Are you looking for the absolute best GBA SP emulators out there? Then you’ve come to the right place!
The Game Boy Advance is one of the most popular in the entire Game Boy lineup.
It offered a significant boost in capabilities for portable gaming as a 32-bit console.
Nintendo even gave gamers two iterations of the Game Boy Advance, offering the “special” model in 2003.
Yes, the “SP” is actually short for “special”. And special, it was.
Besides offering an entirely new form factor, some pretty awesome buttons, and a clamshell design that kept your console safe in a pocket or backpack…
The Game Boy Advance SP was also the first time the western world had a portable Nintendo console with backlight.
Previously, a backlit console was only ever offered in Japan in the Game Boy Light, and Nintendo dropped this feature in their next two portable consoles before making its return.
Needless to say, we covered some of this in our article about All Game Boy Models.
Of course, if you want to emulate the GBA SP, you won’t be worrying about backlights.
You’ll just be focused on the absolutely incredible lineup of games available in the four years of the Game Boy Advance era.
If you need some reminders, check out our list of the Best Gameboy Advance Games.
So how will you be playing those games?
Well if you don’t happen to have a GBA SP laying around and a bunch of original game carts, there’s a handful of awesome options on your computer.
Let’s take a look at some of the best GBA SP emulators available to us in 2023. Cause there’s some pretty awesome ones!
No$GBA is a pretty great Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP emulator for one particular reason: Multi-player.
To take advantage of multi-player options on the Game Boy Advance, you’re gonna need two Game Boy Advance consoles, two copies of the same game, and a networking cable.
So how do you recreate the multi-player experience through emulation?
Just make an emulation program that can create multiple instances of the Game Boy Advance environment… each working independently, but connected.
So if you and a friend wanna get busy on some GBA SP multi-player, you just need one computer, a copy of No$GBA, a game ROM, and a couple controllers!
It’s a genius solution for GBA SP multi-player, and we have to give it credit here on our list of the best GBA SP emulators.
For some ideas for the best multi-player games on GBA SP, take a look here: Best Multiplayer GBA Games Of All Time.
4. GBA Online
For those who are either afraid to download an emulator on their computer, are not able to on their work computer (why you playing games at work anyways?) or just wanna jump into some GBA game play on the go…
GBA Online has you covered!
As the name suggests, GBA Online is an online browser based emulator.
You can upload your own BIOS, ROMs and Save Files directly into their plugin and start playing your favorite GBA SP games in your web browser.
Yes, it does require you to have the BIOS and Rom… but that’s pretty easy to also locate online.
So a quick google search, download some files, load them up… You’ll be rockin’ and rollin’ within minutes.
Not a bad way to enjoy some GBA on a quiet afternoon.
3. VisualBoy Advance
VisualBoyAdvance is a really awesome GBA SP emulator available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and IOS.
VisualBoy advertises perfect emulation performance and support of all Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance ROMs.
This standalone app also comes loaded with a bunch of features like capturing game play, save states, and controller support.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more complete standalone GBA SP emulation solution out there.
mGBA is one of the most popular standalone emulators for the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP.
mGBA was created by a solo programmer, Endrift, and development started way back in April 2013.
And surprisingly, it is an emulator that is still being updated.
The goal of mGBA was to create an emulator that had accurate performance while being as compact and accessible as possible. So even a lower end computer system could run it while giving optimal emulation of the GBA.
They also aim to provide an accurate environment for homebrew developers.
Like any good emulator, mGBA is public license, and can be packaged in multi console solutions.
And that is what makes mGBA so special is that it is the goto source code used in pre-packaged emulation solutions.
It happens to make an appearance in our favorite all-in-one emulation suite:
Yeah, we know… we are almost tired of hearing about it too.
But RetroArch is still the best emulation option available.
It has ports for pretty much any format: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Pi, whatever you got.. they probably have a port.
And it has nearly every retro game console available in one convenient package.
You can play your favorite GBA SP games in RetroArch, along with a million other games.
You will not find a better all-in-one emulation option than RetroArch.
Still the king, still number one, still topping the RetroDodo lists. We love you RetroArch.
This article may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to purchase an item we may earn a commission. Thank you for your support.
Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.