you do not own.
The way to get around this is by only using ROMs of games that you physically own or have the rights to. I know, it’s awkward, but it’s the only legal work around, we do not advise downloading ROMs of games you do not own.
We could talk for hours about this subject and how keeping old games away from those that want to play them is damaging the retro games industry, but Nintendo, SEGA and others don’t want to work on it because it doesn’t make them money.
So, let’s jump in and take a look at the best Gameboy Color emulators for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and even the best retro handhelds!
1. TGB Dual
TGB Dual is a Gameboy Color emulator for Windows and although it’s fairly old it’s still a great piece of kit. You’ll notice that many of these emulators are “old” and that’s because the people behind them aren’t paid to update them, so they at times often go months/years without updates.
TGB Dual can emulate original Gameboy games and Gameboy color games, but what’s special about this emulator is that it can run two games at once.
Yep, that’s right, it’s possible to trade Pokemon with yourself using this emulator, in order to complete your Pokedex on Red and Gold etc.
Not only that, you can set up controls to allow two players to play on each of the dual screens individually. Hook up a controller, and boom, you’ve got yourself two emulators, and two people playing two different games on the go, how cool!
If your friend is TGB running on their computer, you can wirelessly battle and play together over WiFi, making it feel like you’re playing Pokemon Silver “online”.
All round this is a great emulator, it’s easy to install, has a simple user interface and it’s the only emulator that can play two games at once. You may see some translation issues as originally it was a Japanese launch only, but an update allowed translation to English allowing us western folk to download it.
MyOldBoy is one of the oldest and best Gameboy Color emulators on the market, we’ve been using it for years and not only does it come with a free version it also supports link cable emulation meaning you can trade or battle with friends.
Many people say its a very basic looking emulator and we’ll agree, but that’s for good reason, it tries to use as much black space as possible in order to save your smartphone’s battery.
You can show the controls on screen, make them smaller, change location and even hide them completely if you become an absolute Gameboy Color addict.
It also works with GameGenie, and GameShark cheat codes, making it feel incredibly nostalgic, it’s as if the team behind it has thought of everything.
The free version doesn’t come with auto save, so you have to remember to save where you are before shutting down the app, however the paid app which is only $3.49 has auto save, so you’ll never lose your progress.
Overall, it’s one of the most trusted GBC emulators for Android, and with over 64,000 reviews, that should say it all.
Why these emulators have weird names we’re not to sure, but another one of the best Gameboy Color emulators is KIGB.
It’s one of the most accurate emulators on the market and works with Windows, Linux, MS-DOS and they’ve even made a Mac OS port too. Two guys are behind this project, and they’ve done an incredible job by keeping it updated and listening to the community frequently.
KIGB can emulate Gameboy, Gameboy Color and Super Gameboy, making it one of the best Gameboy emulators around.
It can also play most 2-player games over a TCP/IP network which is rare as most emulators only allow 2P on the same device/PC. It also supports Gameboy Camera and Gameboy printer ROMs too.
You can save state, load states, change palletes, map keys the whole shebang, it’s an incredibly reliable emulator and one that you’ll install knowing you don’t have to go searching for a better one anytime soon.
4. Retro Arch
If you’ve seen our reviews of the RG351V, the RG351M and even the upcoming RGB10 Max, you’ll be aware of Retro Arch. It’s a emulator that has the ability to load cores which are other emulators, so think of it as an emulator that can play other emulators making it the ultimate piece of software for games.
Retro Arch works on most operating systems and does require some knowledge regarding installing emulators, a lot of messing aroind with key mappings and constant changes of settings.
But once you have figured out which settings work best with your hardware the Retro Arch emulator is the most powerful Gameboy Color emulator out there.
Just using it for GBC games is a bit pointless, it’s that piece of kit you download to deal with all of your retro gaming needs, many are still working on it to emulate the best Xbox 360 games, but that won’t be happening for a long while yet.
Just imagine that, having one of the best Xbox 360 emulators on your PC or potentially in your pocket? We can’t wait!
If you’re looking for an all-round great emulator that is constantly updating and working with an expanded core library, this is the one to go for, you won’t be dissapointed.
5. VisualBoy Advance
VisualBoy Advance is an open source Gameboy emulator that works on Windows PC’s. Open-source simply means its open to the public to work on, so most of the time when bugs appear they get sorted fairly quickly.
Many retro gamers appreciate open-source emulators because it saves them money, and it supports the “open” nature of emulating old games instead of paying a company who is using this grey area for profit.
Until Nintendo and others start legally selling ROMs themselves, there’s nothing we can do apart from use the ROM’s from they physical games we own, but that’s an article in itself.
VisualBoy Advance is reliable, easy to use and very noob friendly, you can save your games, load them, map your keys, playing GBC and GBA plus add those old school cheats that your remember.
There’s a few that are better than this is many ways, but it’s always good to have an emulator on stand by should something happen to the others on the list.
So, there you have it, a look at our best Gameboy Color emulators that we have used and tested over the years. We do recommend taking a look at modding your own Gameboy Color, it’s a lot of fun, and is very simple to do! Or you can just wait for the Analogue Pocket or snag a Hyperkin Retron Sq instead.
A 29 year old fella that’s had a Gameboy addiction ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and created a YouTube channel with 240,000 subscribers dedicated to retro gaming products. He now wants to create the No.1 site to showcase the latest retro products from around the globe.