A new GBA emulator called SkyEmu has arrived, promising hyper-accurate emulation of the Game Boy Advance hardware which can run games that other solutions are unable to handle.
The 1.0 version of SkyEmu launched over the weekend, and is available on GitHub (opens in new tab). It promises “highly accurate” emulation of Game Boy Advance hardware, alongside some excellent features like save states with screenshot previews and rewind support. It can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs, and is even available as a web app (opens in new tab) you can use from a desktop browser – or from your phone. Plus, it’s even been made to work on Steam Deck (opens in new tab).
But SkyEmu’s primary selling point is that it’s accurate enough to the original GBA hardware to run games that other emulators just can’t handle. A test (opens in new tab) across ten particularly difficult-to-emulate games shows that SkyEmu can handle a bunch of titles that mGBA and VBA cannot, and which even the highly accurate NanoBoyAdvance only supports on staging builds. Granted, being able to play THQ’s 2002 Attack of the Clone games might not be your highest priority, but SkyEmu makes sure the option is there.
It’s important to note that accuracy isn’t always what you want from an emulator, as developers on more popular emulators often dispense with some aspects of the original hardware in order to let games run more efficiently across a greater variety of devices. But highly accurate emulators can help developers understand the hardware better, improve support for outlier games, and help preserve systems like the GBA for the future.
Time to revisit the best GBA games all over again.