What is mGBA?

mGBA is a new generation of Game Boy Advance emulator. The project started in April 2013 with the goal of being fast enough to run on lower end hardware than other emulators support, without sacrificing accuracy or portability. Even in the initial version, games generally played without problems. mGBA has only gotten better since then, and now boasts being the most accurate GBA emulator around.

Further along in development mGBA gained Game Boy support and eventually is planned to have DS support too. Other goals include accurate enough emulation to provide a development environment for homebrew software, a good workflow for tool-assist runners, and a modern feature set for emulators that older emulators may not support.

What are the system requirements for mGBA?

mGBA will run on mostly any computer from the last decade, as well as several additional platforms:

  • Windows (7 or newer)
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • *BSD
  • Nintendo 3DS (New 3DS is required for GBA games)
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Wii
  • PlayStation Vita

If you wish to run mGBA on other systems that RetroArch runs on please use the libretro core instead. Please note that the libretro core is not always in sync with the standalone version and may have issues no longer present upstream.

Will there be an Android or iOS version?

We hope so! But as it stands no one who works on mGBA is an Android or iOS developer, which makes creating a quality port difficult. There have been several attempts towards making an Android version before, to varying degrees of success and quality, but none of these ports ever really got off the ground.

If you’re an Android or iOS developer and want to help work on an official Android port of mGBA, please talk to us in #development on the mGBA Discord! There’s an invite link to the Discord on the sidebar, if you’re not there already.

What does the m stand for?

It doesn’t. mGBA was originally going to be named miniGBA but as the project grew the “mini” appellation became less accurate. The name was intended to be temporary, but as the original release crept closer I couldn’t think of any better names. Other working names for mGBA included GBAc and Gerboa, but nothing else stuck.

How do I file a bug?

The best way is to sign up an account on GitHub and post on the issue tracker. If you’re using 0.9.0 or newer on PC please use the built-in bug report tool to generate a zip file to attach to the report. Otherwise, please include the version you’re using (including the numbers and letters, if you’re using a development build), what OS you’re running on, and the names of games affected.

What is the license for mGBA?

mGBA is licensed under the Mozilla Public License 2.0, and the code can be found on GitHub.

How do I compile mGBA?

Please see the README for detailed information.


How good is compatibility?

mGBA emulates two platforms currently, with the work-in-progress medusa version supporting a third:

  • Game Boy Advance emulation is currently very good. There are known bugs with some games, but there are no games that don’t boot.
  • Game Boy/Game Boy Color emulation is good. Most games work but there are still plenty of bugs. Please file a bug if you find a game that doesn’t boot.
  • DS support is very early with poor compatibility at the moment, and only available in the medusa branch, which is not currently under active development.

Current bugs can be found on GitHub for GBA, GB/C and DS

What peripherals and cartridge types does mGBA support?

Please see the README for current status, but most GBA peripherals are supported:

  • Rumble (cartridge and Game Boy Player)
  • Rotation/tilt (accelerometer and gyroscope)
  • Solar sensor (for Boktai)
  • Realtime clock
  • Link cable (partial support)
  • BattleChip Gate (for Mega Man Battle Network)

And some GB peripherals and special cartridge types are supported:

  • Rumble
  • Tilt (MBC7)
  • Realtime clock
  • Game Boy Printer
  • Game Boy Camera (partial support)
  • Super Game Boy (partial support)
  • MBC6 (partial support)
  • MMM01 (partial support)
  • TAMA5 (partial support)
  • HuC-1 (partial support)
  • HuC-3 (partial support)

The following are not supported at the time:

  • Wireless Adapter
  • IR Adapter (for Zoids: Cyberdrive)
  • Soul Adapter (for Legendz)


On loading a game I only get a white screen

Try changing the audio driver in settings. If all else fails turn on Sync to video and off Sync to audio.

I did something and now the game always runs too fast!

Make sure Fast forward is unchecked under emulation and at least one of Sync to audio or Sync to video is checked. I recommend Sync to audio only.

I’m on Windows and my games won’t save

Make sure your ROMs are in a location that isn’t write protected or requires UAC to modify files. For example, do not put them under Program Files, even if mGBA is installed there.

On loading a game I get a black screen

Try changing the display driver from OpenGL to OpenGL (Force 1.x) or Software.

mGBA has issues with my controller

At this time mGBA’s controller support is lackluster. Improvements are planned but if using a controller is your utmost concern you may want to use the libretro core instead.

Directional input is stuck even when I’m not pressing any keys

Try seeing if a game controller is detected in Settings > Controllers. Things that aren’t controllers are sometimes mis-detected, and may cause issues like this. If one does show up, you should try clicking on the text boxes for the D-Pad buttons and hitting both clear analog and clear button to prevent any erroneous inputs from being detected.

Where are setting stored?

For the portable version, settings are stored in config.ini and qt.ini in the same directory as the emulator executable itself. For the installer version and homebrew platforms, it depends on the OS:

  • Windows: %APPDATA%/mGBA
  • macOS and *nix: ~/.config/mgba (or $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/mgba if set)
  • 3DS, Switch, Wii: /mGBA
  • Vita: ux0:/data/mGBA

Gameplay or audio is stuttery

If you’re using the PC version, try adjusting your sync settings (Sync to audio only is recommended) or your audio buffer settings. Sometimes switching the audio driver also helps. However, if you’re using either the 3DS or Vita versions, you’re basically out of luck. Both devices are underpowered and just barely too slow to run mGBA at full speed in all circumstances. We’re aware of the problem and are trying to fix it, but there’s no guarantee it’s fixable.

Audio isn’t working in the 3DS version

Current versions of mGBA for 3DS require the DSP blob to be dumped for audio to work. There are various utilities available online to do this, such as DSP1 or DspDump.


mGBA’s development uses some project-specific names for things that may be confusing. Here’s a list of the most common ones:

  • CInema: A suite of automated regression tests of video output, akin to Dolphin’s fifoci
  • Input revamp: Upcoming rewrite of the input and controller mapping, meant to improve many of the fundamental issues present
  • medusa: mGBA’s upcoming DS support
  • mGUI: The UI used on all the homebrew ports
  • mGUI2: mGBA’s upcoming enhanced homebrew UI
  • mNP: mGBA’s upcoming netplay support and link cable rewrite
  • Orca: Upcoming mGBA/Dolphin integration for GBA link and GB Player
  • XQ audio: High-level mixing of the MP2k (Music Player 2000, sometimes erroneously called M4A or Sappy) audio engine for higher quality audio