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A gameboy emulator written in pure Lua. Work in progress.
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zeta0134 Update MacOS vendor files to Love 11.2
Note: At this point in time, I don't actually have a macintosh to
test these changes. It's very possible that the Mac OS build will
be broken; if it is, and you figure out how to correct it, pull
requests are welcome.
Latest commit fae6bc8 Jan 25, 2019


A gameboy emulator written in Pure Lua. Approaching feature completeness, but still a work in progress.

This is designed to be fairly cross platform, and currently consists of a platform-independent gameboy module which contains the emulator, and a Love2D interface, presently the only supported platform. While it plays well, the structure of the emulator is in constant flux, so don't rely on the API resembling any sort of stability.

Supported Features

  • Pure Lua! Gameboy module should work on any Lua 5.2+ environment with the "bit" library available.
  • Original Gameboy (DMG) and Gameboy Color (GBC)
  • Decently cycle-approximate graphics
  • Working 32KHz audio
  • Multiple Palettes for DMG Mode
  • SRAM and Save States
  • Debug Panels for VRAM, Audio, IO and Disassembly
  • Built-in filebrowser, drawn in software for easy porting

Notable Missing Features

  • Super Gameboy support (planned)
  • Serial Transfer / Link Cable support
  • RTC Timer (Pokemon Gold / Crystal)
  • Key remapping, Gamepad support, etc
  • Movie Recording / Playback / TAS Features (planned)

Build Instructions

On any Linux system, make sure to install Love 0.11.2, GNU make, and the "zip" utility. Then just run "make" in the source folder. On Windows, you can run windows_build.bat, which will produce Love2D.exe, this can then be run from anywhere.

If you'd like games embedded in the resulting .love file, you may drop then in the games folder before running make. Alternately, games will load from the save directory. Due to a by-design limitation with Love2D's filesystem libraries, games may only be loaded from these two locations.

Please be respectful of copyright in your region. You should only play commercial ROMs you have legally obtained yourself; in the US at least, this means you need to personally rip the ROM data from your own original cartridges. For free homebrew, I've been testing with several games and demos from PDRoms:

If you're interested in purchasing a fantastic cartridge ripper, I own and use the Joey Generation 3. Note that BennVenn makes these by hand, so if his shop is out of stock, check back in a few days:

Usage Instructions

love [games/path/to/]

Unless you provide a game at the command line, the following interface will be displayed at startup: filebrowser

The first thing you'll want to do if you haven't done so already is load up some games. You can click on the folder icon up top to open up your LuaGB save directory. Any games dropped in here will show up in the file browser on the next run of the program.

The filebrowser works similarly to a real gameboy, so you operate it using the buttons. A or Start will run the selected game. Press ESC during gameplay to bring up this menu again, if you'd like to switch your DMG palette or load a different game.

Use keyboard F1-F8 to create save states, and 1-8 to load existing states. At any time, press D to enter debug mode, which displays additional keyboard mappings.

Known Issues

This emulator is in its early stages, so it is primarily focused on accuracy rather than speed. Thanks to some help from the community it is now reasonably performant, especially on recent PCs running under LuaJIT, but it's hardly greased lightning. It may struggle on weaker PCs.

The debug features, especially the VRAM viewer, are somewhat slow. You can toggle the debug features on and off individually using the number pad. It's best to stick to the default non-debug mode for gameplay.

I still have not implemented every cartridge type, and some more advanced features (like the RTC clock on MBC3) are incomplete or missing entirely. I welcome bug reports, but please observe the console output when a game won't boot; if it complains about an Unknown MBC type, that's probably the real issue. I need to order physical cartridges for every MBC type to properly test, and that will take time.

Graphics output, though approaching cycle accuracy, is not perfect. It is close enough for games like Prehistorik Man to display their effects correctly, but some homebrew demos and a few commercial titles still have visual problems. Bug reports are very welcome here, as I simply don't have time in the day to test every game out there, and the small number of games I do have that are giving me obvious visual artifacts are proving difficult to debug.

The debug panels can be a bit touchy when loading a new game at the moment. If they don't seem to be updating, try toggling debug mode (D) twice. Otherwise you might need to restart the emulator.

Bug Reporting

I welcome bug reports of all kinds! I may be slow to respond to bug reports for commercial games that I do not physically own, as I need to order them from Amazon and then rip them to my computer before I can try to reproduce the bug. Bug reports can include homebrew too! The long term goal is for the emulator to match real hardware in its behavior, so don't feel like you need to limit bug reports to officially licensed games.

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