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Gearboy is a cross-platform Game Boy / GameBoy Color emulator written in C++ that runs on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Raspberry Pi and RetroArch.

This is an open source project with its ongoing development made possible thanks to the support by these awesome backers.

Please, consider sponsoring and following me on Twitter for updates.



  • Accurate CPU emulation, passes from blargg's tests.
  • Accurate instruction and memory timing, passes and from blargg's tests.
  • Supported cartridges: ROM, ROM + RAM, MBC1, MBC2, MBC3 + RTC, MBC5, HuC-1 and MBC1M (multicart).
  • Accurate LCD controller emulation with correct timings and priorities including mid-scanline effects.
  • Game Boy Color support.
  • LCD screen ghosting effect as seen in the original Game Boy.
  • LCD dot matrix effect.
  • Sound emulation using SDL Audio and Gb_Snd_Emu library.
  • Save battery powered RAM cartridges to file.
  • Save states.
  • Compressed rom support (ZIP).
  • Game Genie and GameShark cheat support.
  • Supported platforms: Windows, Linux, macOS, Raspberry Pi, iOS and RetroArch (libretro).
  • Full debugger with disassembler, breakpoints, debug symbols, memory editor, IO inspector and and VRAM viewer including tiles, sprites, backgrounds and palettes.

Build Instructions


  • Install Microsoft Visual Studio Community 2019 or later.
  • Open the Gearboy Visual Studio solution platforms/windows/Gearboy.sln and build.
  • You may want to use the platforms/windows/Makefile to build the application using MinGW.


  • Install Xcode and run xcode-select --install in the terminal for the compiler to be available on the command line.
  • Run this commands to generate a Mac app bundle:
brew install sdl2
cd platforms/macos
make dist


  • Ubuntu / Debian:
sudo apt-get install build-essential libsdl2-dev libglew-dev
cd platforms/linux
  • Fedora:
sudo dnf install @development-tools gcc-c++ SDL2-devel glew-devel
cd platforms/linux


  • Install Xcode for macOS. You need iOS 13 SDK or later.
  • Build the project platforms/ios/Gearboy.xcodeproj
  • Run it on real hardware using your iOS developer certificate. Make sure it builds on Release for better performance.


  • Ubuntu / Debian:
sudo apt-get install build-essential
cd platforms/libretro
  • Fedora:
sudo dnf install @development-tools gcc-c++
cd platforms/libretro

Raspberry Pi 4 - Raspbian (Desktop)

sudo apt install build-essential libsdl2-dev libglew-dev
cd platforms/raspberrypi4

Raspberry Pi 2 & 3 - Raspbian (CLI)

  • Install and configure SDL 2 for development:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install build-essential libfreeimage-dev libopenal-dev libpango1.0-dev libsndfile-dev libudev-dev libasound2-dev libjpeg-dev libtiff5-dev libwebp-dev automake
cd ~
tar zxvf SDL2-2.0.12.tar.gz
cd SDL2-2.0.12 && mkdir build && cd build
../configure --disable-pulseaudio --disable-esd --disable-video-mir --disable-video-wayland --disable-video-x11 --disable-video-opengl --host=armv7l-raspberry-linux-gnueabihf
make -j 4
sudo make install
  • Install libconfig library dependencies for development: sudo apt-get install libconfig++-dev
  • Use make -j 4 in the platforms/raspberrypi3/x64/ folder to build the project.
  • Use export SDL_AUDIODRIVER=ALSA before running the emulator for the best performance.
  • Gearboy generates a gearboy.cfg configuration file where you can customize keyboard and gamepads. Key codes are from SDL.

Accuracy Tests

Compared to other emulators: see here.

Tests from blargg's test roms:




Gearboy is licensed under the GNU General Public License v3.0 License, see LICENSE for more information.

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