After obsessively watching some of the twitch plays pokemon stream I was inspired to play some Pokemon again. To play Pokemon on Ubuntu there are only a few steps you have to follow:
- Install Visual Boy Advance Express. visualboyadvance is one of the main Gameboy advance emulators for Ubuntu. Express is the visual configuration frontend you can use to customize your experience. To install it, simply enter the following command in your terminal:
sudo apt-get install vbaexpress
- Get the ROM for Pokemon version you want to play. To play Pokemon using an emulator you need a ROM for the game, which is just an image of the actual game. There hundreds of sites that host Pokemon ROMs (and others) like Loveroms. The pages for these sites come and go due to takedown requests/copyright claims so linking them here is not very useful.
- Start VBA. You can do this either through the VBA express app icon or by entering the following command in your terminal:
- Switch to 128k save type (blank white screen). A lot of people have reported that starting the rom will result in a blank white screen. The fix to this seems to be changing your save type to 128k under (options>emulator>save type>flash 128k)
- Press Play, and load the GBA ROM you downloaded. The ROM file should have the extension .gba
That’s it! You’ve just followed the absolute basic steps needed to play Pokemon on Ubuntu. Since the documentation seems to be pretty sparse for vbaexpress here are some essential default controls:
Arrow keys - ←↑→↓ z - A x - B enter - Start backspace - Select spacebar - Speedup game (f1-f10) - Load game save state from specified slot ctrl+(f1-f10) - Save current game state to slot esc - QUIT WITHOUT CONFIRMATION !!EVIL!!
If you’ve followed the above steps and are still having issues running Pokemon on Ubuntu, please post in the comments below. To increase your chances of a solution being found include as much detail as possible (which version of the game you’re running, what operating system you have, what video card you have and steps to reproduce the issue). Screenshots are also very useful!