Do Gameboy Games Work On Gameboy Advance?

In 2001, Nintendo released the Game Boy Advance as a successor to their extremely popular Game Boy Color. The Game Boy Color was a regular Game Boy with twice the processing power and significantly more memory, in addition to a color display. The Game Boy Advance was even more powerful and had a very different design from previous Game Boy models.

If you purchased a GBA, you might be asking “do Gameboy games work on Gameboy Advance?” Yes, because the Gameboy Advance motherboard includes a Sharp LR35902 CPU for backward compatibility. This is the same processor as the GBC and GB, plus the Gameboy Advance uses the same cartridge form factor + pin layout as the original Gameboy.

Now, you can go ahead and purchase all the original Gameboy titles that you missed out on as a kid. Don’t worry, these cartridges are built like Nokia brick phones- they just don’t die. If you’re using emulation, understand that not all GBA emulators include the ability to emulate GBC/ GB games.

Do Gameboy Games Work on Gameboy Advance?

Yes, because the Gameboy Advance board included a custom 8-bit CPU that was designed by combining elements of the Zilog Z80 and Intel 8080. And it’s the same CPU used in the original Gameboy/ Gameboy Color. This means that you can just take a regular Gameboy cartridge, insert it into the slot of your Gameboy Advance, and start playing.

The original Gameboy had a more squared-off display, thanks to its resolution of 160 x 144. However, the Gameboy Advance uses a wider format with a resolution of 240 x 144. You can switch between standard and widescreen aspect ratios by pressing the L and R buttons on your GBA.

In addition to backward compatibility with the GB and GBC, the GBA also supports Nintendo’s Link cable. With this, you can enjoy multiplayer on titles such as Tetris or Pokémon. If you own a GameCube, you can buy a Game Boy Advance Link Cable and use your GBA as a 2nd display (it also unlocks additional content in certain games).

What Games Can You Play On A Gameboy Advance?

Nintendo increased the power of its handheld console with the GBA. Which was a massive step up from the GBC released just a couple of years ago. With its 32-bit ARM7 processor, increased VRAM, and superior audio hardware, the GBA delivered a true next-gen experience.

This power made it possible for game developers to use advanced scaling and rotation effects within their 2D games. You could now get graphics similar to the best 16-bit full-size consoles in a device that was small enough to carry in your pocket. One example of this newfound graphical prowess is F-Zero: Maximum Velocity, a launch title for the GBA that used polygons to create a pseudo-3D effect.

And you may not believe this, but there is actually a port of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. That’s right, someone at Neversoft figured out a way to put this game on what was essentially a 2D handheld console. In addition to the technically impressive ports, the GBA also had games that were tailor-made for its control system and display.

Like Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, one of the best Pokémon RPGs ever created. If you haven’t got a GBA, you can download an emulator on your phone and play this game on the go. In addition to RPGs, shooters, and platformers, the GBA also got racing games like Mario Kart: Super Circuit.

Is The Gameboy Advance Backward Compatible?

Since it can play both GBC and GB games, it is backward compatible. Back then, console developers would simply include a copy of the previous generation’s processor within the motherboard of their new console. Improvements in technology and a reduction in semiconductor node size meant that you could include an entire last-gen CPU on the board without using much space or power.

What’s A Gameboy Advance Worth These Days?

Depending on the version, condition, accessories, etc., a Game Boy Advance could run you anywhere from 40 to 400 dollars. Sites like eBay contain several listings for GBA consoles, and some of these are the SP versions that include backlit LCDs. Some are also regular GBAs with aftermarket LCD backlight mods.

If you want a limited edition or region-specific unit, expect to pay over 200 dollars. New, sealed units can easily cost over 300 since this console is a collector’s item (it was released over two decades ago). Popular GBA games like Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, and WarioWare can also be quite expensive owing to their quality and timeless design.

The Last Game For Gameboy Advance

In North America, the last GBA game was Samurai Deeper Kyo- released in 2008. It is quite impressive that a game was released this late into the console’s lifespan, considering the astronomical speed at which computing hardware advanced during the 2000s. For reference, 2008 is the year we got GTA IV, Fallout 3, and Dead Space.

Yet in the same year, you had a developer who released a localization of a PS1 fighting game from 2002, on a 32-bit handheld console that was hopelessly outdated. It is one of the best-looking GBA games and runs without any glitches or performance drops on the original hardware.

Gameboy Advance SP

The SP stands for “Special” and it’s a GBA with a backlit LCD- everything else is the same. Yes, Nintendo didn’t include a backlight, even on their 3rd generation of the Game Boy console. They used a better CPU, more memory, improved audio chips, and a higher resolution screen- but no backlight.

Without a backlight, you were at the mercy of ambient lighting. In the dark, you would be blind as a bat. Gameboy Advance units with the model number “AGS-101” have an adjustable backlight and carry the highest prices on the used market.


I hope this article provided you with the answers you were looking for regarding backward compatibility on the GBA. It is interesting to note that while the Nintendo DS can’t play original Gameboy or Gameboy Color games, it can run Gameboy Advance cartridges. Guess Nintendo didn’t want to drop backward compatibility entirely with their new generation of handhelds.But they also didn’t want to spend too much time and money on ensuring full compatibility with a handheld that was originally released in the 1980s. The DS series would live on until the 3DS, which was succeeded by the immensely popular Nintendo Switch. With over 114 million units sold, the Switch is Nintendo’s 2nd best-selling console, right behind the DS (which sold 154 million units).


As long as I can remember myself I always enjoyed video games. I had amazing moments playing them and that's why I became a game developer, to create amazing experiences for the players. Read More About Me

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