Play Game Boy games on Linux with retro-console emulation

Are there geeks or nerds who haven’t owned a Game Boy from the original series? Maybe only the younger ones, who don’t even remember it. No problem, thanks to modern technologies, the open-source world, and many really smart programmers, it is now possible to play Game Boy on your modern Linux workstation.

The Consoles

The original Game Boy is an 8-bit handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo and the first handheld in the Game Boy family was released in Japan in April 1989. The Game Boy Color was the successor to the original Game Boy and it features a color screen rather than monochrome, but it is not backlit. It is slightly thicker and taller and features a slightly smaller screen than the Game Boy Pocket, its immediate predecessor in the Game Boy line.

Contrary to the previous Game Boy models, which have the “portrait” form factor of the original Game Boy, the Game Boy Advance was designed in a “landscape” form factor, putting the buttons to the sides of the device instead of below the screen. With hardware performance comparable to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the Game Boy Advance represents progress for sprite-based technology. The system’s library includes platformers, SNES-like role-playing video games, and games ported from various 8-bit and 16-bit systems of the previous generations.

The original Game Boy had the archetypal killer app in Tetris, a tile-matching video game created by Russian software engineer Alexey Pajitnov in 1984. The games available for the Game Boy series are practically infinite and include the most important franchises, having said that here are some resources to find the most interesting titles according to your tastes.

The Games

The games available for the Game Boy series are practically infinite and include the most important franchises, having said that here are some resources to find the most interesting titles according to your tastes.

While Tetris and Pokémon were the system sellers, there’s a vast library of games released for the system. The following list showcases the very best titles. You’re sure to find lots of ‘lands’ here – someone at Nintendo HQ decreed that the diminutive handheld simply couldn’t contain massive ‘worlds’, so Super Mario Land ushered in an era of ‘Land’ games from the likes of Kirby, Donkey Kong and Wario.

Feature: Best Game Boy Games – Nintendo Life

Wikipedia provides a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by adding missing items with reliable sources.

Check here: List of best-selling Game Boy video games – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

MetaCritic provides a list of the best Game Boy Advance videogames of all time with game releases by score and you can find it at this link:

Ask any Game Boy owner for a list of their favorite games and you’ll get a huge variety of answers thanks to the fact that the system saw north of 1000 games over its lifetime, many of which were good and some of which were truly great.

The 30 greatest Game Boy games = One for each year of the system’s life – Polygon

If you have any suggestions for games or resources not listed here, please let us know in the comments so we can add them.

The Emulation

We could have written our impressions and a new how-to on how to emulate the various Game Boy consoles on Linux, but why do it if someone has already done it in the best possible way?

Yes, Cubicle Nate has already written it and wrote it very well, also with a nod to one of our favorite distributions (in truth it is the one we have been using permanently on desktops and laptops for more than a year, only the servers are missing!) or openSUSE.

I have received quite the number of comments about emulating the Game Boy on modern hardware and all the work that is going into it. I learned so much about the extensive community around emulating Game Boy games and the technology, research and absolute passion that goes into it. Though I was given many suggestions, the one that I settled on trying was mGBA.

mGBA | Game Boy Emulation on Linux –

The guide is focused on mGBA, but it is really comprehensive and well done. We can only fully recommend it if you want to emulate Game Boy games on Linux.

We hope you enjoy the suggestion!

Resources and references

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