These days it seems like there’s nothing you can’t do with your smartphone, from browsing online to paying for groceries, taking pictures to playing games. You can even use it to make calls!

But did you know that your smartphone is also a time travel device?

Yes, the phone in your pocket (or in your hand) might as well be a GBA (Game Boy Advance) in disguise, because you can use it to download and run thousands of GBA games from as far back as the turn of the century.

Got an Android handset? Great. Then settle in as we teach you exactly to get classics like Pokemon, Dragonball, and Naruto running on your smartphone.

How to Set Up and Run GBA Emulators

To play GBA games on your smartphone you’ll need two things: an emulator, and a ROM.

First, go to the Play Store on your Android device and search for a GBA emulator. There are plenty of good ones to choose from, but we recommend MyBoy! It has lots of positive user reviews, and won’t take up too much space on your device.

The installation shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes. Once that’s done, search for GBA roms to download. You’ll need to do this on a web browser rather than Google Play – but don’t worry, there’s plenty to find and they’re all free!

Once you’ve found a website that hosts ROMs, navigate to the section containing GBA games specifically. If you download ROMs for the wrong console, they won’t work. Some examples to look for are…

  • Pokemon Ruby
  • Super Mario Advance 4
  • Grand Theft Auto Advance
  • BB Ball
  • Bomberman Max 4
  • Final Fight One
  • Gadget Races
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
  • Frogger’s Journey
  • Top Gear Rally
  • David Beckham Soccer

Finished downloading? Good – now you have everything you need to play GBA games on your phone.

Open MyBoy!, and then go to the Download section. This where you’ll find your games. To run one of these ROM files, just tap on it.

Now turn your smartphone to the horizontal position. A few transparent virtual buttons should appear on the screen, but if you can’t see them you can go to Configuration and tweak the settings to make them more visible.

And there you have it – your smartphone has become a GBA. Enjoy!

A Gameboy emulator, as well as a traditional console, has a bunch of options. You can save the game to continue it later from the moment you’ve stopped. Or you can fast forward the game, change the audio and video settings, change the size of the screen, make a screenshot, etc. So, this is it. That’s all you need to know about GBA emulators to play your favourite games from childhood on a smartphone. You can also download the same files and emulator on the tablet if it has an Android platform too.