Gameboy Emulators give you the opportunity to play Gameboy, Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance games right on you home PC or laptop. Emulators are basically computer programs that act like the software that ran the original game systems. I got the emulator called Visual Boy Advance and loaded it on my laptop along with a USB controller. When I find some downtime I'm always playing Super Mario Advance or another cool Nintendo game. There are thousands of ROMs to play, so I never get bored. This article describes the different features of your emulator and how to use them to optimize your gaming time. Technically, after the first step you'll be playing with no problem, but in the interest of being thorough, I am going to tell you how to do some cool stuff. Here we go!
- Load your ROM. You don't need to have a game loaded to work on your emulator, but I have found that it helps, especially if you are messing with the video and sound settings. Start your emulator and click on Open to start a Gameboy game. If your emulator is set up right it will automatically open your game folder but if not, click on My Computer and look on your drive for your game or ROM folder. Then open it.
- Enlarge the screen. The default screen is basically the size of a Gameboy screen. Though it may come as no surprise, playing this way on a laptop stinks. Therefore, the first thing you should do is make the playing area bigger, but not so big that you lose all your resolution. On the menu bar at the top, click on Options and scroll down to Video then over to x3. This will make your screen three times bigger than before. I've found that this is the best setting for playing and avoiding the blurry look. Full screen mode isn't horrible, but I personally think it takes too much out of the graphics. The other available modes will change your video resolution on your computer, so don't even mess with them.
- Configure your joypad. I used to be a PC gamer, using the keyboard and mouse to play everything. In retrospect, I realize this was utter folly. The USB gamepad is an emulator-player's best friend. The default controls are on the keyboard so you can play without any further delay, but like I said, gameplay improves drastically with a controller.
Gameboy emulator players can easily configure a gamepad, seeing as there are only a couple of buttons to configure. On the menu go to Options, then Configure. Then go to Joypad and select 1 because we are just doing the one gamepad you have plugged in. You will see the buttons you have to configure. To configure the "up" directional button, for example, just highlight Up and then hit the button on your controller. For the A and B buttons hit any button you want to be A and B on your controller. For the left and right trigger control buttons, I usually use the triggers of the USB controller.
- Set Gameboy emulator type. Because there are three different types of Gameboys, this program needs to have each of the system's original programs emulated. Click on Options, then Gameboy and select Automatic. Now the program will automatically use the proper system emulator by checking what game you select. If you choose a Gameboy Color game, it starts the game using the Gameboy Color software in the emulator.
- Cheats. If you downloaded cheats for your games, you can find them here. On the menu, click Cheats, and then either select Cheat list or Load Cheat List. Find your game and the cheat you want, and click it.
- Record video or sound. This is a cool feature if you are hardcore gamer and need to advertise your gaming skills or want to get some audio off a game for perfectly legal samples or the dorkiest answering machine message ever made.
Anyway, select Tools from the menu and go down to Record. Here, you can select to start an audio recording or video recording. It'll ask where you want to save the file -- save it in your documents or somewhere you will remember. From that moment until the moment you exit the emulator, you will be recorded.
Under the same Tools menu, you will find Play Movie. Here, you can watch your gaming domination again and again.
- Change language. Under the Options menu, you can change the language of all the emulator tools, menus and prompts. You'll be asked for the three letter abbreviation of the language you want to select. You can get these abbreviations on Google if you search "three letter abbreviation" for that specific language.
Your Gameboy emulator will offer other options as well, but these are the most practical and fun. There are built-in FAQ's for your perusal under the Help menu. Lastly, don't be afraid to experiment -- it's hard to screw up the program totally. Have fun!