VBA-M Gameboy emulator

Nintendo Game Boy with Tetris.Based on the VirtualBoyAdvance (VBA) emulator, VBA-M is the best Game Boy emulator we have encountered so far to play Gameboy, Super Gameboy, Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance games on a computer with Windows 11 or Windows 10, as well as Mac OS X.

  • Latest version 2.1.8 (13 December 2023)
  • Works on Windows 11, Windows 10 and older (32/64 bits)
  • Needs DirectX 9.0c
  • Emulates the Game Boy, Super Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance
  • Supports .GB, .GBA and .GBC cartridge image files
  • Comments: works out of the box, keys are configured
  • Project website: VBA-M Github

Play Game Boy games with the VBA-M emulator on Windows 11 and Windows 10

So, what do you need to do to play Gameboy games (like Tetris or Metal Gear Solid) on Windows with the VBA-M emulator?


  • Make sure DirectX 9.0 is installed
  • Download the VBA-M zip file for Windows (scroll down, below the release notes):
    • Win32: visualboyadvance-m-Win-32bit.zip
    • Win64: visualboyadvance-m-Win-64bit.zip
  • Extract and copy the contents of the zip file to an empty folder of choice, for example c:\emulators\vba-m\.
  • VBA-M needs Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package (x86), if it's not installed on your computer, you can download it here
  • Create a folder for your Game Boy games in the VBA-M folder, in this example c:\emulators\vba-m\games\.


  • Start VBA-M by double clicking VisualBoyAdvance-M.exe, in this example c:\emulators\vba-m\VisualBoyAdvance-M.exe
  • When using Windows 7 or 8, you might want to set the video render API to OpenGL by clicking Options - Video - Render API - OpenGL. For use with Direct3D, see comment below.
  • You can change window size by clicking Options - Video - 1-6x window size
  • Check the joypad settings by clicking Options - Input - Set - Config 1. Default keys are:
    • Up - Up arrow
    • Down - Down arrow
    • Left - Left arrow
    • Right - Right arrow
    • A - X key
    • B - Z key
    • L - A key
    • R - S key
    • Select - Backspace
    • Start - Enter

Playing Game Boy games

  • Search for a Game Boy rom file, extract and copy it to the game folder you've created
  • Game Boy ROM: Click File - Open GB... and navigate to your game folder
  • Game Boy Color ROM: Click File - Open GBC... and navigate to your game folder
  • Game Boy Advance ROM: Click File - Open GBA... and navigate to your game folder

Windows 10 and Windows 11: DirectX 9

VBA-M needs DirectX 9.0c when you want to use the Direct3D render API. As Windows 10 and Windows 11 come with DirectX 12 by default (which does not include DirectX 9.0c and previous versions), you might need to install DirectX 9.0c manually. Download instructions for DirectX 9.0c are here.