Homebrew best GB/GBC emu

Maeson

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I used GnuBoy long ago, and while it had some okay features, it also suffers from screen tearing among other things, and I think it has ben abandoned for years, so I can't recommend. I also tried to use Rin Wii, but I find it's also quite outdated by today standards (last version is from 2008).

That let's us with VBA GX, which does a good job for GB/C games, and Retroarch's GAMBATTE Core, which also works nicely.

I guess the pros of VBA GX is having a nice visual GUI, and is for the most part easy use. Has some video options, but original GB games are your usual 4 shades of green. You theorically can use custom palettes, but I never tried to do it as you need to input the color numbers one by one (at least on the custom palette menu). Also, I personally find the GUI, as pretty as it is, kinda clunky for my taste. I would recommend for people who just want to play gb/c without too much tinkering, as, as far as I know, the emulation is fine.

The downsides of the GAMBATTE are married to Retroarch itself, as you need a bit of tinkering and navigating around simple menus to configure it initially, mostly setting the correct GB aspect ratio. But once that is done, I think it's the superior emulator. Games work great, I find that once you have the aspect ratio down, Gambatte offers a better picture, and also has "Core Options" which let you change the palettes of the game you're playing on-the-fly, without even needing to reset the game. Also, while the interface of Retroarch is really simplistic, it's also more agile to navigate around. I would recommend Gambatte (and Retroarch) to those who are not afraid of tinkering in order to get the better experience (at least, in general).

I always have both on the SD for my Wii, but I tend to use Retroarch's 1.0.0.2 Gambatte core most of the time. Other people would argue that the pretty menu on VBA GX would make it a better "app", but I care about emulation, personally, and i find that Gambatte has the edge in that regard.

Now, maybe in the future, when mGBA improves its GB/C emulation, will take the lead against these two, as picture quality seems to be superior than VBA GX (again, just my opinion based on what I've tried), but also seems to be more simple to use than Gambatte/Retroarch. Kinda the best thing of both worlds.

Not to mention that mGBA is THE best GBA emulator on Wii bar none, so you would only need mGBA for all your "Game Boy Needs".
 
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yadspi

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I used GnuBoy long ago, and while it had some okay features, it also suffers from screen tearing among other things, and I think it has ben abandoned for years, so I can't recommend. I also tried to use Rin Wii, but I find it's also quite outdated by today standards (last version is from 2008).

That let's us with VBA GX, which does a good job for GB/C games, and Retroarch's GAMBATTE Core, which also works nicely.

I guess the pros of VBA GX is having a nice visual GUI, and is for the most part easy use. Has some video options, but original GB games are your usual 4 shades of green. You theorically can use custom palettes, but I never tried to do it as you need to input the color numbers one by one (at least on the custom palette menu). Also, I personally find the GUI, as pretty as it is, kinda clunky for my taste. I would recommend for people who just want to play gb/c without too much tinkering, as, as far as I know, the emulation is fine.

The downsides of the GAMBATTE are married to Retroarch itself, as you need a bit of tinkering and navigating around simple menus to configure it initially, mostly setting the correct GB aspect ratio. But once that is done, I think it's the superior emulator. Games work great, I find that once you have the aspect ratio down, Gambatte offers a better picture, and also has "Core Options" which let you change the palettes of the game you're playing on-the-fly, without even needing to reset the game. Also, while the interface of Retroarch is really simplistic, it's also more agile to navigate around. I would recommend Gambatte (and Retroarch) to those who are not afraid of tinkering in order to get the better experience (at least, in general).

I always have both on the SD for my Wii, but I tend to use Retroarch's 1.0.0.2 Gambatte core most of the time. Other people would argue that the pretty menu on VBA GX would make it a better "app", but I care about emulation, personally, and i find that Gambatte has the edge in that regard.

Now, maybe in the future, when mGBA improves its GB/C emulation, will take the lead against these two, as picture quality seems to be superior than VBA GX (again, just my opinion based on what I've tried), but also seems to be more simple to use than Gambatte/Retroarch. Kinda the best thing of both worlds.

Not to mention that mGBA is THE best GBA emulator on Wii bar none, so you would only need mGBA for all your "Game Boy Needs".

--------------------- MERGED ---------------------------

You say "correct GB aspect ratio" I use custom aspect, integer on, x5 all sides, what's the real aspect?
 

Maeson

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I haven't tested much later releases of Retroarch, but in 1.0.0.2 which is the one I use, the image output is stretched to 640x480 initially. On a 4:3 screen, I use a custom aspect ratio of 480x432 (centered as you may see fit) plus a Screen resolution of 530x480. That way I get a nice clean picture with no pixel stretching, and being taller than wider (as the GB screen was). I remember basing these settings on something SuperrSonic wrote down on libreto forums long, long ago, which I found useful even today.

That said I don't know if that would work with more modern versions, as whenever I tried them for some reason custom aspect ratio does not work nearly as well (not just for Gambatte, but for any other core/system). I don't know why, really.
 

SuperrSonic

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The Wii Virtual Console emu has a frame blending effect. None of the homebrew emus support something like that.
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Also Gambatte doesn't support certain games, while mGBA already does.
 

Maeson

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But at the same time, Gambatte does not have crackling audio issues like mGBA is having with GB/C games, and lets you play original GB games with color, something mGBA seems it can't do on Wii yet, although it is an intended feature for 1.0.0, if I remember right.

As I said. once GB/C emulation gets better on mGBA it probably will end up being the better one, but as of now it still has some improvements to receive.

Lastly, I didn't know that Wii VC emulator could do GB games.
 

Maeson

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How exactly? I tried to use the BIOS but it only shows up with GBC games, booting normal GB games does not show the "Game Boy" intro.
 

justjack

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It does for me (in 0.6.1). What I did was: I got gbc_bios.bin and renamed it to gba_bios.bin so the app would detect when setting the bios path in the configuration.
 
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Maeson

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Oh, I see. I tried it but I only see a graphically corrupted Game Boy startup.
I'll keep messing with it, thanks for the tip.
 

boomerang42

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned this. VBA GX messes up the palette for gb games (not gba though) if you bring up emulator's menu. I know for sure that happens with original (non color) gb, but iirc that affects gb color games as well.

That means if you use the emulator menu for anything, even making a savestate, the colors get messed up permanently until you close VBA GX and reopen it. Oh and loading a savestate messes up the colors too. So if you make a savestate before you go to sleep, and load it the next day, guess what--colors are still messed up.

I stopped using VBA GX for gb games because of this.

mGBA's interface was confusing and annoying when I tried it a few months ago so I still find Gambatte to be the best. Plus you can actually make you own palettes to use for original gb on Gambatte. Afaik VBA GX is the only other one on Wii which lets you do that, but GX has a much more complicated (to the point of being unwieldy) palette system. Gambatte just simply uses four colors.
 

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